It’s every frequent flyer’s nightmare. Turbulence can severely disrupt an airplane journey, and in some cases cause passengers quite a scare. But an Austrian company has come up with a technology that could radically change all that.
An impressive device
Turbulence Solutions claims to have designed a system that will virtually eliminate this inconvenience. How does it work? In concrete terms, a computer linked to a probe placed on the aircraft’s wing is able to detect turbulence. This data is then screened by a “turbulence suppression program”, which is able to adjust the aircraft’s control surfaces to counteract turbulence in a matter of milliseconds.
A major question remains: won’t this system hinder the pilot? The answer is no, according to the company, which claims that the device can be cancelled at any time and does not interfere with flight controls.
The Austrian company points out that its innovation reduces the turbulence felt by passengers by a considerable 80%. But don’t get too carried away. As our colleagues at TheDrive.com rightly point out, there’s a difference between successful demonstration flights and large-scale deployment of such technology. This stage is likely to take several more years.
Turbulence amplified by climate change
All the same, this is an impressive and promising development. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers will certainly be watching this device closely, especially as turbulence is likely to be amplified by climate change.
In a study published this year, scientists from Reading University in the UK found that turbulence has increased by 50% in 40 years. Their duration is also expected to increase. According to France Info, if today’s average Paris-New York commuter experiences ten minutes of turbulence, this could rise to between 20 and 30 minutes by 2050.
Our colleagues explain that global warming is to blame. Indeed, “turbulence occurs when two air currents of different speed, heat and direction meet”, explains the public media.