Turbulence meaning: what is turbulence and how dangerous is it?

A common occurrence during air travel, turbulence may be scary or nauseating for passengers but most of the time it is just a normal non-dangerous event. But what is the meaning of turbulence? Why does it happen? And when is it considered dangerous? Turbulence is mainly caused by weather changes; wind and pressure are the major reasons behind it. Most of us already know that. But how and why does it occur? We will try to answer these questions here and learn the true meaning of turbulence and the reasons behind it. Is turbulence dangerous? The first thing you should be aware of is that turbulence is a normal occurrence in air travel. Just like you meet some bumps on the road while you drive, a plane meets some air bumps while it flies in the air. So even though turbulence is the number one concern for many travelers, it almost never puts the aircraft in jeopardy. We have to admit that it makes passengers uncomfortable many times though. So the number one fact is that turbulence is more of a convenience issue than a safety one. Turbulence meaning Simply put, turbulence is a coverall term for instability in the air in which the plane is flying that can be caused by many reasons. Types of turbulence Clear Air Turbulence Air moves in river like formations called jet streams. They are very strong air corridors found at high altitudes. They form between the boundaries of warm and cold air. Flight planners try to either use or avoid these streams to save fuel, but sometimes running through one is unavoidable. This kind of turbulence may be annoying to passengers but it is normal. There is nothing to worry about. Thermal turbulence When cold air meets a warm surface it forms vertical currents of air. And when an aircraft passes through these vertical currents it experiences some turbulence. As clear air turbulence, this kind is also normal and possesses no danger to the aircraft, just some mild discomfort to the passengers and crew. Mechanical turbulence This type of turbulence is caused by the interference of tall structures on the horizontal flow of air. This includes mountains, skyscrapers, tall forest trees and anything of considerable height and mass. The amount of turbulence depends the size and shape of the obstructions as well as the speed of wind and other atmospheric conditions. Nevertheless, mountain terrains cause the most considerable turbulence of all of the above. This type of turbulence causes more discomfort to passengers than the previous two; however, it is still normal and not dangerous in any way. Wake turbulence It can be said that this type of turbulence is a little bit more dangerous than the ones we have mentioned before, but it can also be foreseen and controlled. As an aircraft flies, its wings generate an air vortex to create lift. This lift is what helps the airplane fly. As the plane passes however, its wake consists of two counter-rotating cylindrical vortexes. They can stay in the air for a few minutes after the plane has passed. Wake turbulence or Wake Vortex Turbulence is generated when another aircraft passes through the vortex created by another one. Air traffic controllers invest a lot of time and effort to prevent this from happening, especially in the vicinity of airports where airplanes come and go at the same time.


To determine which airport is the largest airport in the world first we need to establish our criteria. Is the largest airport in the world, the largest in terms of area? Or is it the busiest airport, the one with the most traffic? These are two different factors and it is not easy to just choose one of them to be the determining factor for an airport’s success. These factors are also somehow correlated; the airports which see the most traffic usually get expanded so they become even larger in area. In helping passengers and goods get from a destination to another, these airports, regardless of their size and traffic, participate in the local and global economy. They also provide employment to millions of people. In those terms, what are the largest airports in the region? What airports in the Middle East break world records? Let’s take a look here are the largest and busiest airports in the Middle East: Dubai International Airport: Largest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic Dubai International Airport is the primary international airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With 88 million passengers, 2.65 million tons of cargo and 409,493 aircraft movements in 2017, it is the world's busiest airport by international passenger traffic, and has been so for four consecutive years. Dubai International airport is also the sixth-busiest cargo airport in world. The airport is not small in terms of area either; it spreads over an area of 2,900 hectares. Terminal 3 in Dubai International airport is the second-largest building in the world by floor space and the largest airport terminal in the world. King Abdulaziz International Airport: Can accommodate the most number of aircrafts in the world Inaugurated in 1981, the airport is the busiest airport of Saudi Arabia. The airport is known for its Hajj terminal, which is specially built for pilgrims going to Mecca annually. This terminal can handle 80,000 passengers at the same time. King Abdulaziz International Airport can accommodate more aircrafts than any other airport in the world. The new phase of the airport is expected to make it the largest airport in the world and the busiest airport in the world during the Hajj. King Fahd International Airport: The largest airport in the world in terms of area With a total area of 780 square kilometers, this airport as the largest airport in the world in terms of total area. However, not the whole area of the airport is actually utilized. When it is, this airport will have an area of a small country. This airport in Dammam features a huge 6 story passenger terminal equipped with a total of 110 passenger counters, 66 of which are reserved for Saudi airlines while 44 are for foreign airlines. One of the interesting facts about this airport is that, due to its location, it operates the Kingdom's shortest international flight to neighboring Bahrain as well as the kingdom’s longest domestic flight between Dammam and Tabuk. This airport currently houses the eighth and newest branch of SNCA, a CAE Authorized Training Centre as well. Queen Alia International Airport: The best airport in terms of customer satisfaction Jordan's main and largest airport comprises a high class luxurious new terminal which was inaugurated in 2013 to replace the airport's older passenger and cargo terminals. After establishing this recent addition, the airport received several awards for being "Best Airport by Region: Middle East" by the Airport Council International. These awards are given to the airport which achieved the highest customer satisfaction in a worldwide Survey.

