HONOLULU (KHON2) — Experts say clear air turbulence can happen suddenly and without warning.
“Clear air turbulence is much harder to figure out that it’s coming. There are really advanced ground radars that can pick up changes in wind shear and that type of thing, but most airplanes don’t really have much warning for that type of thing,” said Aviation Expert Peter Forman.
“There was nothing,” said Air Canada flight passenger Anita. “There was no warning and next thing, I’m thrown up into the ceiling where I’ve split open my head.”
But to hit it over this spot of the Pacific Ocean isn’t common.
“In my recollection, this might be the first time we’ve had a report of severe turbulence in this area,” said National Weather Service Senior Forecaster Tim Birchard.
The National Weather Service warns aircraft of any threatening weather. They received the report from the pilot at 4:11 local time this morning.
But right under those white lines which show where the pilot marked the turbulence, is a small cloud.
“A deeper look, you can see there’s one small cloud that pops up just to the southeast of where the turbulence was reported by the pilot. So there’s a potential that that small cloud may have caused the turbulence. The other scenario is its clear air turbulence that’s nearly impossible to detect,” said Birchard.
And the cloud, called a tower cumulus cloud, reached the same height as the plane just before it dissipated.
However, experts say that planes are made to withstand turbulence.
“The airplanes are so well built we don’t have problems with modern jetliners having problems in turbulence,” said Forman.
The NWS also showed a plane which flew the same path just three hours before and reported no turbulence.