Severe Turbulence UA 1428 and 480

Old Apr 3, 2024, 8:31 am
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Severe Turbulence UA 1428 and 480

UA 1428 (EWR to Nashville) and 480 (San Antonio to DEN) both reported severe turbulence this morning. Anyone on either of these flights? I have a terrible fear of hitting severe turbulence so I am curious to know exactly what it felt like.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 10:14 am
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Who is calling it "severe"? The flight crew to ATC, or some news reporter? It can have very different meanings in those different contexts.

If it's the flight crew to ATC, the experience should be: Occupants are forced violently against seat belts or shoulder straps. Unsecured objects are tossed about. Food Service and walking are impossible.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by mduell
Who is calling it "severe"? The flight crew to ATC, or some news reporter? It can have very different meanings in those different contexts.

If it's the flight crew to ATC, the experience should be: Occupants are forced violently against seat belts or shoulder straps. Unsecured objects are tossed about. Food Service and walking are impossible.
For rfull eference: from the AMS Glossary of Meteorology, Second Edition (2000); also adopted by the FAA:

Irregular motion of an aircraft in flight, especially when characterized by rapid up-and-down motion, caused by a rapid variation of atmospheric wind velocities.This can occur in cloudy areas (particularly towering cumulus and lenticular clouds) and in clear air. Turbulence is the leading cause of nonfatal passenger and flight attendant injuries. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) classifies aircraft turbulence as follows:

Light: Causes slight, erratic changes in altitude and/or attitude, and rhythmic bumpiness as occupants feel a slight strain against seat belts.

Moderate: Similar to light, but of greater intensity, with rapid bumps or jolts, and occupants feel a slight strain against seat belts.

Severe: Turbulence that causes large, abrupt changes in altitude and attitude, and large variations in airspeed, with the aircraft temporarily out of control. Occupants are forced violently against their seat belts and objects are tossed about, with food service and walking impossible.

Extreme: The aircraft is tossed about so violently that it is practically impossible to control, and structural damage may occur.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 10:19 am
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It was reported from the flight crews to ATC.

I know what the definitions are. I am wondering about people who were on those flights and what they actually experienced.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 3, 2024 at 1:53 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by trebex
I know what the definitions are. I am wondering about people who were on those flights and what they actually experienced.
My bet is they experienced moderate to heavy turbulence and that someone is being profligate with the English language.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 11:28 am
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here are the reports.

ARP UAL1428 3850N 07911W 1257 F346 228/121KT TB SEV TURB IC RM
B38M OV COLNS SEVER TURB OVER MRB. ONE QUICK JERK. NO INJ=

ARP UAL480 2938N 09827W 1235 F240 261/077KT TB SEV IC RM B738 OV
SAT SEVERE TURB 240-250 CLIMBING OUT OF SAT=

To the OP, in my experience severe turbulence is not a problem when seated with a seat belt on. Your drink could splash out of the cup. Walking is difficult and you'd have to hang on to the seats or the overhead bin rail. I've never experienced extreme turbulence and don't want to. For these flights it seems the duration of the severe turbulence was pretty short. But, it was enough to warrant a report. The purpose of the reports is to warn subsequent flights about the turbulence so they can avoid the region if possible.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 3, 2024 at 1:46 pm Reason: discuss the issue, not the posters
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by contrail
... here are the reports

ARP UAL1428 3850N 07911W 1257 F346 228/121KT TB SEV TURB IC RM
B38M OV COLNS SEVER TURB OVER MRB. ONE QUICK JERK. NO INJ=

ARP UAL480 2938N 09827W 1235 F240 261/077KT TB SEV IC RM B738 OV
SAT SEVERE TURB 240-250 CLIMBING OUT OF SAT=

To the OP, in my experience severe turbulence is not a problem when seated with a seat belt on. Your drink could splash out of the cup. Walking is difficult and you'd have to hang on to the seats or the overhead bin rail. I've never experienced extreme turbulence and don't want to. For these flights it seems the duration of the severe turbulence was pretty short. But, it was enough to warrant a report. The purpose of the reports is to warn subsequent flights about the turbulence so they can avoid the region if possible.
Thank you for this. Much appreciated. If I may ask, where did you get this detailed info?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 3, 2024 at 3:25 pm Reason: quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by contrail
... here are the reports.
ARP UAL1428 3850N 07911W 1257 F346 228/121KT TB SEV TURB IC RM
B38M OV COLNS SEVER TURB OVER MRB. ONE QUICK JERK. NO INJ=

