What is TURB on Boeing 737? (Turbulence)

Turbulence is a natural and common phenomenon that occurs during aircraft flights. It refers to the sudden and unpredictable changes in air movement, which can create disturbances for passengers and crew on board. Turbulence is denoted by the abbreviation TURB, and it can occur at any altitude, but it is most common during cruising altitude. In this article, we will explore the different types of turbulence that can be experienced on the Boeing 737 aircraft and how they impact the flight experience.

Understanding the Types of Turbulence

There are several types of turbulence that can affect an aircraft, each with its own characteristics and causes. Understanding these types can help us better grasp the challenges faced by pilots and the precautions taken to ensure a safe flight experience. Let’s take a closer look at three common types of turbulence:

1. Clear Air Turbulence (CAT)

Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) is the most common type of turbulence encountered during flights. Unlike other forms of turbulence, CAT occurs in clear skies without any visible indication of its presence. It is caused by strong wind shears and varying horizontal air currents at high altitudes.

The Boeing 737 is equipped with advanced weather radar systems to detect CAT ahead of time, allowing pilots to make the necessary adjustments to minimize its impact on the aircraft and passengers. Despite its unpredictability, CAT is usually not a cause for concern as modern aircraft are designed to withstand and safely navigate through this type of turbulence.

2. Convective Turbulence

Convective Turbulence is often associated with thunderstorms and is caused by the instability of the air masses within these weather systems. Thunderstorms are characterized by strong updrafts and downdrafts, which can create severe turbulence. Convective turbulence is a particular concern during takeoff and landing when the aircraft is closer to the ground.

On the Boeing 737, pilots rely on weather forecasts and on-board weather radar to identify areas of potential convective turbulence. By avoiding these areas or adjusting their flight path, pilots can ensure a smoother and safer journey for everyone on board.

3. Wake Turbulence

Wake Turbulence is created by the vortices of air that trail behind an aircraft as it passes through the sky. These vortices can be particularly hazardous for smaller aircraft following closely behind larger ones, such as the Boeing 737. Wake turbulence is more likely to occur during takeoff and landing, as the aircraft is flying at lower speeds.

To mitigate the risk of wake turbulence, air traffic control ensures that a safe separation distance is maintained between aircraft. The Boeing 737’s flight control systems also include wake turbulence warning systems to alert pilots if they are at risk of encountering wake turbulence from nearby aircraft.

Turbulence and Passenger Safety

While turbulence can be unsettling for passengers, it is essential to understand that it is a normal part of air travel. Modern aircraft, including the Boeing 737, are engineered to withstand turbulent conditions without compromising passenger safety. The structural integrity, stability, and design of the aircraft are rigorously tested and certified, ensuring that it can endure even the most severe forms of turbulence.

Passengers can further enhance their safety and comfort during turbulence by following a few simple guidelines:

1. Keep your seatbelt fastened at all times, even when the seatbelt sign is turned off. This will prevent you from being thrown around in the event of unexpected turbulence.

2. Listen to and follow the instructions of the flight attendants. They are trained to deal with turbulence and will provide guidance on staying safe during these moments.

3. Avoid standing or moving around the cabin during turbulence. The confined space can make it difficult to maintain balance, increasing the risk of injuries.

By adhering to these simple guidelines, passengers can minimize potential risks associated with turbulence and enjoy a safer and more comfortable flight experience on the Boeing 737.


Turbulence is a regular occurrence during aircraft flights, and the Boeing 737 is no exception. However, it is important to remember that turbulence does not pose a threat to the safety of the aircraft or its passengers. Pilots are well-trained in handling various forms of turbulence and are equipped with advanced systems to mitigate their effects.

By understanding the different types of turbulence, passengers can have peace of mind knowing that they are in safe hands when flying on a Boeing 737. Following the guidelines provided by the airline and flight attendants can further enhance the overall safety and comfort of the journey. So, the next time you experience turbulence during a flight, rest assured that it is just a normal part of the aviation experience.

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