See what happens when the human body takes flight in turbulence

ByAmy Freeze, Jamie Nguyen & John Sprei via WABC logo
Monday, December 19, 2016
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Cool video showing the science behind turbulence

YONKERS, Westchester County (WABC) -- People are taking off Thanksgiving week. It is the busiest time for air travel and winter weather can also be prime time for shaky flights.

More than 6 percent of Americans are so afraid of flying that they will not even get on an airplane to travel, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

***MUST SEE VIDEO: Click to see Amy Freeze in flight at a skydiving facility***

The best way to understand flight is to get airborne. Amy Freeze got the chance to take flight at iFly in Yonkers, New York, for a better understanding of turbulence.

Turbulence is actually air pressure change that makes the chaotic motions of air.

Amy's body is suspended in air because of forces like lift, thrust and drag. These pressures created in the atmosphere can alter those motions.

In a simulation, champion skydiver Nico Gonzalez says understanding the science helps you control flight stability when changes happen.

He explains,"It's a constant relationship between how much wind you have and what your body position is. So if somebody wanted to turn, they would just have to change their body position to spill the wind a certain way."

At 30,000 feet, the variations in jetstream, like weather fronts and thunderstorms create the updrafts and downdrafts that cause the plane to shake. Even going over mountains can cause the bumps in flight.

Airplanes are designed to interact with the turbulence, similar to how Gonzalez mastered his body in flight.

***CLICK HERE for turbulence forecast***

He says his body position has to change to accommodate. It's all body position and wind speed combined.

Airplanes react and adjust with it... just like slight movements of my hands and arms can change my flight.

The same is true for a pilot at the controls.

Elevation and wing position can be adjusted, but predicting the turbulence is tough at 30,000 feet. Weather information collected in forecasts is sent to pilots, but it's impossible to avoid it completely.

That's why it's best to keep the seatbelt on, especially when flying thru the air at 500 mph.