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Things that go bump in the flight


cloudship

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Is it me, or do other people find flying rougher over the last several years?

I cannot remember a flight I have had in the last 5 years that has not had some kind of turbulence - whether that be light chop or pretty violent bouncing. Somehow I used to remember flying, 10 or 15 years ago, as being a lot smoother - you would actually get up and walk about the plane, and you could stand comfortably without holding onto anything. Now it seems we always spend our time buckled up in our seats. What has happened? Is it our planes are smaller, or that there is more traffic, or what?

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I'm clueless as to why, but I definitely agree. My last flight to California in early fall was pretty turbulant for the duration of the trip, but I waved it off as weather. My sister had a horrible experience flying from LAX to Detroit though. The plane was doing massive drops and people were throwing up everywhere.

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You can thank lighter planes that use less fuel to get around. I just read an article about this because Northwest airlines is retiring what is left of its DC-10 fleet, which has a tradition of being very heavy and smooth during flight. The newer Airbus 330s which are replacing them are lighter and thus have a bumpier ride.

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I flew from Hong Kong to Chicago in a 747 and at one point over Japan, they had to have hte flight attendents seated and the plain was shaking and bouncing through the air.. it was a bit scary considering how big a 747 is. I feel like a 737 would have dropped a few thousand feet in a few seconds in that turbulence.

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Back when TWA was still an airline, I was flying from St. Louis to Tulsa and we flew through a tough cold front that had a few tornadic cells. I honestly thought the plane was going to crash since the turbulance was unberable. Every 20 seconds the plane would jump up immediately and then drop immediately. I remember the pilot mentioning once we had landed that that was the roughest flight he had flown within a year

! :blink: That flight ruined TWA for me and I never trusted that airline ever again.

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I usually only travel domestically, so most of my flights have been narrow bodies - 737s, A320s, MD80s, and some 757s. Not too many widebodies. And even those seem to be bumpier. Ultimately I can't imagine the weight being the whole thing anyways - bumps are still caused by changes in wind flow direction, and that would affect a big wing as much as a smaller wing, I would think.

I do wonder, however, if it might have something to do with so many smaller planes flying versus a fewer larger planes.

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The 777 seems to be pretty solid from Japan to Calfornia and there is some good turbulence over the Pacific. One of the "funnest" flights I had though was on an ANA 767 from Hiroshima to Tokyo, and the turbulence on approach to Haneda was awesome! (I like turbulence....) Not only did we have some pretty sharp up and down drafts, and wing tipping, but this was the first time I ever noticed; sitting in an aisle seat pretty far back, you could look longitudinally down the aisle and see the plane REALLY flexing from nose to tail! What a trip that was. :shok:

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I fly weekly with work, and 2006 was a really bumpy year. I was chatting with a pilot in the gate area for one of my flights and the subject of smooth flying came up. One reason he stated, for so much turbulence, was the fact that thunderstorms over the last few have grown larger and higher. Planes are having to thread around these storms more and catching more rough air on the edges of these storms. I've had many white knuckle flights this past year. :w00t:

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