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srjumbo747 7th May 2018 16:24

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?

IcePack 7th May 2018 22:32

Passengers don’t like turbulence. Trying to avoid turbulence is now part of the job to give those passengers a better experience.

ImageGear 7th May 2018 22:43

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.

IG

Its Maui 7th May 2018 23:02

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.

mrdeux 8th May 2018 01:20

You never need to ask for one. Just wait for 30 seconds and someone from the US will ask.....

+TSRA 8th May 2018 02:15

"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.

India Four Two 8th May 2018 02:51


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"!

West Coast 8th May 2018 02:56

Is this really something worthy about complaining about?

srjumbo747 8th May 2018 03:31

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!

Airbubba 8th May 2018 03:45


Originally Posted by West Coast (Post 10140804)
Is this really something worthy about complaining about?

Slow news day. ;)

golfyankeesierra 8th May 2018 05:15

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.

cactusbusdrvr 8th May 2018 05:22

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.

golfyankeesierra 8th May 2018 05:31

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.

golfyankeesierra 8th May 2018 05:34


Originally Posted by cactusbusdrvr (Post 10140856)
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?

cactusbusdrvr 8th May 2018 06:32


Originally Posted by golfyankeesierra (Post 10140860)

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.

Long Haul 8th May 2018 06:37

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.

Piltdown Man 8th May 2018 08:27

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

schweizer2 8th May 2018 08:34


Originally Posted by Long Haul (Post 10140887)
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?

macdo 8th May 2018 09:03

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.

INNflight 8th May 2018 09:32


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!

old,not bold 8th May 2018 09:36


Originally Posted by macdo (Post 10140973)
..........a report near Gander enabled us to avoid the caning taken by some of our colleagues.

Thank you. That pretty much sums up the case for the defense, and the whole of this thread.

srjumbo747 8th May 2018 13:22


Originally Posted by INNflight (Post 10140999)
Therefore, ATC specifically wants them, and checking in with: "xxx 123, FL340, light chop." is perfectly fine... at least in the States!

In the States, yes! But in the UK? The airwaves are busy enough.

atr-drivr 8th May 2018 14:14


Originally Posted by cactusbusdrvr (Post 10140856)
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.


^^^^THIS! JFK to LAX 100 mi west of DEN was in expected turbulence-Light occaisional Moderate when another aircraft 30 miles in front of us reported severe turbulence. I called back to told the inflight to drop everything and sit down NOW!!! Asked ATC for an immediate turn away from it and as we started it we got hammered. 5 to 6 seconds seemed like forever as we were slammed. Auto pilot kicked off, 20 knot overspeed and crap flying around. No injuries but when I called back they said that some pax were actually still in the aisle!! Seat Belt sign had been on since we left JFK...Ride reports? F-yeah I want them.

Flying_Swede 8th May 2018 15:28

For me personally, I sometimes ask for reports of higher levels to know if it's a good idea to climb and when to do it.
When you're close to the performance limited Flight Level it's always nice to get some more margin before climbing if the higher levels have some light turbulence for example.
Or not climb at all.

It's also nice to know, when you're entering turbulence, for how long it will most likely last for. To keep your crew and passengers informed and maybe considering changing FL.

Why this is being considered unreasonable and "problematic" by some is beyond me, but hey, I can only speak for myself.

Phantom Driver 8th May 2018 22:51

Maui-

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.
Very true :)

TSRA

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
Reminds me of that old saying--" one guys light chop is another guys severe turbulence" . Perhaps the definition of what constitutes " severe " needs to be better understood by some .

Of course , nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution . As always-" better safe than sorry. "

Nemrytter 9th May 2018 08:54


Originally Posted by srjumbo747 (Post 10140412)
Or are they just scared of turbulence?

This is a very odd comment for a professional pilot to make.

swh 9th May 2018 10:09

Mistakenly opened this thread thinking it would be about the best places to visit on a layover. That would be worthwhile R&N.

macdo 9th May 2018 11:07


Originally Posted by Nemrytter (Post 10141915)
This is a very odd comment for a professional pilot to make.

Not so odd.
I know of at least two colleagues who go to heroic lengths to avoid areas of potential turbulence. One of them had a very serious upset in wave and doesn't want to revisit the experience.

Una Due Tfc 9th May 2018 11:52

As an ATCO, I want ride reports and am perfectly happy to pass them on also. At the end of the day I’m a service provider and anything I can do to improve that service (time permitting of course) is a good thing.

And yes I’ve noticed an increase in the frequency of severe turb reports and sigmets in recent years. It could be as much do with more congested airspace as with climate change. I got my first ever “extreme” turbulence report a couple of years ago (from an A380 of all things). I had forgotten there was a category above “severe”.

Nemrytter 9th May 2018 12:03


Originally Posted by macdo (Post 10141995)
Not so odd.
I know of at least two colleagues who go to heroic lengths to avoid areas of potential turbulence. One of them had a very serious upset in wave and doesn't want to revisit the experience.

Perhaps you misunderstood me: Your comment here emphasises my point. What I found odd was the 'just scared of turbulence' as if wanting to know what turbulence is around is somehow embarrassing.

747-8driver 9th May 2018 15:26


Originally Posted by atr-drivr (Post 10141247)
Seat Belt sign had been on since we left JFK...

That's the reason why "some pax were actually still in the aisle".
It takes forever in the US before they switch off the fasten seatbelts sign even with no turbulence whatsoever.

macdo 9th May 2018 23:23


Originally Posted by Nemrytter (Post 10142027)
Perhaps you misunderstood me: Your comment here emphasises my point. What I found odd was the 'just scared of turbulence' as if wanting to know what turbulence is around is somehow embarrassing.

