Are the effects created by turbulence on the aircraft different when the aircraft is banking or in level flight? By logic I'd say yes but I would like some technical and practical explanation.

When in level flight I can imagine that the aircraft is moved laterally or vertically. What happens when these forces are applied from turbulence when banking?

What are the consequences of turbulence having the aircraft banked, for example, on the lift produced by the wings?

  • $\begingroup$ wake turbulence can introduce a roll when you are more in one side if the double wake vortex $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2014 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


Turbulence affects aircraft in the same way whether it is banked or not. The difference however would be the end result of the turbulence.

For example, if an aircraft were to encounter turbulence strong enough to roll the aircraft 20 degrees to the right, the end results would be a 20 degree bank if starting from level, but 45 degrees of bank if they were already in a 25 degree banked turn. If this were to happen it puts them closer to their stall speed because of the higher bank angle, and if they were already going slow and the airplane is at a low altitude, it could be a problem.

Fortunately, most turbulence strong enough to cause this while at low altitude is caused by the wake turbulence of other aircraft or microbursts, and we have pretty good procedures in place to keep it from being a problem these days. If they aren't at a low altitude it matters even less because there is altitude for the aircraft to recover even if it does get into an unusual attitude.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just to elaborate on this, when a plane is banked, part of its lift is used to provide the horizontal force necessary to turn. This means the plane need to generate more lift to maintain altitude. This puts more load on the wings, potentially putting the plane closer to it's design limits. The addition of turbulence could potentially cause a problem, but in truth, a bank needs to be extremely aggressive to cause significant wing loading. All of this would only come in to play in much more severe turbulence than you'd ever want to encounter. $\endgroup$
    – Zack Bloom
    Mar 19, 2014 at 21:11

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