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There’s no doubt that turbulence can be scary. And one positive of flying the massive Airbus A380 is that the giant aircraft doesn’t seem to be shaken by much. That wasn’t the case this past Sunday night when a Qantas A380 went into a “nosedive” due to wake turbulence.
While wake turbulence — the rough air caused by aircraft slicing through it — is most common around airports, this situation occurred unexpectedly about two hours into Qantas flight 94 from Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL). Australian sports commentator Eddie McGuire was on the flight and described the experience to the Today Show:
For about ten seconds there was a drop, it did have that a feel of you know when you just go over the top of the roller coaster you just get a little bit of that feeling… It just had that uneasy feeling as it pitched forward and to the side.
Another passenger on the flight, Janelle Wilson, described the situation to The Australian in much more dramatic terms:
It was between 1.5 and two hours after we left LA and all of a sudden the plane went through a violent turbulence and then completely up-ended and we were nosediving.
In a statement, a Qantas spokesperson described the incident as “short burst of wake turbulence from another A380 flying ahead and above it.” Not only was it another A380, but it was another Qantas A380. The airline confirmed that Qantas flight 12 from LAX to Sydney (SYD) was 1,000 feet above and 20 miles away from flight 94 at the time of the incident.
While this turbulence was surely terrifying, it’s important to remember that turbulence doesn’t threaten the safety of an aircraft in flight — even turbulence like this one. Aircraft are designed to take the brunt of a severe shaking, and passengers are safe as long as they’re strapped in. If you’d rather know when turbulence might happen, of course, there’s an app for that.
H/T: Live And Let’s Fly
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