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Old 12-31-2021, 01:13 PM
jcarne's Avatar
jcarne jcarne is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Worland, Wyoming
Posts: 2,173
Question Subjective question on turbulence. When do you personally slow down?

I have been talking to other pilots about turbulence lately and it seems everyone's take on it is slightly different. In our RVs we cruise quite fast which leads to my question. When do you guys personally find it is time to slow down?

I for one am not bothered by good amounts of turbulence and and can take quite a bit. However, passengers don't necessary share the same viewpoint and ultimately I'm curious when it should be considered the prudent thing to do in our RVs. Yes, there are things to avoid to stay clear of the nasty stuff but the bumps are unavoidable at times.

What's your approach?
Jereme Carne
RV-7A Flying as of 03/2021
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Old 12-31-2021, 01:18 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,858

I back off on power/speed when I start getting concerned about bouncing my head off of the canopy. That can be uncomfortable and can damage things. Worst case, it can be incapacitating.
Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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Old 12-31-2021, 01:59 PM is offline
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Battle Ground WA
Posts: 465
Default head bashing

I had this same question put before me a few years back.
My answer was " if you bash your head hard enough on the canopy it will knock some sense into you. That is, You should have been slowing down before the head bashing."
The guy just laughed as I did also.
Have had my head bashed when I wasn't even in turbulence. Them sneaky bumps are out to get you.
I like my head. So I slow down appropriately. NO hard rules here.
My three cents worth and not a penny more.
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Old 12-31-2021, 02:10 PM
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airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,816

From a structural perspective, slow to manuevering speed when you're in turbulence sufficient to approach the G-limits of the airplane.

From a personal comfort perspective, ask a hundred people and get a hundred answers.

Turbulence doesn't bother me until I start bouncing my head off the canopy - then I know I'm about 2 minutes late pulling the power back. On a cross-country I usually cruise high enough that my IAS is pretty close to manuevering speed anyway, and turbulence up there is considerably reduced unless you're in mountain wave. I've had a few exceptions though...
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2022 dues paid
N16GN flying 1,000 hrs and counting on 91E10; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440, G5
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
Pending Repeat Offender - 10 kit is on order. TDI? Turbine? Stay tuned!
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Old 12-31-2021, 02:17 PM
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jcarne jcarne is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Worland, Wyoming
Posts: 2,173

Glad to see I'm not the only one that thinks head bashing is the pull power point. haha

It happened to me once in phase 1 and it was just a random one that day. Since then I always keep my harness fairly tight too. Luckily those Crows are pretty dang comfy.
Jereme Carne
RV-7A Flying as of 03/2021
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Old 12-31-2021, 02:20 PM
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RWoodard RWoodard is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Brighton, Colorado
Posts: 493

My RV-3 cruises much closer to Vne than Va, so I'm pretty aware of turbulence. If it's the standard summer lumpity-bump stuff, I'll press on and slow from maybe 170ktas to around 155ktas. If it's serious, frontal-based stuff where I've cinched my belts down and I'm still concerned about bashing my head, then I'll slow way back to around 130ktas.

Not long after I purchased my RV-3, I followed a very experienced RV-7a pilot to and from Granby (KGNB) airport--over the first big mountains west of the Denver/Boulder area. His policy was to clear the mountains by a wide margin and if the winds at altitude were more than 15 knots in any direction, he slowed to Va until well clear of the mountains. I think this is pretty solid advice.

I got popped really good during the summer of 2020 when I was running high power settings at low altitude to break in a new engine. There was a little "wiggle" of a bump just enough to make me consider starting to slow down and then before I could act on the thought, I really got smacked. Felt like a direct top-to-bottom blow. My head hit the canopy so hard that I actually expected to see cracks in the canopy.

Of course, I'm single-seat, so passenger considerations aren't an issue, but slower speeds sure do make the bumps more tolerable.
Rod Woodard
Brighton, Colorado (CO12)
RV-3 IO-320
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Old 12-31-2021, 02:20 PM
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bkc3921 bkc3921 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: DuBois,Il
Posts: 180
Default Head Bouncing

+1 on getting head-bounced. Did it a couple of years ago in ZERO turbulence, and it almost knocked me out. Luckily I was only 10 from the airport, which I made with a splitting headache. Subsequently, I'm a big believer in 5 point harnesses, which I now keep tight somewhere between uncomfortable and unbearable. If I can move at all, they are too loose for me now. Also (off topic), I never listen to music while flying. I just may miss some important piece of information that may save my bacon later. Too distracting! YMMV.
Brian K. Morrow
N433BC "Muttley" RV-7A Flying
N433BM "Dastardly" RV-12is EMP, FUSE, WINGS, Done...FINISH and POWER PLANT in PROGRESS
Official Repeat Offender
"Maintain thy airspeed...Lest the earth arise and smite thee..."

Last edited by bkc3921 : 12-31-2021 at 02:20 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-31-2021, 02:34 PM
A2022 A2022 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,425
Default mountain leeward wind side

the worst turbulence I have experienced is mountain waves on the leeward wind side 10 to 20 miles down range. it's bad when you're holding the base of both sticks and still banging your head. I give them a wider berth now.
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Old 12-31-2021, 05:49 PM
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plehrke plehrke is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Defiance, MO
Posts: 1,906

If I have trouble pushing button on the panel it is time to slow down.
Based Creve Coeur Airport (1H0)
RV-6A - flying 1000+ hours
Paid dues yearly since 2007

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. óMARK TWAIN
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Old 12-31-2021, 06:01 PM
RV10Pilot RV10Pilot is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Medford, NJ USA
Posts: 519

Our RVs can take more bouncing around than I can. And I agree, slow down before you bang your head on the canopy.

I would be more concerned with your passenger, especially if they don't have many miles under their belt. Look at your passengers to see their reaction and if they have white knuckles slow down or land. Ask if they are ok, suggest "if we slow down it will be smother." or just slow down and spend an extra 10 minutes flying.
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