Aviation pioneers: Amelia Earhart

The first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Mary Earhart was one of the most renowned aviation pioneers in history. Even though her disappearance remains a mystery, her life and her various accomplishments still inspire people to this day. So let’s take a look together at the amazing life of Amelia Earhart, the American pilot who has manged to inspire numerous pilots and millions of women all around the world. Early years She was born in July 24th, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. Amelia saw her first airplane in Iowa State Fair in Des Moines; she refused to go into it. The aviation pioneer later described the biplane as not at all interesting. After finishing her high school education she received training as a nurse's aide from the Red Cross and began work with the Voluntary Aid. On December 28th, 1920, Earhart and her father visited an airfield in Long Beach, where she took a plane ride that utterly changed her life. "By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground I knew I had to fly.” She said. Aviation career After that visit, Amelia worked a variety of jobs to save money for flying lessons. She had her first lesson on January 3rd, 1921. She was the 16th woman in the United States to be issued a pilot's license. She received it on May 15th, 1923. She became a member of the American Aeronautical Society's Boston chapter and was eventually elected its vice president. Moreover, she also flew the first official flight out of Dennison Airport in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1927. Around the same time, Earhart also wrote local newspaper columns about flying. Her first flight across the Atlantic was on June 17th, 1928. She flew as the third member of a crew. Amelia was not happy with that flight as she stated later that her job was minimal. Her solo transatlantic flight On May 20th, 1932, Earhart set off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, with the intent to fly to Paris in her single engine plane. After a flight that lasted for 14 hours, 56 minutes in which she had to deal with strong northerly winds, icy conditions and mechanical problems, Amelia landed in a field at Culmore, Northern Ireland. When a farmer asked, "Have you flown far?" Earhart replied, "From America". More solo records On January 11th, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first pilot to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. Those were not her only records, between the years 1930 and 1935, Amelia Earhart set seven women's speed and distance aviation records in a variety of aircraft including a solo flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City and a nonstop flight from Mexico City to New York. Her last flight During a long flight intending to circle the globe, Amelia Earhart disappeared somewhere over the Pacific in July 1937. Her disappearance remains one of the greatest mysteries in the world as her plane was never found. Amelia Earhart was officially declared lost at sea. Pioneer and icon During her lifetime, Amelia Earhart was a world renowned international celebrity. Her persistence, courage and goal-oriented career have sustained her fame in popular culture around the globe. Hundreds of articles and books have been written about her life. In addition to being one of the most renowned aviation pioneers, Earhart is also regarded as a feminist icon. Numerous women started to believe that they can in fact excel in what was previously presumed as man jobs thanks to leading pioneers as Amelia Earhart. To learn more about aviation pioneers see also: The first Arab female pilot: Captain Pilot Lotfia Elnadi Miracle on Hudson River: Flight 1549

