QUOTE(tucsondan @ Dec 12 2007, 10:54 PM) [snapback]123606[/snapback]
I have a couple questions about turbulence. First, what exactly is turbulence and how does it make a plane shake? Does it travel through the engines or over the wings? Pilots always say there is nothing to worry about when hitting turbulence, but how can you say that when it feels like the plane is dropping and no one can stand up?
OK, I'll make a wild shoot here, since I screwed up yesterday...
Turbulence is movement of air molecules. Easy... Cooler temperature air descends, and warmer temperature air climbs. It makes the aircraft move because, since it is a movement it carries speed, and speed means pressure, pressure that is applied to the aircraft in the direction of the movement of the air molecules. So, no, it does not travel over the wings or the engines. It just applies pressure over the whole aircraft, whether it is upward or downward. And I think Clear Air Turbulence also moves horizontally i.e.:From the left or from the right of the aircraft...
Why pilots say there's nothing to worry about? 'Cause there's not. The airplane is just moving in other direction (i.e: vertically). The only thing that could go wrong in turbulence, is that if you don't fasten your seatbelt, and it's a messed up day, you could hit your head with whatever you have over your head. And you can't "stand up", again, since it is another pressure applied to the aircraft, it causes acceleration (downward or upward), just like in takeoff for example, and in some aircraft you feel unable to move because of the acceleration during rotation and initial climb.
Though, I believe, that there might be a problem, but it has to be a really strong turbulence... Maybe if the aircraft is shaking really hard, the flame could go out in a jet engine?