Ever Hit Wake Turbulence? I Just Did And You Don’t Want To


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Wake turbulence is caused when turbulence is created behind a plane as it passes through the air.

The pilot came on the loud speaker tonight and said something like “ladies and gentlemen, we just hit an unexpected patch of wake turbulence, everything is fine.” It didn’t exactly calm my nerves after what just happened.

Moments before during drink service, the plane violently jolted left, and then back to the right. The flight attendant in the back was shaken enough to cause the forward cabin flight attendant to run back and check on her. The one in the forward cabin was safe because she had managed to grab the handle on the overhead bins.

All I can say is it was the first or second scariest turbulence I’ve ever experienced. The other was a Bahamas Air flight from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport back in the early 2000’s. That plane dropped like a roller coaster for what felt like a good 10 – 15 seconds.

Either way, I wanted to see if you’ve ever had experience with wake turbulence. Who were you flying and what happened?

This was my first experience with wake turbulence and I hope it is my last.

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. I was on a Continental 757 flying from EWR-LAS back in 2005, and the plane jolted violently and suddenly. Pilot came on and made a similar announcement, but this was at 37,000 feet and in the middle of very smooth air, so it was jarring nonetheless.

  2. We were on a Delta Connection ATR from LBB to DFW (tells you how long ago it was) and encountered a bit of wake turbulence on approach to Dallas. The ATR rolled wing up, wing down about three times. Remember looking straight down at the ground and thinking that we probably had enough altitude for the pilot to recover….Needless to say everyone got very, very quiet until we touched down.

  3. That sounds really scary. I’ve never encountered it (yet) and I’m glad everyone’s safe.

  4. I’ve been in a small Cessna that hit some wake turbulence near SFO. Dropped over a thousand feet in seconds. Not a lot of fun, but it was over almost as soon as it started.

  5. Just experienced what I think is wake turbulence last week flying EK from Kuwait to DXB.

    10 mins into take off, with smooth climbing, all of a sudden a violent shake ripples through the plane like a car blowing a tire on a road. Seatbelts sign beeps and light up, followed by a a relatively violent climb up for what felt like 10-12 seconds.

    Moments letter smooth flight and slow decent back to where I guess we climbed from. No announcements made but I was thinking must have been a result of wake turbulence.

  6. Yep, that was the worst I ever experiecned, way back when 757’s were kinda new, I was on an AA MD88 behind a 757 that had just taken off. The wake forced the nose down toward the ground, for what felt like an eternity. You could feel the engines trying to point the nose back up and not succeeding. Like yours it probably lasted 10-15 seconds but I knew it was bad. Pilot gave us that same speech “we were never in any real trouble”, but shortly after that the FAA issued new guidelines about distance behind the 757’s……. their wake was no match for the smaller

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