In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
(This part is additional to the original post. 29th November)
He now flies A380.
Academically, you have to be good in Mathematics and English, and have good vision (correctable to 20/20) to be a pilot.
"Keep calm and
(and now the original post continues)
Are you afraid of
Well, I am ......
I hate turbulence!
I hate turbulence!
I hate turbulence!
I hate turbulence because of the mind-boggling 'is-it-just-turbulence-or-is-it something-else-so-are-we-going-to-crash' questions alike,
no matter how unreasonable they seem to be.
... and I have no one to blame for that groundless fear and palpitations except for myself.
This fear of flying has reached another level after I have had children.
The questions of:
"Is there something wrong with the plane? Are we going to crash?
"What if I do not survive this crash and the children do?"
"Do they know how to take care of themselves on foreign land, until they reach homeland?"
..... and they were never-ending. Then all the terrible imaginations came in.
Then I checked the FL (flight level). Did the pilot 'climb'? To what FL? To the west : FL is in even numbers (in feet) and vice versa, check the FL again. What was the airspeed? Why wasn't it shown? Haish! Penat fikir...
Then, I started to supplicate again. On board the aeroplane was one of the places that I became 'more religious', reciting supplications every now and then and turned into a very quiet servant, especially when the turbulence got more severe (must exaggerate the story even though the turbulence I had encountered so far was actually mild or moderate and .....errrrr.... I slept most of the time).
- the logic behind air turbulence (crystal clear explanation given, but why am I still afraid of turbulence?),
- the importance in knowing what to do/consider (as pilots, not as passengers) when there is change in airspeed and temperature-icing-deicing-etc with higher altitudes,
- watch videos on commercial aircrafts performing during Air Shows. Awesome. Try watch the '787 stall tests' (this was not during air show but during the test flight by its test pilots) or 'near-vertical take-off' (during an air show) videos,
- read about aircraft crash, the news and everything, down to the transcripts and the analysis/report (Why am I into this? It all started with Flight 447 and I have become nosy about aviation),
- read on a few theories about how aircrafts fly and land and learning a few terms : thrust-drag-lift-weight....... and about how airplanes stall...... and those terrible imaginations reappeared from nowhere.
- the 'language' used eg FL (flight level), ETA (estimated time of arrival), FO (First Officer or co-pilot), charlie bravo (cumulo-nimbus) etc.
- read reviews on people travelling on different types of commercial aeroplanes and the classes/cabins (sambil berangan-angan naik Business class or First class or even the Apartment, ahaha).
- And I watched the movie titled Flightplan. And I wished that I had the knowledge of an aircraft engineer like her (played by Jodie Foster). My-better-half finds it unusual for someone (that is yours truly) who is so-afraid-of-flying but always-look-forward-to-traveling-by-air yet becomes glued to watching TV documentaries about 'Air crash investigations', ironically days before her traveling.
- I have even become an avid (but silent) reader of an online forum discussing on aviation, among the professionals - pilots and engineers (the one important reason why I am being silent is : I am not a professional in aviation so I-better-be-silent).
What have I
The facts are :
If you consider yourself as a good driver who can negotiate bumpy or challenging roads, we must acknowledge that pilots are good pilots too. Pilots do not create/cause the bumpy ride (turbulence). They have to depend on the warnings sent from aircraft flying ahead at the same altitude reporting to the nearest air traffic control. Also, aircrafts have weather radar which can detect turbulence related to clouds (remember the term cumulous-nimbus cloud we learned at school?). This is very useful especially during summer or monsoon season when there are more clouds (I'll try to explain later).
So, when turbulence is encountered, pilots may find ways to avoid moderate or severe turbulence (depending on the colours on the radar); usually by either climbing or sometimes going to a lower altitude, or navigating around it, but they cannot 100% predict or prevent encountering other types of turbulences.
We had flown on the Dreamliner once or twice. IMHO, on board B787 was the best experience compared to A350, A380 and the rest of both Boeing and Airbus fleets and it felt so good, it is a little wonder why the promotional tickets (the type of tickets that we usually bought) are always quickly sold out as compared to other aircrafts for that day. Ticket price is always factor number one for us in choosing flight. Aircraft type is factor number two although admittedly reason number two is always the truest reason, so, at any given opportunity, we would always look for the type of aircraft when doing flight booking.
1 - Convectively Induced Turbulence - weather patterns caused by thunderstorms or the rain/sun as a result from heat being released by condensed water vapours from the clouds causing 'updrafts' or 'downdrafts'. Guided by the airborne weather radar which can detect up to 650nm ahead (and by vision - this is the advantage of flying during daytime), pilots would try to avoid the colour-coded areas of red and yellow, they start manually deviating the aircraft from the intended tract when the area is about 40nm ahead. That 74km (40nm) is further than Ayer Keroh-Seremban exit-exit distance (only 70.5km) on PLUS highway.
By the way, nm is not nano-meter but nautical mile (a unit of measurement used in air or sea travel). 1 nm is more than 1 mile. 650 nm is close to 1200 km. In IVF/Embryoloy, the unit used is always micro-meter.