Correct, misinterpreted your text. Apologies.

A340Yumyum 9th May 2018 23:57

The trouble is.....

European operator......’reporting light-mod chop’

American operator......’severe turbulence!!’

Always been thus.

RAT 5 10th May 2018 11:43

Like many things I found that modern day teaching of the numerous cadets does not include educational guidance on assessing levels or turbulence. You can have guide lines as it is quite common in the apprentice years not to experience anything of significance.

I used to like some of the self designed guidelines.

On the rear galley work top; a half cup of water. Did it slosh in the cup? = Light. Did it overflow? = Moderate. Did the cup fall over? Mod/Sev. Did the cup bounce of the ceiling? = Severe.

I once heard a story of the Atlantic ride report conversations. There was some real choppy stuff about and the guys were relating to it in similar terms to mine. One US pilot come on and aid it was "kinda rough as he'd just spilt coffee down his shirt. Does anyone have any reports." Back came a Brit, "we're having dinner and the captain just stabbed himself with the fork; so I guess it's a little rougher here."

That's when the ride reports are not overtaken by the baseball scores. There can also be turbulence in the Leagues.

Mansfield 10th May 2018 12:54

There is a difference between asking the controller if he/she has any ride reports and asking them if they “have any good altitudes”, or, “is it better lower”. In the former, you are augmenting the met information you should already have; in the latter, you are revealing yourself to be unprepared. Just my opinion.

With respect to the US, one aspect to consider is that the dissemination of turbulence PIREPs can be quite slow, and when using text-based communication with dispatch, tedious at best. The live oral communication with ATC is capable of trading a great deal of current information quickly.

There is, admittedly, a tendency to blather on in the States, but that has a lot to do with our love of conversational radio phraseology as well as our unlimited lack of courtesy on the airwaves…personally I like to wait ten seconds after switching frequencies before I transmit, but that’s not a universal habit!

And as far as baseball scores go…there are two distinct eras in aviation. In the early era, we asked ATC for the Super Bowl score, and then made a PA to the cabin relaying the score. In the modern era, we call the cabin, get them to ask a passenger for the Super Bowl score, and then pass it on to ATC. Different world today…

Miles Magister 10th May 2018 14:11

Severity of Turbulence

For the purpose of reporting and forecasting of air turbulence, it is graded on a relative scale, according to its perceived or potential effect on a 'typical' aircraft, as Light, Moderate, Severe and Extreme.
  • Light turbulence is the least severe, with slight, erratic changes in attitude and/or altitude.
  • Moderate turbulence is similar to light turbulence, but of greater intensity - variations in speed as well as altitude and attitude may occur but the aircraft remains in control all the time.
  • Severe turbulence is characterised by large, abrupt changes in attitude and altitude with large variations in airspeed. There may be brief periods where effective control of the aircraft is impossible. Loose objects may move around the cabin and damage to aircraft structures may occur.
  • Extreme turbulence is capable of causing structural damage and resulting directly in prolonged, possibly terminal, loss of control of the aircraft.
In-flight turbulence assessment is essentially subjective. Routine encounters involve light or moderate turbulence, although to inexperienced passengers (or pilots), especially in small aircraft, these conditions may seem to be severe.The perception of turbulence severity experienced by an aircraft depends not only on the strength of the air disturbance but also on the size of the aircraft - moderate turbulence in a large aircraft may appear severe in a small aircraft. Therefore pilot reports of turbulence should mention the aircraft type to aid assessment of the relevance to other pilots in, or approaching, the same area

The best way to avoid Clear Air Turbulence?

Fly in cloud!

MM

RAT 5 10th May 2018 18:02

Astonishingly the only time I had turbulence where I could not read the instruments was on approach. We decided that diversion was the better part of valour.

It was irritating on N.Atlantic under HF, when your crz FL was just skimming the tops of TCu's. Lucky if a couple of miles up wind could solve your problem, quietly. If upper levels were blocked you were stuffed and cobble-stoned your way for a longitude or two.

White Knight 10th May 2018 19:45


Originally Posted by Long Haul
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

Funny comment! CUSTOMER SERVICE, is generally woefully lacking on board any US airliner. It's far better in US restaurants but would probably be similar to the 'server in a European restaurant' if you would at least pay your servers a decent minimum wage rather than force them to survive on TIPS...


Originally Posted by A340yumyum
The trouble is.....

European operator......’reporting light-mod chop’

American operator......’severe turbulence!!’

Always been thus.

About right:}

West Coast 11th May 2018 02:39

Restaurant tipping? Really?

Glad you can use a thread on ride reports as a vehicle for your anti US tripe.

llondel 11th May 2018 05:29

My very accurate predictor of onset of turbulence is about a minute after I get a meal or drink on the tray table in front of me. It's not been bad enough to result in me wearing any of it yet, but I've been on a few flights where there's been an announcement for cabin crew to take their seats immediately. (Cue to hold on to the drink and possibly put the lid back on the food tray.)

I would echo the comment from 747-8driver above about the seatbelt sign. While there are clueless people who get up at obviously inappropriate times, if it's been nice and calm for a significant period in cruise and the sign is still on, people start deciding that it's been forgotten, whether that's the case or not. Remember that in the back you can't see what's in front and the fancy instruments aren't visible either. Having said that, I still dislike being asked to get out of an aisle seat to let someone out of one of the other seats when the sign is on.


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