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Ride Reports

Old 7th May 2018, 16:24
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Ride Reports

In years gone by the only requests on ATC for ‘ride reports’ were by American aircraft. On the North Atlantic if one person mentioned turbulence the airwaves became clogged with our American friends desperately trying to find out if the turbulence was near them,

In the past few years I notice a few voices from the other side of the Atlantic bleatering on about ride reports. Not only on the Atlantic but in congested UK airspace. Whilst not wishing to point any fingers the two worst culprits appear to be the self styled ‘World’s Favourite’ and the green clover tail.

Does anyone agree and could someone shed some light as to why they are doing this? Or are they just scared of turbulence?
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Old 7th May 2018, 22:32
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Passengers don’t like turbulence. Trying to avoid turbulence is now part of the job to give those passengers a better experience.
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Old 7th May 2018, 22:43
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Passengers, Crew, Animals, Freight - does anyone or anything, "like" Turbulence? I understand how it happens, the difference between crossing a co-altitude efflux, "light chop" and bouncing around like a tethered kangaroo.

When I was soaring over the cooling towers around RAF Lindholme, I knew all about it. Never did throw up, Cannot tolerate booze so bring on sub-orbital flight for me.

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Old 7th May 2018, 23:02
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Having flown for a major LoCo and a major Legacy, the LoCo had the seatbelt sign on when sensibly required and the Legacy had the seatbelt sign on when the Captain forgot to turn it off, when there were a few bumps in the cruise, when there was cloud, when there were clouds up ahead, when they could see clouds somewhere, when clouds where on the sigmet chart anywhere, when they felt like it and when the stars aligned in a certain way... result: seatbelt sign ignored by everyone on the Legacy and the seatbelt sign having practical meaning on the LoCo.
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Old 8th May 2018, 01:20
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You never need to ask for one. Just wait for 30 seconds and someone from the US will ask.....
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Old 8th May 2018, 02:15
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"Ride report" questions have seen a pervasive increase in recent times on the western side of the Atlantic too. Everyone and their dog seems to want a ride report when they check in with a new control sector. I think climbing through 5,000' on the SID is a little late to be asking about turbulence, as it should have been discussed during the met briefing. The increase in such queries suggests that pilots are too attached to their phones and are not giving the met briefing the appropriate consideration. As far as I am concerned, if I encounter turbulence, I'll report it to ATC and then to dispatch through ACARS. The dispatcher can then send a message to all the affected aircraft along the route. I hate extraneous communications, for which this falls into the category. I feel the increase may be linked to experience. For example, I recently had an FO ask me how I knew there was turbulence coming up crossing the Rockies into Edmonton when none had been drawn on any of the maps. I explained that, while it was smooth as silk at cruise, the wind was on our back at 80 knots and this would generate turbulence in the lee of the hills. He had put far too much trust into the graphical products, and was yet still surprised after my explanation that we encountered turbulence from FL240 to about 8,000'. And this is where I think the problem arises. Too many new pilots are looking at the graphical products and not taking the raw data into account. If you see a jetstream is turning 50 degrees along your track, you're going to get turbulence, even if someone did not colour it in. If the wind is crossing the rocks at a decent speed, you're going to have a bumpy flight.

As for the Americans, frankly, if I could be sued because we hit a bump and young Suzie hit her head while walking down the aisle, I'd probably leave the belts on the whole time and continually ask ATC about the rides too. Those guys have it bad. Do something wrong, get sued. Do something right, get sued. Save 150 people, get sued. It's a horrible system.

Now, if I may also add - a related point to ride reports I promise - is the increase in "moderate turbulence" reports. I've flown behind a lot of aircraft reporting moderate and have come to understand that around 50% of pilots have no clue. Far, far too many times light turbulence is being reported as moderate. I suspect it is from the general decrease in experience, as when one is in moderate (or severe), there is no doubt about it. I know, moderate may be different for swept-wing, straight-wing, et cetera, but in many cases, I've been following the same type of aircraft and what they are reporting is not nearly as bad as what it is. I also get that weather changes, but not nearly that quickly.

There, that feels better.
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Old 8th May 2018, 02:51
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For example, I recently had an FO ask me how I knew there was turbulence coming up crossing the Rockies into Edmonton when none had been drawn on any of the maps. I explained that, while it was smooth as silk at cruise, the wind was on our back at 80 knots and this would generate turbulence in the lee of the hills.
A while ago I asked a glider-pilot friend of mine, who is also a Captain in a Teal-coloured airline, about his experience with wave, while flying over the Rockies. He explained some of his techniques for dealing with it. He mentioned that a lot of his FOs hadn't a clue about wave, but they understood what he meant when he mentioned "the speed bumps west of Lethbridge"!
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Old 8th May 2018, 02:56
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Is this really something worthy about complaining about?
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Old 8th May 2018, 03:31
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Hello West Coast