2 - or when air flows over mountains creating mountain range turbulence which can extend hundreds of kilometres away and still affecting us,
3 - or clear air turbulence (CAT) from jet streams when the colder arctic air meets warm air from the Equator causing sudden/rapid changes of air speed (wind shears),
4 - or wake turbulence caused by the aircraft in front of us (now I know why we have to wait for sometime after the aircraft in front of us takes off or lands or stay at a distance behind an aircraft when cruising. I also know that apparently there is this reporting system on wake turbulence as this prompts investigations by the Civil Aviation Authority). By the way, have you seen the pictures of patterns made by the wake turbulence? Beautiful 'artistic' patterns.
Mountain wave, CAT and wake turbulences cannot be predicted using that weather radar.
Whatever type of turbulence it is,
So, I must always fasten my seatbelt even though the seatbelt sign is not on.
And I must also ensure that my things (usually my laptop and handbag) are secured under the seat in front of me or I hold them etc so that they get thrown and won't hit me when turbulence suddenly becomes more severe. Then I can rest assured that I am safe from physical injury that may be caused by turbulence.
So, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls;
1. We passengers must always listen and follow the instructions when we are asked to;
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to enter an area of turbulence. Please sit down and fasten your seatbelt".
Don't wait until when the cabin member informs;
"..... we will stop serving hot drinks....."
or when the Captain gives firm instruction;
"Cabin crew, please be seated." (add a puctuation mark if you wish to).
Be seated and fasten your seatbelt.
Whenever the seatbelt sign is on, fasten your seatbelt. Don't get off your seat.
Whenever the seatbelt is not on and you are seated (or when you want to go to sleep), fasten your seatbelt too.
Remember, CAT can happen anytime. It is unpredictable and can be chaotic.
Furthermore, there is a team of 2-3 pilots (maybe more) inside that flightdeck (cockpit) and the Captain is there supervising/checking what his FO (First Officer) is doing (unless he went to toilet - as what happened in Germanwings Flight 9525 leaving the cockpit locked from the inside by his suicidal FO, but this was not related to turbulence). Just like the in the OT (Operation Theater), there is always a senior consultant surgeon on standby and will supervise or assist or take over the control from the junior surgeon if any unforeseen problem occurs and help is needed. Like doctors too, unfortunately mistakes sometimes (unintentionally) happened, these should be learning processes and therefore we must learn from those mistakes done by us or by others so that they do not recur and we improvise where necessary. Therefore, I must trust that in avoidance of the turbulence or when mechanical system malfunction happens, the pilots would not repeat the same mistake of making a steep climb to a higher altitude that can cause stalling or misunderstanding the Captain's instruction to "Down, down" or "Climb, climb, climb" or "Pull down" or "Push down" (which refers to bringing down the nose), which led to the tragic unrecovered-stalling and crash of Air France Flight 447 in June 2009 and Air Asia Flight 8501 barely a year ago in December 2015.
Back to my fear or air turbulence;
at least predicting it so that I am more prepared. I don't like surprises and turbulence can happen suddenly without warning. The same when watching movies, to me, it is much more exciting when we know the plot (so I would always google about the plot before watching it).
and on top of those, I shall ...
- have faith that the pilots' supplications are also heard and granted.
" Glory to Him, who has brought this (vehicle) under our control, though we were unable to control it (ourselves), and indeed, to our Lord we will surely return" (Quran 43:13)
For the medical students;
Remember the Virchow's triad in DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).
Remember the 3 categories that can contribute to thrombosis (imagine the blood vessel as a river with sediments and water flowing) :
2. Hemodynamic changes (stasis/turbulence)
3. Endothelial injury/disturbance
Learn about superficial phlebitis and DVT.
Remember the risk factors for DVT (answer based on the above categories)
Kepada yang ingin 'menaiki kapalterbang';
Dari sudut perubatan, ada risiko pembentukan DVT akibat 2 daripada 3 faktor-faktor yang dinyatakan di atas :
1. Hyper-coagulability (darah mudah membeku)
- Pengaruh hormon estrogen dan progesteron yang meningkat sewaktu kehamilan menyebabkan darah 'lebih pekat' dan ketulan darah (thrombus) lebih mudah terbentuk di dinding saurdarah (vena).
2. Stasis (aliran darah tersekat/berhenti)
- Cuma yang kurang betul adalah berpantang minum (dehidrasi memekatkan darah dan boleh menyebabkan pembentukan darah beku).
- Begitu juga dengan berurut. Ia boleh menyebabkan thrombus pada seseorang yang sedang mempunyai DVT terpisah daripada dinding perlekatan salurvena dan dialirkan ke paru-paru sehingga menyebabkan pulmonary embolism. Lebih-lebih lagi sekiranya dia baru sahaja menjalani pembedahan major termasuklah pembedahan Caesarean.
Maka; saya selalunya menasihatkan pesakit-pesakit saya;
Have faith when the Captain tells us;
"....... Just sit back, relax and enjoy this flight."
... and this
"Happy flying, 'uols' !"
Fret no more, flying is by far the safest mode of travel.
(actually, this reassurance is more for me. Why do you think this post is ultra-long?)
'My unfounded fear of turbulence' is now rephrased to 'I still cannot stop hating air turbulence'.
Psssssst... : I hate amusement rides too.
I shall not fear turbulence.
I shall not fear turbulence.
I shall not fear turbulence.
All praise is due to Allah.