Any commercial airplane pilots?

Discussion in 'Community' started by mac 2005, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. mac 2005 macrumors 6502a

    mac 2005

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    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    Hello...

    Would be interested in talking with a commercial airplane pilot about turbulence and how concerned I should be as a passenger. I'm increasingly afraid to fly -- though I've traveled by air without any significant incident for 30 years! -- because of turbulence.

    I had a rather bumpy flight out of O'Hare today courtesy of hurricane Katrina, and I've been a bit rattled. And grateful to be back on the ground!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

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    Jan 20, 2005
    #2
    I'm not a commercial airline pilot, but I do know planes fly high above any storm system so turbulence is rarely a factor. It's only during takeoffs and landings should one worry about the effects of turbulence causing a plane to break in midair and killing all passengers and crew aboard.
     
  3. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #3
    :D
     
  4. mac 2005 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mac 2005

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    #4
    iGary...

    Saw you on the A&E network last evening. Unclear on why Southwest Airlines continues to support this show. Most of the time, they come off looking incompetent or hostile to their passengers.

    Have so few Americans traveled the "friendly skies" that Southwest thinks viewers will blame the passenger instead of the ethics and accountability of the airline?
     
  5. Phat_Pat macrumors 68000

    Phat_Pat

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    #5
    ohh thats too funny...
     
  6. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #6
    Southwest is cheap. Bottom line.
     
  7. mac-er macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #7
    Most of the time, the passengers come across as being unreasonable....because they are cussing out people who have no control over anything.

    Anywho....turbulance is fun. I think it should be required :)
     
  8. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a

    MacFan25863

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    #8
    Turbulence poses no hazard whatsoever to modern airliners. The stresses it puts on the structure (wings, elevators, rudder, cabin, etc) are FAR below the maximum capacity they were meant to take, even in heavy turbulence. If weather conditions were bad enough to even get anywhere NEAR the maximum recommended capacity of the aircraft, the plane would either a) never have taken off in the first place or b) alter course to avoid the weather system. The computers in today's aircraft and traffic control systems can detect weather patterns, and they stay far away from anything even remotely dangerous.

    If you were to stay in the cockpit for the flight, you would notice that, for the most part, the pilots never even touch the controls. The plane flies itself, even through the heaviest turbulence and weather patterns possible. They just sit back and enjoy the ride. It's not like you're brave captain up front is fighting for control of the airplane while trying to keep everyone from plummeting to their death ;)

    Besides, you are more likely to die driving to the airport than actually on the plane. Air travel is, and will continue to be, the safest mode of transportation in existence.


    Sean
    PS: I love Airline. Most of the time, it is the passenger's own stupidity ("I GOT TO THE GATE 10 min LATE AND MY PLANE LEFT? BRING IT BACK NOW, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL DELAY EVERYONE ELSE ON THE CRAFT!"), and, in the case's that it is WN's fault, the passengers are taken care of. iGary, were you really on the show?
     
  9. killuminati macrumors 68020

    killuminati

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    #9
    I agree. I hate long flights where its perfectly smooth. Turbulence makes it much more enjoyable. Like a ride.

    And for the orig. poster whos afraid of flying. You're more likely to be killed or injured in your car than you are in a plane.
     
  10. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #10
    Turb is usually no big deal.
    It can be associated with convective weather (thunderstorms) or Clear Air Turb (CAT_meow) from air masses or mountain waves (jetstream or the like of the mountains, happens some east of rockies or other chains).

    It is usually no big deal, of course when associated with a thunderstorm it "could" rip the wings off, but normally only in small general aviation airplanes (uncle jims canvas airplane) it is extremely rare anymore, the advent of radar and all.
    There have been crashes (one just a few years ago of a corp jet near Taos) from Mountain Wave effect. (no passengers on that flight, crew killed)
    There can also be the occassional broken or sprained ankle walking down the aisle during heavy turb. or a bumped head. I have had steaming coffee in my lap from the flight attendant while pouring coffee and hit by a pocket of CAT.

    You are by far more likely to die from a burglar at a 7-11 than in a commercial airplane. The odds anymore approach the same odds as winning (or in this case lossing) the loto.
    Have a stiff drink or three, give up control for a short time, enjoy.
     
  11. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a

    MacFan25863

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    #11
    The mountain wave effect is virtually non-existant in jetliners, though, so I don't think he has to be worried about them, espically in the US, where the routes are carefully planned to avoid anything of the sort.
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #12
    Ususally, I'm the moron on the plane who finds the turbulence fun :D
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    Look up in the sky from where you live. Lots of airliners descending over the mountains to Burbank, and they do indeed experience mountain waves, especially during offshore wind events. Bloody uncomfortable sometimes, but they don't break airliners that way. Even small airplanes can withstand some very nasty turbulence if they aren't flying too fast (which reduces the G-forces on the airframe).

    I've experienced turbulence in my single engine Cessna that threw me and everything in the cabin to the headliner. Not my best day flying, to be sure -- but then the airplane didn't break, and I got home safe and sound.

    Don't worry about it. Commercial flying is very safe, especially during the high altitude cross country phases. You are truly at more risk driving to and from the airport.
     
