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Avoiding air turbulence may soon get easier

A new partnership between IBM's Weather Company and Gogo looks to change that situation to help improve airline safety. Pilots flying aircraft equipped with Gogo inflight technology will now get air turbulence alerts in real-time. ( More...

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David Barnes 17
Mr. Hartmann,

I initially remained silent in the face of your pompous reply of Tuesday morning, but at this point I have to reply. You've continued to impugn me, belittle me (as you have countless others) and generally make these boards a less than pleasant venue to peruse.

To answer your question regarding my resume (not that you have a right to know), I'm intimately familiar with Part 121 operations, as my career has taken me to the aircraft engineering functions of two different (and both well known) Part 121 carriers. I've worked on major alterations to at least four fleets of aircraft over my career, totaling almost 400 planes. I've been sent to troubleshoot countless aircraft, supported multiple NTSB investigations into incidents (thankfully, with no fatalities), and been involved in several rapid response fleet campaigns.

I'm not the mere ignorant "enthusiast" that you have previously painted me to be. I'm deeply familiar with the technical operations side of Part 121 carriers and with the specifics of how the aircraft operates and how it breaks.

Unfortunately, in this case, GoGo, despite my employer being a longstanding customer, has not graced me with detailed technical schematics for the proposed system. The information I presented was gleaned from the available publications on the subject which were, in turn, likely developed from press releases from Gogo and The Weather Channel.

The technical details of this system would hardly be of little value to me and would far from bore me. I peruse NTSB (and other investigatory agency) reports as recreational reading. I skim schematics over my lunch break. I find all aspects of the airline, aviation, and aerospace industries fascinating.

Joel Wiley has suggested that your piqued curiosity (or whetted appetite) would drive you to research further the design of the system, as it did for me, and to share your findings. This curiosity is what drove me to find the WSJ article which provided a bit more detail. Instead, you suggest that you're too cool for school, too good to do a bit of your own research, and too arrogant to share information you might've learned.

Frankly, I'm done dealing with you, and will likely leave you alone to rant in your corner going forward. Your arrogance and pomposity, once amusing, are now neither a charming affectation nor endearing in the same manner as the crazy uncle. I'll gladly share what expertise I have, what knowledge I've gained, and what observations I've made, both inside my career (when possible) and as a passenger. But as for you and your posts, I've determined you add no value to my experience on FlightAware and won't consider a reply from this point onward.

Good day, Sir.
mariofer 10
Well said David. And a wonderful use of the English language, something seldom seen these days and something that as an immigrant to this great country, I can only dream of having one day. I have to side with 30west when he says you are a great mentor to those around you and I must adventure to say not only on the aeronautics field. Stay well Sir.

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mariofer 11
Peter, is this a forum where people can express opinions or is this a court of law and we are under subpoena?

I am inclined to believe it is the first one. Having established this, I will proceed to explain my opinion, without the unnecessary shouting (CAPS) your posts seem to require.

After reading Mr. Barnes comments, I came to the conclusion that it was interesting reading, regardless if it is right or wrong. After reading his response to you, I thought that his eloquence was quite remarkable and I commended that accordingly. This is regardless of whether I know how to interpret an article or can tell the difference between an 747-800 and a dishwasher.

Now that I have presented to you the explanation of my opinion, which may I remind you, although you should know being an Attorney, it is my right, and as long I don't violate any rules on this forum, perfectly acceptable, I think that in a world with all the problems we have, pursuing such an elaborate and vindictive campaign against a post, just be cause you disagree, is immature and sad. Someone of your professional caliber should be above this. It doesn't seem to be the case here.

Have a wonderful day.
Robert Vik 6
I am merely one of those enthusiasts to whom you refer. I really enjoy the information that folks post in these forums. I rarely comment. Having said that, and in language less elegant than your own, Mr. Barnes, I would have to say that Peter Hartman is an ass.

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30west 9
David, very well said!

I think you articulated the core of the problem with the crazy uncle in a calm, non-ranting summary in your last few paragraphs and agree with you 100%. Also, I respect your years of experience in aviation, and in particular, your curiosity to study, research, learn and then share your knowledge. My guess is that you are/were a great mentor to those whom you work(ed) with.
Joao Ponces 2
Avoiding Air Turbulence could be done even now, and most often it is not for ECONOMICAL reasons or others even more stupid. Of course, any technology that would enhance the existing capacities of the Airlines is most welcome.
But before, proper Pilots training, and above all guidelines to provide turbulence avoidance will be most important.
I have flown with 100's of different Airlines and 1000's of Pilots. Some do try to avoid turbulence and try to minimize it when it occurs (I hope you don't need to tall me how...) while other do nothing at all. And amazingly some of the most famous Airlines like Singapore, are the worst! They are money making machines! For them, Passengers comfort translates to food and films onboard...

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Joao Ponces 1
Sorry, I thought I gave all the answers before... More would be to write a book.
Let me just say, you can easily identify the Airlines who are concerned for the passengers well being, and the ones that are concerned of making money!
And sometimes, it depends on the individual Captain, the respect for the Passengers...

