I'm a nervous passenger. Flying from UK to USA next week and now very stressed after hearing on news this evening about an American Airlines flight from Brazil to Miami. It resulted in 6 flight attendants being hospitalised and the drinks trolley apparently hit the ceiling and made a hole.
Can any experienced pilots out there tell me how this could happen. How rare is it? I don't want to be scared!
23rd Jan 2012, 20:40
Hi, cg78 and welcome 'aboard'. :)
I see that you also posted this question in the main 'Rumours & News' forum and have already received good replies. Actually, this is the correct forum and it's usual to only ask your question in one forum. The Moderators might well move yours from the main forum to here, which IS the passenger's own place to ask questions.
We do have the professionals drop in here to answer questions although some of their replies might be in strong terms and not seem friendly but that is not always the case. We do get many Cabin Crew commenting in here and our forum Moderator (TightSlot) works as CC on long haul with an internationally admired company.
Also, be VERY careful about media reports of aircraft problems. If you stay in PPRuNe very long, you will see some remarkable examples of complete tripe. Given that these 'reports' are from passengers on the flight, who are in no postion to make an informed opinion on ALL that happened and whether it was avoidable or not! In almost every upset of the kind described, the people who get bumped are not wearing their belt.
So, sit tight in here and, as suggested by the Flight Crew in their forum, on the flight, just keep your belt fastened whenever seated. BUT, the nature of moving air is that it has different densities at different levels. If you imagine swimming across a big lake - you could anticipate that there would be sudden eddies and currents that might not be visible on the surface. However, you would know all about them, the moment you were pushed sideways by them. Yet, you would adjust your swimming stroke and keep moving towards the shore. That is exactly how it is in the air.
So the aircraft is going along happily at 39,000 ft in smooth air and then passes through a small belt of air that is moving across it at an angle. This causes a bump or two. There are times when the FC put the seatbelt sign on as they know from metorological reports that a strong cross wind is close ahead but because the air is clear - it cannot be seen!
As you have heard, aircraft are designed to withstand FAR greater bumps and have done so.
Thanks very much for your post - it was very helpful. Much appreciated. And hopefully I'll get the hang of where to post.