  14. XIII macrumors 68040

    XIII

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    Location:
    England
    #14
    Exaactly. An atlantic flight with no turbulence is just a waste of money! ;)
     
  15. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #15
    Turbulence isn't dangerous to airplanes these days, or so Discovery channel tells me. The only danger in recent decades has been local downward windgusts during take-off and landing, I don't remember what they're called.

    Anyhow, these windgusts are now monitored by local "radar" systems, so there's generally nothing to worry about.
     
  16. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #16
    There's a technical term for something similar to this I can't recall at the moment. (Hot gas ingestion?) It's something to do with how the hot exhaust from the engines gets feed back into the air intakes, causing the engines to stall. This is a big problem with Harrier jets during vertical lift-off and landing.
     
  17. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #17
    You may be refering to windshear.
     
  18. uaaerospace macrumors 6502

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    Alabama
    #18
    Mircobursts...
     
  19. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #19
    I love me some turbulence. Most modern airliners wings can deflect an amazing amount before snapping. You'll get beat up and injured before the plane even flinches.

    Of course I hange out of helicopters and aircraft with a harness and a camera for a living.

    And yes, I was on the show Monday. We're working on getting a torrent set up once I have a DVD.
     
  20. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    Aug 2, 2004
    #20
    I saw an interesting program on the development of the 777 a few years back - it was amazing the stress they put on the wings during testing. From what I can tell, turbulence hasn't been a factor in a major airline crash in decades, so I wouldn't worry about it.

    Sure, if you're a little uncomfortable with it, it can be somewhat nerve-wracking up there, but in the end, it's not dangerous.

    And I'm about to embark on a nice 9000 mile journey, so I'd better be comfortable with a little turbulence here and there. :D
     
  21. macartistkel macrumors 6502a

    macartistkel

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    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #21
    OK, great topic because I am the most terrified person on a plane--I really developed a phobia about it even the more I fly. I NEVER get up out of my seat no matter how long the flight. PURE TERROR is all I feel. It is getting worse and I absolutely HATE it. But anyway, I ONLY fly Delta because they are the safest...and I would possibly consider Southwest because they have never had a crash--HOWEVER, I hate the 737 planes and that is all Southwest flys. I only get on a 767 and I would love to get on a 777 any day most of all because it has never had a crash to date!

    Anyway, there has been a number of crashes just in the last month. Sorry but I don't think flying in the air at 40,000 feet is ever a safe thing to do. Anything can go wrong. And it has to be one of the worst ways to die.
     
  22. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    Aug 2, 2004
    #22
    Then how do you drive? You're packed in a small vehicle with little protection hurtling at 60+ mph down crowded expressways. 1000's of people die in horrific car crashes every year; in fact, there have been numerous ones just in the Chicago area in the past month.

    As for anything being able to go wrong, the data just doesn't support that. They have redundant safety systems, more safety and stress testing than you can imagine, and complete control over all flight paths for commercial airliners.

    As for it being one of the worst ways to die, I would disagree. When something goes bad on a plane, you'll likely be unconscious before you die because of oxygen depravation, so you won't feel a thing. Compared with getting your legs sheared off in a car accident and bleeding to death before the paramedics get there.

    Being afraid to fly, while common, just isn't justified when you think about it rationally. Sure, I get tense and nervous from time to time (and I fly more than most), until I remember that more people probably choked to death on their breakfast sausage last year than died in an airplane crash.

    From 2003:

    Link
     
  23. macartistkel macrumors 6502a

    macartistkel

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    #23
    Well I have an intense fear of heights and flying...if I have a bad dream its usually me going down in a plane. That is just how I feel. I think nothing about getting into my car everyday---plus there are more cars on the road and most people drive everyday of their lives, so you really cannot compare stats of vehicles to airplanes. Its completely different.

    Again, I get on airplanes but I have a huge fear the entire time--no one I know likes to fly with me either. I end up making others around me panic because every little noise or movement freaks me out and I grip my arm rests the whole time. :(

    I wish I didn't go through this torture on a plane!
     
  24. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #24
    You ought to have your primary care doctor prescribe you a few Xanax's before you fly.

    I had to take a couple on my first photoshoot in a helicopter where I was basically tethered with a harness mounted to the choppers airframe and I had to lean OUT of the helicopter at a good 45 degrees.

    Now it's a piece of cake. :D
     
  25. ksz macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #25
    If you're afraid of turbulence, try engaging in conversation with the person sitting next to you. It will take your mind off all the nasty thoughts swimming inside your head.

    Cruising at altitude is the safest part of flight. Take-offs and landings are more complicated. On a very recent flight from Taipei to Singapore we hit an oncoming typhoon that caused the 737 to drop a few feet every now and then. Turbulence is one thing, but the dreaded drop effect is quite another! Having been through a few of these drops, I've come to 'accept' them, but they are always a bit unnerving -- especially the longer drops.

    I used to hate turbulence, but now I welcome it especially during long flights because it enhances blood circulation, livens up a dull party, and depending on severity, gives you a newfound respect for the ground.
     

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