Archive for the ‘Turbulence’ Category

Fear of Flying: Why Airplane Turbulence Shouldn’t Scare You!

It’s not airplane turbulence unless the coffee is in your lap!

For those with a fear of flying, airplane turbulence is when the paralyzing feeling of panic sets in. That’s the moment when you grip the armrests so tightly that your knuckles turn white and you don’t let go until you are safely on the ground.

Is this what causes airplane turbulence?

Is this what causes airplane turbulence?

I know that while you are worried about airplane turbulence, the pilots are not overly concerned. That’s because we know what causes it. Even though it creates an uncomfortable, bumpy ride it’s mostly nothing to worry about.

I believe that with knowledge comes power.

When you understand what is happening behind the scenes in the cockpit your fears will lessen. That is the whole point behind this blog. I want you to fly with peace of mind and a sense of security. These behind the scenes discoveries will help.

I have always enjoyed looking at the clouds and imagining shapes in them and so does my wife. Just the other day, she looked up and said “Oh, I see a bunny in the clouds”.  I looked up and saw it too. Of course I saw a ‘chocolate bunny’ – the kind they sell at Easter!

These clouds are what cause most turbulence. The variations in temperature cause the air to move around. When the airplane flies through one of these air pockets it causes a bumpy ride. Though we try to avoid it, that’s not always possible.

The reason that airplane turbulence is the beginning of most flying anxiety is because it’s something that touches your senses in a very real way.  You feel the plane moving around differently. You see the coffee cup shaking. You hear the pilot tell you to fasten your seatbelt.

Does this airplane turbulence result in a serious problem?

You’ll get even more details to help you overcome fear of flying with my full system, which includes self hypnosis and NLP techniques to rid your flying anxiety forever.

Don’t let this aviophobia keep you grounded. You can overcome your fear of flying and begin to travel to all the places you’ve wanted to go to. And you can do so with a calm feeling of enjoyment.

Continental Turbulence and Fear of Flying

Does the recent Continental airplane turbulence incident make you fear flying even more?

Airplane Turbulence Safety

I’m not surprised.

That’s because the media focused on the emotional stories of the passengers after they had an emergency landing in Miami. One after the other, the terrified passengers shared their stories with the media. One bumped her head so hard on the panels above that it cracked the plastic as well as her head.

These stories could turn even the most fearless fliers into a fearful flier in a jiffy. The media likes to focus on these emotional stories. Even better when they are hysterical!

It seemed to come out of nowhere, but as I explained yesterday, turbulence is possible even in clear weather.

Since it was in the middle of the night, many people had taken their seatbelt off so they could stretch out and sleep under a blanket. A blanket may make you feel snug and safe but it’s no substitute for your seatbelt.

The fact is that every single one of the injuries of the twenty six people who were hurt was unnecessary. If each and every one of them had been wearing their seatbelt during the flight, no one would have been hurt, the interior of the cabin would not have been damaged and there would have been no need to divert the plane to Miami for an emergency landing.

In our everyday life, we take precautions for our own safety. We look before we cross the street. We lock our doors at night. We keep our wallet in a safe place.

Instead of focusing on the stories of fear and hysteria, I want you to focus on what you can do for your own safety. Next time you fly, take some safety precautions.

Listen to your pilots and flight attendants when they give safety announcements. The flight attendants are on board for your safety.

The simple action of fastening your seatbelt during flight will make flying safer for you.

Allow this to give you peace of mind and reduce your fear of flying.

You can get even more tips by signing up for “7 Tips to Fly Stress Free” in the upper right corner.

Continental Airplane Turbulence

Today’s Continental airplane turbulence incident injured 26 people and required an emergency landing in Miami during their flight from Rio de Janeiro to Houston.

ContinentalI want to point out that the Continental emergency landing was not because of the airplane. It was because of injuries related to turbulence. They could have easily been avoided.

Some people ignore the pilot’s advice to keep their seatbelts fastened. They’re thinking “What could happen? The flight is so smooth.” Or, they feel uncomfortable with the seatbelt tightened. Maybe they never wear their seatbelt while driving a car and so they aren’t used to the feeling.

We can’t make you keep your seatbelt on, but we strongly suggest that you do.


Today’s airplane turbulence incident is a perfect example.

I’ve flown to South America many times and I’m familiar with that area. There aren’t a lot of other people flying in that area and that means that there are fewer reports of turbulence.

