Can pilots predict turbulence?

“A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skill.”

This famous quote by aviation hero Frank Borman epitomises exactly what the job of an airline pilot is all about. It’s our job to use our knowledge and experience to assess the conditions around and ahead of the aircraft to make decisions to keep those on board safe.

This is particularly true when it comes to turbulence. Whilst turbulence in itself is not dangerous to an aircraft, it is, of course, uncomfortable for those passengers inside. In addition to this, some of the sources of turbulence can pose a threat to the aircraft.

It is, therefore, a competent pilot’s responsibility to be aware of what turbulence is, how it can affect the aircraft and, most importantly, how to recognise the signs of potential turbulence and void them before it affects the aircraft.

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