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    Does Severe Turbulence Cause Plane Crash?

    Published on Jun 22, 2012

    Turbulence Explainer: Does Severe Turbulence Cause Plane Crashes? - YouTube







    Severe turbulence forced a New York-bound flight to divert and land
    shortly after leaving Houston recently. Passengers were thrown into
    the ceiling and then back onto the floor. Can turbulence cause a plane
    to crash?

    Yes, but it's very unlikely these days. In 1966 a British Overseas
    Airways captain strayed from his flight path out of Tokyo so
    passengers could get a look at Mount Fuji. As the Boeing 707
    approached the mountain, it was hit by powerful winds—probably in
    excess of 140 miles per hour—that tore the tail apart and downed the
    plane.

    Aircraft design has come a long way since then, and aerospace
    engineers say modern aircraft are extremely unlikely to suffer a similar
    fate. Commercial airliners are now designed to withstand forces 150
    percent stronger than anything experienced in the last 40 years of
    flying. There have also been advances in detection systems.

    There are two types of turbulence, though they feel basically the same
    inside the passenger cabin. Storm-related turbulence results when
    water vapor condenses into droplets, which heats air and makes it
    rise quickly. The resulting updraft can jostle planes.. Pilots can change
    course, speed or altitude to avoid this kind of turbulence.

    Clear air turbulence is harder to detect. It usually occurs when two air
    masses contact each other at different speeds or directions—like when
    winds move over mountain peaks, or a plane crosses a jet stream.
    Pilots must notify air traffic control when they encounter clear air
    turbulence, which caused the 1966 crash in Japan..

    While planes are designed to survive even the most severe forms of
    turbulence, improper maintenance can leave them vulnerable. And
    injuries—and even deaths—have been known to occur within the
    plane as a result of turbulence. So when the captain turns on that
    seatbelt sign, don't forget to buckle up!

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