I know the pilots are required to report turbulence experienced in the aircraft via PIREPs. The data for turbulence with lat,long,alt and the severity is available. I am wondering if the PIREPs are somehow used to modify operations? Or do pilots of other aircraft that will fly through the same region in the future just look out for it without any rerouting?

Also, are there any heuristics on how long the turbulence reported is likely to linger?


2 Answers 2


Yes, pilots will often modify operations in response to turbulence PIREPs:

  • Turn on fasten seatbelt sign
  • Ask flight attendants to be seated
  • Request a higher or lower altitude where there is less turbulence
  • Reduce speed to turbulence penetration airspeed (aircraft dependent)

Are turbulence PIREPS used by other pilots?

Especially in Class A airspace, pilots and controllers often exchange information on turbulence in the area. When a pilot reports it to ATC, it becomes a PIREP. The controller then uses those PIREPs to advise other aircraft.

How long does the turbulence last?

Turbulence associated with the jet stream can stick around for hours, while turbulence associate with a small thunderstorm may disipate within a few minutes. It depends on what phenomenon it is associated with. Generally pilots and controllers only look at PIREPS from the last 60 minutes.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Av.SE! Very nice 1st answer - please come back often! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the answer. Can you say something about for how long the PIREP information is typically considered valid? Is it for like 10-15 minutes? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @distributedconscious You are welcome! I added some info on how long they are useful. $\endgroup$
    – Orienteer
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 19:20

Some time spent monitoring ARTCC communications will make it clear that aircraft are frequently asking for and receiving ameded clearances altering their altitude and sometimes route in response to PIREPs regarding turbulence. Listen for the words "ride report", "any smoother up higher?". Center controllers often broker these PIREPS, whether or not they are published as UA/UUA's


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