Turbulence Question

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Larry1018, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. Larry1018

    Larry1018 Guest

    I was flying on a 90nm cross country on Saturday, on a beautiful day. There was a high level Airmet for turbulence but nothing for low level. I noticed that as we flew toward our destination some fair weather cumulus clouds, not convective looking at all. I did notice that as we neared I was at about the same level as the clouds, so I started to descend a bit to stay clear of the clouds, as I looked out my left window, I could see a cloud in the distance and we were level with it, so I I began my descent and suddenly we hit some nasty turbulence. The right wing dipped to about a 45 degree angle, and it startled us at first, then I corrected it, then the turbulence continued. I descended hoping out of what I thought was wind shear, because of the cloud level. I descended 1000 feet and there was still pretty rough turbulence. I finally aborted and turned around and as soon as we cleared the front edge of these few clouds, the turbulence was gone. We had a few thermal bumps but nothing like we had just experienced. I am concerned as to why this occurred with these fair weather cumulus clouds moving in and it was something I had not encountered before.

    Can anyone tell me, is this a freak thing or is this normal ? I have tried to google it and I know if you fly under the base of cumulus cloud you could have a rough ride, but this was in the clear with very few clouds moving in. Winds were 16knots at our flight level, no big deal. Can anyone explain what might have happened. I am a new pilot, under 100 hours, and I handled it well, but scared the crap out of me, because it was tossing us around quite a bit.
     
  2. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Probably just some random air pockets.
    How hot was it?
     
  3. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Sounds like a typical hot afternoon flight in the Southeast.
     
  4. Clip4

    Clip4 Pattern Altitude

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    What was the terrain beneath you?
     
  5. Larry1018

    Larry1018 Guest

    The terrain was flat, the temperature was in the high 70's. It was about 10am and the rest of the flight was smooth. I just find coincidental that it was associated with the leading edge of the fair weather clouds, with no front in the area.
     
  6. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    If it was scattered cumulus, you probably would have had a smoother ride had you gone above rather than below them.
     
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  7. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Okay, probably just the base of the cloud layer which tends to be a bit bumpy. As a general rule, get above it and it will be like glass.
    Likely not air pockets and 70s is pretty cool so also likely not hot pockets.
     
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  8. rwy7

    rwy7 Filing Flight Plan

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    Agree, stay above the clouds as long as possible, even with scattered clouds you will get turbulence below the base level. Very common in the southwest this time of year.
     
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  9. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Clouds are caused by air moving up. In between the clouds air is moving down.
     
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  10. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    And the tops of the clouds are where that up and down mixing motion largely stops, usually due to a "cap" or inversion. That's why you get a smoother ride on top of the clouds than underneath.
     
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  11. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Turbulence can be a real beotch.

     
  12. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    What is an air pocket?
     
  13. DeckardTrinity

    DeckardTrinity Pre-Flight

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    A Hot Pocket (tm) without any filling?
     
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  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Dang...... I hate those.....:lol::lol:
     
  15. wrbix

    wrbix Cleared for Takeoff

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    Did you file a flight plan?

    ;)
    (Long standing joke here)
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  16. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    That's what you have when aviation has cleaned out all the cash in your jeans...
     
  17. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  18. tinerj

    tinerj Cleared for Takeoff

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    Air pocket = what old time pilots blame when their passengers barf. (It can't be due to the lack of flying skills.)
     
  19. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Airmet T's are what you want to look at, not Metars.
     
  20. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    This. Usually. Not guaranteed, but building cumulus are sucking up air from below as they build upward. Glider pilots look for long "cloud streets" to follow on long cross countries, made up of CU.

    Cumuliform clouds, anyway. Stratiform clouds, not usually.

    Outside of full blown thunderstorm activity or mechanical turbulence in the mountains, and the occasional wild frontal passage, the vast majority of "annoying continuous turbulence" for light aircraft is flying just beneath and in the vicinity of large areas of patchy cumulus clouds.

    Thump thump thump continuously until you're completely annoyed by it, mixed with a few bigger bumps.
     
  21. austin757

    austin757 Filing Flight Plan

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    Try to stay above if you can. Left or right if needed for larger buildups. Just takes a few degrees to make it much smoother. Underneath is better than going through buildups, especially the cumulus stuff you'll see in, say, mid-afternoon.