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Turbulence and wind gusts

  1. Oct 30, 2007 #1
    I took a recent flight from LAX to SFO on an Airbus 319 and noticed that there was a lot more turbulence than normal. So much so that the plane had to fly at its service ceiling, and even then, there was a good amount of shaking. I even had a mini panic attack and had to call a flight attendant. He said that the plane could handle the turbulence, but passengers inside couldn't, which is why we had to wear seatbelts. It calmed me a bit, but it was still pretty scary.

    And I couldn't help but remember about a plane crash I had heard about on the Discovery Channel about a plane that was coming into Denver for landing, but was forced into a nosedive (and crashed) due to a sudden gust of wind.

    So my questions are:

    1) Can a plane crash from turbulence?
    2) How about that strong gust-of-wind scenario?

    It's sad because I used to enjoy flying so much and laughed whenever I heard of people being scared of flying. But now, it's gotten to the point where even the slightest shake, especially during a turn or takeoff, scares me.

    I just hope its all in my head.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2007 #2

    stewartcs

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    Science Advisor

    I suppose anything is possible, but this is not probable. Air craft are designed to withstand turbulence.

    I'm not familiar with this incident, but it sounds like wind shear instead of a gust of wind.

    Wind shear can indeed cause a plane to crash.

    Check out this link for some more information...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_shear

    BTW, the FAA requires all commercial planes to have wind shear detection systems now a days so it's very unlikely that one would go down in this day an age due to wind shear...but it's possible.
     
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