Turbulence is a reality of air travel – one minute you’re sitting back, trying to catch up on some sleep or watching a movie, the next your plane is shaken by an invisible force. Sources of turbulence are varied – a sudden change in wind direction known as a wind shear, bumpy pockets of warm air, disruptions caused by mountain ranges.
In this article, we look at how turbulence is changing, how flights are planned to avoid turbulence, and how Bombardier business jets are designed for the smoothest flights.
3 things you need to know about turbulence
1- Turbulence is on the rise
As the effects of global warming continue to cause fluctuations in temperatures worldwide, turbulence is expected to change for the worse. According to researchers, “Jet stream winds at high altitudes are getting more intense […] which not only makes flights bumpier but also potentially affects travel times.1”
Projected increase of turbulence at cruise altitude by 2050 2
2- Avoiding turbulence
Pilots looking for the smoothest route can turn to flight planning services, such as ARINCDirect, that graphically depict turbulence on a map via the eddy dissipation rate (EDR) indicator. The EDR is a measure of how quickly masses of air break down and transfer energy, and varies from 0 to 1 – the higher the number, the more intense the turbulence.
ARINCDirect turbulence forecast 3
3- A smoother ride with Bombardier Business Jets
Each aircraft has a defined threshold on the EDR scale beyond which turbulence is deemed severe. These thresholds guide pilots in assessing the impact of turbulence on the comfort of their passengers - a higher threshold indicates that the effects will be lower. As this threshold has a strong correlation to wing loading, Bombardier aircraft, with their smooth ride technology, have a significant advantage.
Turbulence threshold 4
1. Anmar Frangoul, Climate change will increase the risk of severe turbulence on planes, research says, October, 2017
2. Values based on cruising altitudes of 39,000 ft
3. Map extracted from ARINCDirect and representative of conditions forecasted for March 9, 2017
4. Turbulence thresholds determined by ARINCDirect