Turbulence injures 12 on Qatar Airways flight

Turbulence injures 12 on Qatar Airways flight

Turbulence Injures

The recent incidents of severe turbulence on flights have raised concerns about the impact of climate change on aviation safety. On May 21, Singapore Airlines flight 321 from London to Singapore experienced violent turbulence, resulting in one passenger’s death and numerous injuries. A similar incident occurred on Qatar Airways flight 107 from Doha to Dublin.

Experts suggest these events may become more frequent as climate change intensifies jet streams and other atmospheric phenomena. Dr. John Knox, a researcher of aviation turbulence, explains how climate change is exacerbating the issue. An experienced pilot also shares insights into navigating these turbulent skies from the cockpit.

New regulations, including safety recommendations from a 2021 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, focus on better coordinating weather data and encouraging the use of child safety seats. John Cox, a longtime pilot and president of Safety Operating Systems, notes that improved technology can help pilots navigate around extreme weather. Specific flight routes are more prone to turbulence, particularly those in the North Pacific and North Atlantic, and over mountainous areas such as the Andes, Alps, Himalayas, and Rockies.

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Turbulence concerns for flight safety

Another hot spot is the intertropical convergence zone near the equator. Turbli, a turbulence forecasting firm, identified the most turbulent flight routes using data from weather authorities.

While turbulence can strike any time during a flight, about half of turbulence-related accidents occur during the descent or approach phases. Smaller aircraft are more vulnerable, and incidents are more likely to occur in the aft section of the plane. Flight attendants, who are often on their feet, are at higher risk.

The NTSB and the safety community strongly recommend using child safety seats for children under 2, although this remains a recommendation rather than a regulation. In the United States, 163 turbulence-related injuries were recorded between 2009 and 2022, with most injuries affecting crew members. Ultimately, the best protection for passengers is to keep their seat belts fastened at all times while seated.

Most injuries occur when individuals are unbelted, or flight attendants move about the cabin. As climate change continues to impact weather patterns, understanding and adapting to these changes is crucial for ensuring safer flights in the future.


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