This picture taken by Alan Cross and published to Instagram has gone viral. The two Singapore Airlines flight attendants sit calmly after being ordered to their seats when their Airbus A380 (registration 9V-SKH) encountered severe clear air turbulence 90 minutes into a Singapore to London flight on 26 May.
Behind them is a scene of devastation. Breakfast was just being served when the plane dropped 100 feet.
Eleven people had minor injuries as a result of the turbulence. The flight SQ308 continued onto London and landed safely 13 hours latert. The plane was carrying 328 passengers and 28 crew.
The plane left London the following day back to Singapore. No damage was reported to the aircraft. This A380 has been in service with the airline for four and a half years.
I have heard passengers blame the airline (“bloody Qantas”) or the pilot (“stupid pilot”) or even the aeroplane type they have been on for turbulence. The truth is different, of course.
There are four types of turbulence an airliner may encounter:
1. Clear Air Turbulence -outlined below
2. Jet stream
3. Wake turbulence -the change turbulence that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air
4. Wind shear-a huge shift in wind speed and direction that occurs over a very short distance
Clear Air Turbulence is invisible which is why it accounts for seventy percent of all turbulence incidents because pilots generally have little or no warning of it. CAT most often occurs when a large, moving mass of cold air meets warmer air. The cold air pushes its way under the warmer air (hotter air always rises) causing a turbulence effect 100 to160 kilometers (60 to 100 miles) behind the start of the cold front.
The only way to protect yourself is to have your seatbelt fastened-always