'Black box' of ill-fated Singapore Airlines flight shows rapid changes in G-force

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A Singapore Airlines flight that experienced severe turbulence last week plunged 178 feet in less than five seconds, according to preliminary investigations using the plane's black box flight recorder.

According to a history of incidents compiled by Singapore's Ministry of Transport, the National Transportation Safety Board, an investigative body, “rapid” changes in the force of gravity (G) while in the air “may cause injuries to crew and passengers.” be the cause of”. The Federal Aviation Administration, and Boeing, released Wednesday.

Singapore's Ministry of Transport said in a statement that an investigation by Singapore's Transport Safety Investigation Bureau is ongoing.

One person died, possibly of a heart attack, and dozens were injured when Flight SQ321 from London to Singapore encountered sudden severe turbulence over the Irrawaddy basin in Myanmar on May 20. The flight was diverted to land in Bangkok, Thailand.

Some passengers suffered serious spinal and brain injuries, and as of Tuesday 28 people were still receiving medical treatment in Bangkok.

The sudden change in the force of gravity during the 4.6 seconds of flight resulted in a 178-foot drop in altitude from 37,362 feet to 37,184 feet, the bureau said.

Singapore Airlines acknowledged the findings of the initial investigation and said in a statement that the airline was “cooperating fully with the relevant authorities in the ongoing investigation”.

The airline is covering passengers' medical and hospital expenses as well as any additional assistance required. The airline has declined to comment on reports that it handed out envelopes of cash to some passengers.

Turbulence severe enough to disrupt flights or injure passengers is rare, and modern aircraft are designed to handle it without structural damage.

But scientists warn that turbulence is becoming more common as climate change affects weather patterns and Earth's atmosphere.

According to Paul Williams, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Reading, severe clear-air turbulence in the North Atlantic, one of the world's busiest flyways, has increased by 55 percent since 1979.

His predictions show that this type of turbulence, which doesn't show up on weather radar and can strike without warning, will double or triple in some parts of the atmosphere in coming decades.

The Singapore Airlines incident was followed by another incident involving Qatar Airways. On May 27, 12 people were injured in a disturbance during a flight from Doha to Ireland.

Similar to the Singapore Airlines incident, according to passengers, the commotion occurred during meal service and lasted less than 20 seconds. Despite the incident, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – flight QR017 – landed safely and on time just before 1pm local time.

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