Crossing the equator usually produces some turbulence. I crossed it as an LH pax in the early hours of last Tuesday (4th) and found the usual amount that I have come to expect in the 36 years that I have been making the journey.
That is to say, a bit of swaying and small bumps, nothing significant. The seat belt lights are on as a standard precaution against an unexpectedly large bump but the cabin crew were not told to be strapped in.
In the last decade or more, the weather radar has become very good. Airlines know that it is better to steer around known bad weather spots and possibly delay the flight, than to have us there on time feeling ill. Of course, the expected weather on routes is one of the factors when laying out a sector and the time allowed for it.
On this week's flight (MUC ~ JNB) on the occasions that I noticed some small bumps, I glanced at the flight map on the TV monitor and noticed that we were crossing small mountain ranges to the South East of the Sahara. So not unexpected.
The only time that I had REALLY bad turbulence was in 1970. It was a Viscount of Air Rhodesia (as it then was) and we were going from Salisbury (now Harare) also to JNB. Due to the ceiling of the aircraft, we went through the thunderstorm at 16,000' which was seriously
I would use a Graemlin here but it needs a combination of
but a worse colour green than this
[ 08 December 2001: Message edited by: PAXboy ]