Historic airports: the oldest international airport in the world

An airport is a place in where airplanes start and end their flights. It offers takeoff and landing runways in addition to many extensive facilities and services. Nowadays international airports are considered the main gate to almost all countries. If we look back though, what is the oldest international airport in the world? When was it built? And is still in operation? Let’s take a look at the five oldest international airports in the world. 1- College Park Airport, USA Popularly known as the ‘cradle of aviation’, this airport was established in 1909. It was founded to serve as an airport for the first government owned airplane in the United States, as well as a training location for the first pilots. Wilbur Wright was the first person to use this airport to train two military officers in the US Army how to fly the first American airplane. The airport extends over 28 hectares and features one 2,600 foot long runway. However it can provide parking space for around 100 airplanes. In 1911, civilian aircraft began flying from College Park Airport, making it the oldest international airport in the world. In 1977, the airport was added to the National Register of Historic Places. A museum was added to the airport in 1981, it features aviation exhibits and houses lectures and workshops. 2- Hamburg Airport, Germany Established in 1911, Hamburg is the oldest international airport in the world that still operates today. This historical airport underwent extensive renovation between 2001 and 2009 to become one of the most modern airports in Germany. The original facility only covered 440,000 square meters, now though, the airport expands over 5.7 square kilometers. It features two runways, both capable of handling an Airbus A380 which is the largest airplane in the world. 3- Aurel Vlaicu Airport, Romania In 1909, French pilot and aviation pioneer Louis Blériot carried out the first flights in this airport. This makes this airport the oldest international airport in Europe. The terminal building was opened in 1952. Featuring a central dome with three distinct wings which represents an airplane propeller with three blades, the building is considered as one of the finest architectural features of Bucharest and one of its key landmarks. Currently though, due to lack of expansion area, the airport only serves as a business airport for chartered air flights and private jets. 4- Rome Ciampino Airport, Italy Established in 1916, Ciampino Airport is one of the oldest international airports still in operation. This airport was Rome's main airport until 1961 when Leonardo da Vinci Airport was opened. The airport underwent extensive renovation in 2007 and the terminal facilities were extended. Now it serves as the main airport for low cost carriers. And because of the fast growth in low cost aviation, the airport is now one of the busiest in Italy in term of passenger capacity. 5- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands AMS hosted its first civilian aircraft in 1920; nonetheless, it was founded in 1916 as a military airport; which makes it one of the oldest airports still in operation in the world. Not only is this airport still in operation, but it also is the main airport for the Netherlands and one of the busiest airports in Europe by passenger movement. For more about airports see also: The largest airport in the world: Middle Eastern airports that set records The most impressive airport runways around the world

Dangerous runways: the most dangerous airports to land in

Flying around the world is a fun activity, for passengers as well as pilots. But are all airports fun for pilots? Or do some pilots find dangerous runways challenging? Some airports comprise very dangerous runways, so much so that only experienced pilots are allowed to land there. This is usually not a choice, but a necessity. Sometimes natural elements around the airport do not allow for building a standard runway, so an unusual one is built instead. Let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous runways in the world. Lukla Airport, Nepal Also known as Tenzing–Hillary Airport, Lukla Airport has been rated as the most dangerous airport to land in for almost 20 years. This airport is where people start the climb to Mount Everest Base Camp. Daily flights between Lukla and Kathmandu are available, but the catch is that planes only fly during daylight hours when weather permits. Even though the flying distance is short, there are high chances of rain, clouds and high winds because the airport lies in a very high location between mountains. The significant low visibility due to weather elements often mean delayed flights, the airport gets closed a lot for the same reasons as well. The airport comprises one 527 meter runway. This single runway is book-ended by a mountain and a drop. Because of all these extreme circumstances, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has set some requirements for landing in the airport. To land in the airport pilots must be: Experienced, completed at least 100 short-takeoff-and-landing (STOL) missions. Have over one year of STOL experience in Nepal. Completed ten missions into Lukla with a certified instructor pilot. Courchevel Airport, France A 525 meter runway that has a downward gradient of 18.5% and is surrounded by high mountains and low valleys, this is definitely one of the most dangerous runways in the world. This small airport is nestled in a quaint French town amidst the Alps. The runway has no instrument approach procedure or lighting aids, which makes landing in anything but perfect weather absolutely impossible. Furthermore, often times aircraft take off from the edge of the cliff as the runway is too short to gain enough speed for takeoff. Paro Airport, Bhutan Located in a deep valley on the bank of the river Paro Chhu, and surrounded by peaks as high as 5,500 meters, Paro Airport is considered one of the most dangerous airports to land in. Flights to and from the airport are only allowed during daylight hours, and under extreme supervision. As this airport, which lies amidst the Himalayan Mountains, comprises one of the most dangerous runways in the world, only a few experienced pilots with specialized training are allowed to land there. Toncontin Airport, Honduras Rated as one of the most dangerous airports to land in, Toncontin Airport is located near a mountainous terrain and comprises a very short runway. In 2009 however, work has been done to increase the length of the runway. Unfortunately though, nothing can be done to the difficult weather conditions as the airport is situated at an elevation of 1,005 meters. Gibraltar International Airport, Gibraltar The main road in the city, Winston Churchill Avenue, has to be closed every time a plane lands or departs as it intersects with the airport runway. In addition to that, the location of the airport makes it exposed to strong cross winds and makes landing in bad weather very difficult if not impossible. Both reasons make this one of the most challenging runways in the world. For more about airport runways see also: The most impressive airport runways around the world

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