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Home > Fear of Flying > The plane SUDDENLY started shaking uncontrollably… Please help!
The plane SUDDENLY started shaking uncontrollably… Please help!
Flying - Fear of Flying
Sunday, 24 March 2013 08:31

Fear of Flying Video

Hi Capt Lim,

Not sure if you are still answering questions. I was never afraid of flying until I had a horrible experience on my way back from Turkey.

During a smooth ride the plane SUDDENLY started shaking uncontrollably and people were even screaming. We were going left to right and it felt like the plane is about to flip over (yes it CAN happen I've seen it on an airplane investigation episode).

What was even more scary was that the pilot couldn't even talk to us he simply informed the crew to get to their seats because it is an "emergency". This stopped after around 10 minutes!!

What went wrong?? Could we have died??

Now I have a flight in a few days and I'm sick of thinking about it and crying all the time. I can't even sleep at night because I'm so scared of going.

Any advice please?


Hi Nour,

Normally when I am busy, I would not answer repeated questions such as yours listed under Fear of Flying or Air Turbulence topics  here  and here

Apparently what happened was that the captain of your flight must have inadvertently entered a route at the edge or between cumulonimbus (where thunder storms are found!) clouds. Normally such clouds are rather obvious on the radar screen. Perhaps his radar tilt was not properly selected to pick up the red or ‘danger spots’. Hence he was ‘trapped’ inside for about 10 minutes and exited the clouds after that.

Most modern planes would not flip nor crash inside such a thunderstorm (possibly with the exception of  Air France 447 - another story) For instance, the developer of the Airbus plane would not allow it to bank more than 67 degrees on a normal flight. That would prevent the plane from flipping!

Furthermore, planes can generally withstand turbulence very well and not break apart. During the development phase, the wings are subjected to very strong forces to see how much load they could take. For example, on the Boeing 777, the engineers were very happy to see that the wings only broke at the predicted force (after the wings were bent more than 24 feet from normal position!) See here.

Follow the instructions of the crew. Keep your seat belts on. You are safe! Knowledge is power to overcome your fear of flying!

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim

Ultimate Wing Loading Test


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Question for my college business class...
Questions for Experts/Forums

1. In your opinion, what are the top causes of aircraft tire wear?

2. What have been some proposed solutions to this problem?

3. Is it likely that the aircraft companies would like something to decrease this wear?

4. In your opinion, if the wheels were spinning at the same speed as the ground on approach and upon contact, the amount of wear on the tire would be substantially decreased?

Thank you for your thoughts...
Harper Allan , 09 Apr, 2013
I appreciate the strength of a new wing on this test. What about one that has been re-conditioned or in use for more than 5 or 8 years?
william r. smith , 22 Aug, 2013

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