Forest Gump believed that “things happen” (ok, so I’m paraphrasing). But when it comes to charter flight safety and comfort, we here at Charter Flight Group believe otherwise. We choose the finest pilots in the world to care for our private flight clients because we want their experience to be the smoothest, safest luxury flight imaginable whether chartering a flight from St. Louis to Chicago or from Oakland to Seattle.
Almost everyone who has been on a jet, sailed, watched a movie, read a book or maybe even had a conversation about flying or sailing is familiar with this term. In flight it is rendered as ‘the plane becoming unstable’ and on water, it is commonly associated with ‘choppy waters’. So what is this menace that could cause a 200 ton flying chunk of metal to ‘lose balance’ in mid air?
Turbulence is actually defined as “The state or quality of being turbulent: times of turbulence and confusion – as in “China had a ‘turbulent’ history – meaning it had chaotic segments in its history between peace and harmony.”
On the other hand turbulence pertaining to liquid or gas flow is defined as – “An eddying motion of the atmosphere that interrupts the flow of wind.”
Turbulence in this sense could be characterized as irregular or agitated motion. Liquids and gases are both able to exhibit a turbulent nature given the right circumstances, and there are numerous factors that may be able to contribute to the formation of turbulence. Usually, when liquid or gas flows smoothly and regularly, it is deemed to be exhibiting laminar flow, which is the antonym state of the turbulent flow. Turbulence affects almost everybody on the planet on a daily basis.
Anyway, the turbulent phenomenon is created in the event of interruption or impediment is initiated to the stream. A simple example of this situation is by looking at a stream that is flowing smoothly until it collides with a rock at the center of the stream, at which point the water around the obstacle will become turbulent as it moves around or over it to attain its laminar flow once again. This same principle occurs in the atmosphere. Turbulences are initiated by factors such as collisions of two different weather characteristics and the formation of a storm may also cause turbulence. Atmospheric turbulence at times can also be caused by the characteristics of the land directly beneath it which could range from mountains to buildings.
While we know what causes turbulence, understanding the nature of turbulence is very tricky. Due to the chaotic nature of turbulence it usually defies predictions formed by mathematics to the millionth decimal point. The agitated, irregular, chaotic motion usually involves flow progress at differed states of speed, coupled with the numerous factors that are able to influence the movements of liquids and gases makes turbulence on an aircraft almost impossible to gauge.
Turbulence problems are always treated statistically rather than deterministically due to the irregular nature it projects. It would be crucial to note that turbulent flow is always chaotic but not all chaotic flows are turbulent. Diffusivity or in other words, the available supply of energy in turbulent flows accelerates the homogenization of the atmosphere in a rapid manner which in most circumstances leads to turbulent flows characterized by a strong three-dimensional vortex generation mechanism known as vortex stretching. Vortex stretching is the core mechanism on which the turbulence energy cascade relies to establish the structure function which is difficult to analyze before hand, but perfectly understood after it has transpired.
The reaction towards turbulence from airplanes varies with the difference in wind speed in adjacent currents, the size of the aircraft, wing loading, airspeed, and naturally the altitude, according to a text on aviation weather, published by the FAA. “When an aircraft travels rapidly from one current to another, it undergoes abrupt changes in acceleration.” Pilots however, are taught to slow down, when they encounter turbulence. Pilots try not to fight or go up against turbulence, if the turbulence is causing the plane to rise, they do not push down hard on the controls, instead they try to slow down and ride it out to the other side. Fighting or ‘stressing’ against turbulence would only cause stress to the aircraft frame, which can cause undesired situations.
Anyone who has ever been on a jet and noticed this turbulence understands the phenomenon. This is why here at Charter Flight Group, we seek only the best pilots with the experience to not only handle turbulence, but also read the weather ahead so as to rise above areas where turbulence is lurking. In this way, we are able to provide our private charter clients with the smoothest, safest charter flights possible.
Forest Gump would probably say, turbulence is as turbulence does. Our pilots however, do not believe that flying should be like a box of chocolates. In aircraft today, pilots have access to information such as never before and are able to use choice, not chance, to guide their flights around turbulence.