Of course, if there is a storm, our weather radar will pick it up and we’ll be able to go around it.  We’ll slow down to soften the rough ride as well as maintain the structural integrity of the airplane. When we can’t go around it, we make an announcement to the passengers to expect some turbulence and give an extra reminder to put your seatbelts on.

Sometimes airplane turbulence is not expected.  We fly into what is called ‘clear air turbulence’.

What is clear air turbulence?

The air is clear. There’s no storm and so it doesn’t show up on our weather radar screen. The turbulence is unseen. The only way we know about it in advance is if pilots report it to air traffic control.

Pilots will report clear air turbulence when they fly into it so that others can avoid it. In areas where there are a lot of other people flying, this works really well. In areas where there is less traffic such as where the Continental jet was flying, there were probably no reports made.

This is a volatile time for weather in the Caribbean. They were probably flying in an area where the wind was going in one direction and then suddenly shifted to another direction. Turbulence is when the wind is changing directions and flows from high pressure toward the low pressure.

These injuries could have been avoided if they had been wearing their seatbelt.

Understanding the nuances of turbulence can be reassuring  and will help to reduce your fear of flying.  Always keep your seatbelt fastened. It’s not just for airline safety. It’s for you own safety as well.

You can learn more ways to overcome fear of flying in my program “Lose the Fear – and Fly!”

Flight Safety and Turbulence

I’ll give you the answer to the burning question: “Is flight safety adversely affected by bumping airplane turbulence?”

Understand Airplane Turbulence to Overcome Fear of Flying

Understand Airplane Turbulence to Overcome Fear of Flying

For those of you that are afraid to fly, bumping turbulence is a great concern.

I’d like to take a moment and answer the questions and concerns submitted by Larry. I greatly appreciate the comments and questions that some of you with the fear of flying have been sending to me. Keep it coming!

Larry wants to know:

1. What causes the bumping?

2. How much of a flight safety problem is it?

What causes the turbulence?

As a child, I remember lying in the grass watching the puffy clouds go by. I spent hours imaging different shapes in the clouds. Even today, I sometimes look up at the clouds and see a face or an animal.

Flying through the clouds is a different story. It seems that those puffy clouds don’t like getting run over by an airplane.

The turbulence that we feel in an airplane when flying through clouds is simply the circulation of the air. It’s an updraft of going from warm air to cool air and it creates a bumpy ride.

You may say, “I don’t see any clouds and I still feel turbulence!”

Look out the window, do you see mountains? They may be beautiful, yet there is a little known effect called ‘mountain waves’ which also cause a bumpy ride. There are variations of temperatures in all the nooks and valleys of a mountain range. If we remember from school that warm air rises, we can realize that these variations of temperatures are circulating as a result.

How much of a flight safety problem does turbulence create?

Mild turbulence does not cause a flight safety problem at all. You may not like it, especially if the flight attendant has just delivered a hot cup of coffee to you. It may cause you to grip your armrest until your knuckles are white. Your heart may beat faster or your stomach may knot up in discomfort.

If turbulence gets severe, it could be a flight safety problem. It could cause a structural problem with an airplane. That is why pilots practice and rehearse this very situation twice a year in a simulator.

Pilots know that when they experience turbulance it’s time to make some changes not only for flight safety but also for the comfort of their passengers.

Pilots are trained to handle this situation in the simulator and also have lots of hands on experience with it as well because it is so common.

When I hit turbulence, I simply check in with the air traffic controllers and ask if other pilots have reported smoother altitudes.  Then I’ll slow down and go to the altitude where I’m likely to find less bumps.

The moment of sheer terror for people with a fear of flying.

“I’ve been having a smooth ride and now that it’s time to land it’s getting really bumpy again!”

Yes, I know, this happens all the time. Your pilot has found the right cruising altitude for a nice smooth ride and then it gets really bumpy for the landing.

That’s because of something known as the Coriolis Effect. Simply put, the wind is shifting and changing directions as you get closer to the airport. The result of this wind rotation is a very bumpy ride.

I pride myself on my smooth landings, yet sometimes a bumpy landing can’t be helped.

Be sure to get your “7 Tips to Fly Stress Free” by completing the form at the upper right. Also, you’ll find step by step details about how to overcome fear of flying once and for all in my program “Lose the Fear – and Fly!”

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