US aircraft experience 65,000 incidences of moderate to severe turbulence each year. Turbulence-related injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to fractures, broken bones, and serious spinal and head injuries. A flight attendant workers’ compensation attorney commonly sees flight attendants with serious injuries sustained in turbulent flights.
The Dangers of Turbulence?
Turbulence results when the wind’s energy interacts with an aircraft. It’s caused by basic weather conditions compounded by rain, lightning and surrounding terrain. When turbulent energy hits the plane, it can move up to 6,000 feet up and down in the air, quickly throwing passengers and crew members into the ceiling of the aircraft. Flight attendants who are thrown during turbulent flights account for many neck, back and spinal injuries, as well as serious head trauma often seen by a flight attendant workers’ compensation attorney.
Sophisticated aircraft controls usually detect turbulence in the flight path, so passengers are given adequate warning to buckle up. However, if sudden turbulence occurs without warning, passengers and flight attendants can sustain serious injuries. According to FAA statistics, an estimated 4,500 turbulence-related injuries occur from luggage that’s improperly secured. In moderate or severe turbulence, luggage, carry-on bags and laptop computers are often ejected.
Accidents and injuries caused by aircraft turbulence cost the airline industry approximately $200 million each year. Of this amount, approximately $35 million is spent on passenger and flight crew injuries. According to the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), reports reveal negligence in many of the flights where turbulence caused injuries.
Delta Releases a New Turbulence App
In 2016, Delta Airlines released a new mobile app to help decrease the number of turbulence-related injuries on aircraft. The Flight Weather Viewer app allows pilots to see accurate turbulence reports from other aircraft in the vicinity. The new app provides turbulence forecasts and weather reports at a faster rate than air tower updates. The Flight Weather Viewer app offers pilots specific turbulence forecasts based on nearby aircraft reports rather than general weather reports, an important variable in estimating the impact of turbulence to prevent injuries to passengers and crew members.
According to the FAA, the new Delta app is a success. Pilots state that fast, accurate information on turbulent conditions can help to prevent turbulence-related injuries often seen by a flight attendant workers’ compensation attorney. NASA’s Aviation Safety Program is now working on future apps that can also detect hail, lightning and volcanic ash.