If you’re like me, turbulence doesn’t do anything to make flying more fun or comfortable. In fact, I have a slight fear of flying so it can actually makes it worse. Turns out, there’s a way you can see the chances of your flight being turbulent before you even get to the airport.
Turbulence Forecast is a great website that shows you both domestic and international turbulence PIREPs (or Pilot Reports) and potential nuisance areas based on weather, etc. PIREPs are the most accurate in my opinion. The reports come in real time from aircraft flying through that specific area.
Above is a sample PIREP for the continental United States. You’ll see a bunch of different symbols and numbers. The numbers indicate the altitude at which the reporting aircraft was flying at when the rough patch was reported. For example, moderate turbulence at “360” indicates rough air at 36,000 feet.
Note — Turbulence Forecast also has an app by the same name for your mobile device.
SOAR is a website dedicated to helping travelers get over their fear of flying. The linked page is really useful for forecasting turbulence and trouble spots in a multitude of locations such as the US, Canada, Trans-Atlantic, Europe, Africa, Asia, etc.
Also listed are facts about turbulence and how it’s not a safety issue for airplanes or pilots.
As The Flight Detective highlights in their blog on flight turbulence, should not be any cause for concern. “Flying is the safest mode of transport in the world,” they stress, “As long as you keep your seat belt loosely fastened as advised, you will never get into any trouble with it”. So yeah, it is unsettling and sometimes scary, no doubt. But pilots train hundreds of thousands of hours in order to navigate rough conditions. Airplanes come equipped with advanced engineering meant to keep you safe. Pilots train for situations that aren’t likely to take place on a commercial aircraft. So breathe easy, and try to enjoy the flight!