Flights see plane passengers put a lot of faith in both the aircraft and the pilots manning the controls. Weather and the world outside the plane cannot be controlled by either – which can spark anxiety for some. Turbulence can be very worrying, with some fliers fearing it could see the plane falling out of the sky altogether.
“They can’t always help it – nervous flyers especially – but the altitudes, speeds and angles are perceived to be far more severe than they really are.
“During turbulence, people sense that an airplane is dropping hundreds of feet at a time, when in reality, the displacement is seldom more than ten or twenty feet – barely a twitch on the altimeter.
“It’s similar with angles of bank and climb. A typical turn is made at around fifteen degreed, and a steep one might be twenty-five.
“The sharpest climb is about twenty degrees nose-up, and even a rapid ascent is no more severe than five degrees – that’s right – nose down.”
Smith appreciated that plane passengers can find this very difficult to believe.
“I anticipate your letters,” he said, “you will tell me that I’m lying and how the plane you were on was definitely climbing at forty-five degrees, and definitely banking at sixty, and how you definitely saw people through the windows.
“And you’re definitely wrong. Sorry to sounds so bossy and I wish that I could take you into a cockpit and demonstrate.
“I’d show you what a forty-five-degree climb actually looks like, turning you green in the face.
“Or how, in a sixty-degree tun, the G forces would be so strong that you’d hardly be able to lift your legs off the floor.”
Turbulence is caused by different masses of air colliding at different speeds and directions.
And, according to a pilot, turbulence should never concern plane passengers at all.
“In all honesty, passengers should never worry about turbulence,” the aviator told Express.co.uk.