The incident occurred at an altitude of 34,000 feet about halfway into the flight. The plane was on a flight from the western city of Guadalajara to the border city of Tijuana late Wednesday. After incident, it continued on to Tijuana, where paramedics were waiting. Aviation authorities in Mexico described the turbulence as “moderate.” Turbulence is normal. Airplanes encounter turbulence because they are moving under their own power against the atmosphere. In such situations, plane dips suddenly and unexpectedly. Airplanes are designed to withstand massive turbulence. The pilots are ready for it.
Hot air balloons rarely if ever encounter turbulence because they are going with the wind, not pushing against it. The Federal Aviation Administration says approximately 58 fliers are injured by turbulence each year in the US, but considering around eight million people fly every day, injury is actually pretty rare. As the planet heats up due to global warming, some scientists believe that turbulence will become more common and stronger. Some American Airlines planes and United’s 787 Dreamliner come outfitted with sensors that better predict invisible rough air, theoretically letting pilots avoid it all together.