AJSS
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Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 5:55 pm

Turbulence?

Mon May 14, 2018 6:12 pm

I fly a lot, am very comfortable on planes, but I was recently on a flight that had me a little scared. Short A321 flight from LPQ to REP on Vietnam Airlines. As we approached REP the weather was pretty bad in terms of thunderstorms so we were circling the airport. Seemingly out of nowhere it felt like the plane just hit a wall, things sort of flew forward and then we were pinned back as the engines whirred really loud - felt like the plane was dropping, but were we in clouds so you couldn't tell one way or the other. This lasted maybe 5-20 seconds (I wasn't really counting). The plane leveled out and we landed about 30 minutes later just fine. The crew didn't seem to phased and the captain never came on to say anything, but the passengers were pretty jarred.

I'm curious, was this just a bad pocket of air?

Here is the tracking data (started around 4:25:16)

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/HVN ... /VLLB/VDSR

Would appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks,
AJ
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Turbulence?

Mon May 14, 2018 7:12 pm

I'm guessing windshear, but that's just a guess.
Captain Kevin
 
Woodreau
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Re: Turbulence?

Mon May 14, 2018 7:53 pm

Sounds like the plane flew into and through the thunderstorm instead of around one.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
pikachu
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Re: Turbulence?

Tue May 15, 2018 1:55 am

Woodreau wrote:
Sounds like the plane flew into and through the thunderstorm instead of around one.


Sounds about right. Downdraft in a CB. Autothrottles hard at work. Just another normal day in SE Asia.
 
AJSS
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Re: Turbulence?

Tue May 15, 2018 3:28 am

Thanks for the responses, I figured it was something weather related as opposed to a mechanical issue with the aircraft. How serious is a situation like that over say 10,000ft or is it really no big deal?
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Turbulence?

Tue May 15, 2018 3:49 am

AJSS wrote:
Thanks for the responses, I figured it was something weather related as opposed to a mechanical issue with the aircraft. How serious is a situation like that over say 10,000ft or is it really no big deal?

It's always a big deal. Something like that would classify as severe turbulence bordering on extreme, particularly if the aircraft lost control. At least at higher altitudes there's a better chance of recovery, but low level windshear is about as dangerous as it gets. Delta flight 191 is a perfect example of the dangers of LLWS/microbursts.

In the US (and I'm sure in Europe too), pilots give a wide berth to any kind of convective activity. Controllers depict NEXRAD weather data on radar (moderate, heavy, and extreme precipitation), most aircraft have on board weather radar, and these days, pilots almost always have access to tablets with various weather planning tools. They can see areas of convective activity, areas of reported turbulence, they can view PIREPs, SIGMETs, and AIRMETs, and view different graphical representations. That three-tiered approach should be enough to keep aircraft safely away from dangerous conditions almost all of the time. It sounds like Vietnam is among the countries that either don't take proper precautions or lack the various technological tools at their disposal to keep airplanes clear of hazardous conditions.
 
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CitizenJustin
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Re: Turbulence?

Sun May 20, 2018 1:28 pm

Truly shows just how safe aviation has become.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Turbulence?

Sun May 20, 2018 11:31 pm

atcsundevil wrote:
AJSS wrote:
Thanks for the responses, I figured it was something weather related as opposed to a mechanical issue with the aircraft. How serious is a situation like that over say 10,000ft or is it really no big deal?

It's always a big deal. Something like that would classify as severe turbulence bordering on extreme, particularly if the aircraft lost control. At least at higher altitudes there's a better chance of recovery, but low level windshear is about as dangerous as it gets. Delta flight 191 is a perfect example of the dangers of LLWS/microbursts.

In the US (and I'm sure in Europe too), pilots give a wide berth to any kind of convective activity. Controllers depict NEXRAD weather data on radar (moderate, heavy, and extreme precipitation), most aircraft have on board weather radar, and these days, pilots almost always have access to tablets with various weather planning tools. They can see areas of convective activity, areas of reported turbulence, they can view PIREPs, SIGMETs, and AIRMETs, and view different graphical representations. That three-tiered approach should be enough to keep aircraft safely away from dangerous conditions almost all of the time. It sounds like Vietnam is among the countries that either don't take proper precautions or lack the various technological tools at their disposal to keep airplanes clear of hazardous conditions.


Flying in SE Asia in the warmer months involves lots of dodging convective activity. Given such plentiful experience, pilots in the area are generally very good at mitigating the risks involved. That being said, serious turbulence encounters can still happen. For example with lines of storms, sometimes you have to just punch through the less serious bits in order to get to the other side. And sometimes pilots make errors.

Without knowing what happened in this specific case, it's a bit of a stretch to throw shade over all of Vietnam's aviation industry over an anecdotal report of one incident...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Turbulence?

Mon May 21, 2018 5:19 am

AJSS wrote:
I fly a lot, am very comfortable on planes, but I was recently on a flight that had me a little scared.

Definitely sounds like you hit a bit of a downdraft.

No surprise: warm ground, warm sky, thunderstorm = recipe.



AJSS wrote:
The crew didn't seem to phased

"Fazed" not "phased." :smile:
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
N626AA
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Re: Turbulence?

Mon May 21, 2018 5:42 am

A couple years ago on a CI flight from LAX to TPE, we were over Japan and the pilot came on and told everyone to sit down and fasten seatbelts, FAs included, and while that's nothing new, it kind of freaked me out. Sure enough the bumps and drops came, and for the first time when flying, I was gripping my arm rest white-knuckle tight and my hear rate must've been through the roof. The fact it was a 744 made me a little less queezy but I guess that's what I get for watching the CI#611 episode of air disasters the night before. :lol: (yes, I'm aware the #611 disaster was due to faulty maintenance rather than weather)
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