In March, a Lufthansa flight was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport after experiencing “significant turbulence.”
Seven people on board were taken to area hospitals, officials said.
A few months later, an Avelo Airlines flight from New Haven, Conn. to Florida’s Fort Myers dropped 300 feet in the air and went into an “uncommanded 45-degree roll.”
An “uncommanded roll” in aviation speak refers to movements of the plane not caused by the pilot, but rattled passengers may have more colorful ways of describing the situation.
The flight was temporarily diverted to Orlando, where three flight attendants were taken off for treatment for minor injuries that came as a result of being thrown around inside the plane.
On Aug. 29, a Delta Air Lines DAL flight going from Italy’s Milan to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport ran into turbulence so severe that it led to 11 hospitalizations and harrowing social media footage.
Most recently, on Sept. 25, eight people on a JetBlue flight were hospitalized after it experienced what the airline called “severe turbulence” as they traveled from Ecuador to Florida.
Flight 1256, which took off from Guayaquil, Ecuador, and was headed to Fort Lauderdale, “experienced sudden severe turbulence as it neared Florida,” JetBlue said in a statement.
The plane landed safely at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, JetBlue said, where it was met by medical personnel. Seven passengers and a crew member were hospitalized for evaluation and treatment.
JetBlue will work to support our customers and crewmembers,” the airline reads. “The aircraft for this flight has been taken out of service for inspection.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said on X, formerly Twitter, that it “had opened an investigation into today’s turbulence incident that occurred on JetBlue #1256, an Airbus A320.”
Experts say the best thing passengers can do to stay safe is keep their seatbelt on at all times during flight.
“The airplane can handle it, but the bodies inside, when they’re not strapped to the airplane, can’t. It’s that simple,” Captain Dennis Tajer, a 30-year veteran of American Airlines and spokesman for the union representing 15,000 pilots at American, told ABC News.
The Federal Aviation Administration defines turbulence as the movement of air that is created by changes in atmospheric pressure, jet streams, mountain air environments, weather fronts, or thunderstorms.
If you think these incidents are become more frequent, you’re on to something.
The FAA said it has received 17 reports of severe injuries related to turbulence last year – up from the 13 reports it received in 2019.
What’s going on here? Some scientists believe that climate change is having a direct effect on the atmospheric conditions that contribute to turbulence
A study by scientists at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom said that clear-air turbulence “is hazardous to aircraft and is projected to intensify in response to future climate change.”
Clear air turbulence (CAT) is sudden severe turbulence occurring in cloudless regions that causes violent buffeting of aircraft. Pilots cannot avoid it, as it is invisible to the naked eye and undetectable by onboard sensors.
The researches said they found “clear evidence of large CAT increases in various places around the world at aircraft cruising altitudes since satellites began observing the atmosphere.”
The study said that at a typical point over the North Atlantic, “the upward trend is such that the strongest category of CAT was 55% more frequent in 2020 than 1979.”
“Our study represents the best evidence yet that CAT has increased over the past four decades, consistent with the expected effects of climate change,” the report said.
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