ARP UAL480 2938N 09827W 1235 F240 261/077KT TB SEV IC RM B738 OV
SAT SEVERE TURB 240-250 CLIMBING OUT OF SAT=

To the OP, in my experience severe turbulence is not a problem when seated with a seat belt on. Your drink could splash out of the cup. Walking is difficult and you'd have to hang on to the seats or the overhead bin rail. I've never experienced extreme turbulence and don't want to. For these flights it seems the duration of the severe turbulence was pretty short. But, it was enough to warrant a report. The purpose of the reports is to warn subsequent flights about the turbulence so they can avoid the region if possible.
Thanks for a great explanation and hopefully helpful to the OP.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 3, 2024 at 1:47 pm Reason: quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 12:51 pm
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Are you asking because you have a particular flight coming up in either of those regions (SAT-DEN or EWR-BNA)? Or is it just to get an idea of what it feels like to be in severe turbulence?

Pilots are going to do everything they can to avoid "severe" turbulence, but sometimes it cannot be predicted. The best way to protect yourself is, of course, to keep your seatbelt on... but there's really no way to fully ensure you will avoid severe turbulence with absolute certainty.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 12:52 pm
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OP, I've experienced various degrees of turbulence over the years. I do not know if any of it qualified as "severe", because I am not an expert. It's one of reasons I always appreciated channel 9 and I do remember thinking, on a few occasions, "wow, this is bad", but then I heard the crew describe it to ATC as "moderate".
Last year, on an EMB-175, climbing out of Denver during a typical summer afternoon, it felt like we drove over 2-3 speedbumps at full speed. It only lasted a couple of seconds, but it was intense and loud - the sound actually surprised me.
I was on a SEA-ORD night flight, where, at cruising altitude, it felt like a bit of a roller coaster. It lasted about 30-40 minutes and I do remember getting lifted out of my seat a couple of times, with the seatbelt holding me down.
Again, I do not know the severity of any of this - I just wanted to describe my two, most-recent experiences.

Maybe picking particular spots on the plane could help you?
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 1:15 pm
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Flying tomorrow though not on either of these routes. Just checking the PIREPS and there are an unusual number of severe reports. Luckily, the weather is due to be better tomorrow.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 1:36 pm
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I was on 1428 this morning. Crew was in jump seats for the first half of the flight, Captain/FO were clear that the first hour would be rough. They weren't lying!

It was moderately bumpy for that time, with one very heavy jolt after about ~45 minutes in. People were screaming. I had the vomit bag in hand for the first 30 minutes, eventually ran to the restroom during a calm moment and ended up bracing myself in there for the worst of it, rather than subjecting the cabin to a steamy vomit bag. I'd guess I moved up and down two feet for that one jolt.

Credit to the crew- they were super responsive once it cleared. They rushed a beverage service that was greatly appreciated, and they even asked me if I was feeling better or needed anything else (was handed a can of ginger ale without even asking).

For all of my flying, I've never experienced anything like that. The cabin was as quiet as a red eye.
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Last edited by NJFlyer1; Apr 3, 2024 at 1:45 pm
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by trebex
... Luckily, the weather is due to be better tomorrow.
Everyday weather reports geared towards peoples' everyday lives on the ground many times can correlate to turbulence in air. However, some of the worst turbulence can occur on a "nice day". Winds and flows at altitude can be vastly different than what weather forecasters are looking at for their reports on TV. Don't be lulled into thinking - "I saw a nice weather forecast on TV - that means no turbulence". Maybe, maybe not.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 1:42 pm
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OP my first ever flight was on a single engine general aviation plane. We hit extreme turbulence for a bit over the mountains ( the biggest drop was 3000 feet ). I was scared but after a while I just started laughing trying to catch items flying around the interior. We came out of the plane laughing and looking like a mess from flying opened cans of soft drinks and half eaten sandwiches . Turbulence is like when an earthquakes just starts, the fear is how bad is it going to be. Just try to relax and pretend you are on a controlled roller coaster ride or whatever might gives you enjoyment from being jostled about. Modern aviation is pretty darn good from the planes, forecasters, to the controllers/pilots talking to each other .Always wear your seat belt when seated.

Try to enjoy and you will be fine.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by trebex
Thank you for this. Much appreciated. If I may ask, where did you get this detailed info?
PIREPs available at https://aviationweather.gov/data/pirep/
or the general map at https://aviationweather.gov/gfa/#obs
The are the little green/orange/red mountain looking things : _/\_
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