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Joao Ponces 5
Without going into much details to be quick, to avoid turbulence Pilots just have to do what many do, it their Airlines train them to, or even allow!
1st: Choose the ROUTE with know less Turbulence! I'm sure you have heard or PIREPS? among other things.
2nd; avoid entering Clouds or Zones between Fronts, etc, know for Turb.
3dr, If Turb. is encountered, take measures: 1st Climb or descent to areas know for less activity.
2nd, reduce speed!
Any proper Pilot knows or should know these.
How their actions are or can be limited by the Airlines, is a total whole different issue!
MONEY, nothing else... Together with a total disrespect to passengers, that sometimes cost lives...
Pa Thomas 2
Another in a long series of "devices to avoid turbulence".
Northwest Airlines used to have a meteorology center that would publish a "turbulence plot" for each flight giving the areas where turbulence was expected, and the crews faithfully used it. The saying was "follow the red tail for smooth air" and I used to hear all the gyrations the crew used to go through to find the smooth stuff........all gone now.
WhiteKnight77 1
When was this? I happened to be on a Northwest flight from Kadena AB on Okinawa to the US when we hit bad turbulence over Japan back in the 80s. While everyone else was screaming, I was whooping it up as to me, it was no worse than a roller coaster ride, even though we were possibly dropping hundreds of feet.

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joel wiley 7
My error.
When you said your appetite was whetted for more info, I inferred that since you were interested you would pursue research to gain information yourself rather than waiting for someone to pop it up for you, and, to further the knowledge-base on the boards you would share such information. I guess I was projecting my own reactions when my appetite is whetted. I see that what I inferred is not what you implied.

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James Carlson 4
A GoGo system for your Lake Amphib would likely start at around $600K (based on the scant install information I was able to find on the web). I suspect they're interested more in the private jet market than in those of us who stay below the 500mb level.

As for the rest of your "randomly quoted" and UNNECESSARILY SHOUTED insults, well, I think you should be ashamed. If that were possible.

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James Carlson 3
GoGo's system provides Internet access using EVDO to a network of ground stations. That's their primary business -- communications. They're on the web at, if you're really interested in learning more about them.

Needless to say, non-aviation-specific news sources (especially sketchy ones like CNN and WSJ) are less than perfectly informative. That doesn't mean that demanding clarification out of other commenters here is a useful thing to do.

No, you do not understand me correctly. Your incessant badgering of other people for being mere aviation enthusiasts -- what you idiosyncratically call "flyers" -- rather than real pilots is what I find both insulting and disgusting. For what it's worth, I'm an active pilot, instrument rated and current, and ground instructor. But I don't go around trying to separate the world into classes of people.

Your questions always seem to include denigrating comments about other posters. Why is that?

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David Barnes 6
Mr. Hartmann: To whom are you speaking? Neither the author of the article, the person who posted the article, nor any other commenter at this time in this thread is named, or has signed their post "Bo".

That said, there's a bit more detail in the WSJ article:

It appears from the Journal that aircraft will be equipped with sensors to measure turbulence, computers to characterize and report the data, and then ground-based servers to send appropriate alerts to other nearby aircraft. It's substantially no different than existing PiRep data, but is automated and less subjective. With increasingly glassed cockpits, the data sent by this system through GoGo's internet service will likely (and I'm speculating here) be pushed to any of a number of screens at the crew's disposal, be it tablet or panel display.

Unfortunately, this system still requires one unlucky pilot/airplane to go through the turbulence to generate the data.
James Carlson 3
Indeed; it read like a system to automate the usual ride reports given on center frequencies all day long. It looks like after-the-fact detection of turbulence (should be easy with MEMS) and automated transmission of those reports.

I've read about experiments using LIDAR to detect turbulence ahead of the aircraft, but the article didn't mention that, and it doesn't sound like that's what they're doing.

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joel wiley 5
Now that your appetite for more info is whetted, when can we expect you to share the fruits of your research and help us learn more?

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James Carlson 2
No, that's not a correct analogy at all. The primary factor in the response of different aircraft to turbulence is wing loading, not speed. Here's one decent discussion of the topic:

That's the reason why aircraft type is critical when reporting turbulence. Something reported as "TB MOD" by a 172 might well be complete unnoticed by a 747. The fact that the 747 is going faster doesn't at all make it more susceptible to turbulence. The fact that its wing loading is over 10 times greater makes it _less_ susceptible.

It's also critical to understand this difference when you're reading PIREPs.

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James Carlson 1
You're conflating two different things.

The response of an aircraft to turbulence is determined by design aspects, such as wing loading.

The speed of a given aircraft does affect its behavior with respect to turbulence. And, yes, slowing down is critical -- below the weight-dependent Va -- to avoid structural damage. (Basically, you want to be at or below a speed where the lift surfaces will stall before breaking off.)

The point is that noting that one aircraft goes 4x the speed of another tells you exactly nothing about how they both behave.

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wingbolt 3

Quit while you are ahead. This guy can't possibly respond without degrading someone. I can't even read the threads anymore because it takes too much time down voting his comments.
James Carlson 4
I understand the sentiment. What prompted me in this case was that certificated pilot (and frequent haranguer) doling out poor quality aeronautical information. It made the instructor in me upset. ;-}

I'm not sure what to make of him. He's not quite a garden variety troll. Maybe there's hope that one day he can treat others more humanely. Or maybe I'm being too idealistic again.
wingbolt 4
I have been flying for more years than I would like to admit. His type is those damn zombies. They roam the earth and suck the life out of everyone they come in contact with.

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wingbolt 6


General Anthony McAuliffe
Division Commander
101st Airborne Division
Bastogne, Belgium

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