Ask the Captain: Which airport is toughest for night landings? Can aircraft avoid turbulence?

Which is the most confusing airport to land at during the night?

– Phil                            

I do not have a single airport that sticks in my mind as “the most confusing.” Boston is challenging due to the number of runway crossing location with multiple taxiways flowing into intersections. Chicago O’Hare can be challenging due to the size and complexity of the terminal ramp areas and number of runways.  

With modern moving map displays, taxiing on large airports is much easier than it was in the past. 

Can a passenger aircraft avoid turbulence? Is there any early warning system for turbulence?

– Sal

Aircraft do avoid turbulence. Pilots get reports for other aircraft, then modify their route and use meteorologists to avoid forecast areas of turbulence. 

There are some experimental technologies that are being tested to detect turbulence, but they are not proven yet. 

Turbulence can be unexpected, particularly clear-air turbulence. It is important to keep your seat belt fastened when in your seat. Most passenger injuries occur when encountering unexpected turbulence without their seat belt being fastened.  

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