Yes it is relevant. In the most congested airspace in the world to have ‘experienced’ pilots clogging up the RT with requests for Ride Reports I feel is totally unnecessary, hence the initial post!
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Old 8th May 2018, 03:45
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Originally Posted by West Coast View Post
Is this really something worthy about complaining about?
Slow news day.
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Old 8th May 2018, 05:15
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They are not nearly as annoying as those “practice PAN’s” clogging up 121.5, some other regional habit
and most of the time they are of good use when you can use them to actually try to avoid the turbulence.
But sometimes when you are stuck in the oceanic tracks, can’t go up, can’t go down, can’t go left, can’t go right.... I would love to tell them to shut the ... up.
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Old 8th May 2018, 05:22
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Are you guys totally stupid? Ride reports occur because we need to know what the duration of the turbulence will be so our cabin crew can do their service without fear of being tossed up to the ceiling.

We have had crew members seriously injured when caught out by turbulence while doing service. If I can get a heads up on what the ride will be ahead I can pass that information back to the part of the aircraft that pays the bills. Plus it’s so difficult to eat my ice cream sundae when it’s bumpy. And hard to read my BBC news app.
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Old 8th May 2018, 05:31
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My company unfortunately did have some recent increase in turbulence related incidents, but afaik none of them is related to turbulence that can be avoided by the infamous ride reports.
They are either caused by either wake turbulence or by unexpected CB encounters. In recurrent training now we do pay extra attention to WXR use.

Last edited by golfyankeesierra; 8th May 2018 at 06:24.
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Old 8th May 2018, 05:34
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Originally Posted by cactusbusdrvr View Post
We have had crew members seriously injured when caught out by turbulence while doing service.
Just out of interest, what kind of turbulence was involved?
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Old 8th May 2018, 06:32
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Originally Posted by golfyankeesierra View Post

Just out of interest, what kind of turbulence was involved?
Evidently moderate or more. We received a high priority message from flight ops and there has been safety alerts sent out to renew an emphasis on briefing turbulence forecasts and anticipated adverse ride reports with the cabin. We have WSI weather apps on our iPads with forecast turbulence. On the tracks I have found them to be a bit conservative but if you see a wide range of altitudes with turbulence forecast and the jet stream is running fast then you can take those reports as true.

A month or so ago Gander and Moncton were reporting some severe turbulence SIGMETS. They made sure we had them then they were great about reporting where the good rides were.

Cooperate and graduate. We all want the best for ourselves, pur crews and our passengers.
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Old 8th May 2018, 06:37
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For (hopefully) the last time, US crews do not ask about nor give ride reports because they are afraid of being sued. If they were afraid of being sued, they would simply never turn the seatbelt sign off, would they? They do it because in the USA there is a strong tradition of CUSTOMER SERVICE, something that, as anyone who has ever tried to get the attention of a server in a European restaurant can tell you, is sorely lacking in older parts of the world. This applies also to the excellent air traffic controllers over there, who do a great job of sharing info about the meteo situation when and if their primary duties allow. If you are noticing more UK and Euro crews sharing information about turbulence than before, it's because it's a good idea to do that, as long as it does not overburden ATC, of course.
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Old 8th May 2018, 08:27
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Asking others who have knowledge about the ride you can expect is a very sensible thing to do. But the reason I ask is not because I am worried about getting sued. It’s because like every other pilot I have a duty to look after my passengers and crew. This means I will try and use all the information available to help make decisions about where and how to fly.

PM
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Old 8th May 2018, 08:34
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Originally Posted by Long Haul View Post
For (hopefully) the last time, US crews do not ask about nor give ride reports because they are afraid of being sued. If they were afraid of being sued, they would simply never turn the seatbelt sign off, would they?
But they'd get sued for leaving it on the whole flight, no?
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Old 8th May 2018, 09:03
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From 15 years of crossing the Atlantic, I'm not particularly aware of a massive increase in ride reports, but that may be due to the reduced amount of radio traffic with the coming of CPDLC. I am fairly certain that the amount of time that I spend in areas of potential turbulence has increased. Anecdotally, I wonder if this is to do with the combination of the increased accuracy of weather forecasting and the pressure on airlines to route their aircraft with the greatest tailwinds to save fuel. Plus, with the increase of flow traffic on the NAT track system due to reduced separation, more aircraft are being routed through the most turbulent/efficient areas? Maybe, due to changing climate factors, there is just more turbulence? All in all, I am largely grateful to people making accurate reports of Mod/Sev, as we were the night before last, when a report near Gander enabled us to avoid the caning taken by some of our colleagues.
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Old 8th May 2018, 09:32
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US CRAR 15.2.4.
When encountering turbulence, pilots are urgently requested to report such conditions to ATC as soon as practicable. (....)
Therefore, ATC specifically wants them, and checking in with: "xxx 123, FL340, light chop." is perfectly fine... at least in the States!
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