Fasten your seatbelt – A15F0165 Severe Turbulence

On 30 December 2015, an Air Canada flight travelling from Shanghai, China to Toronto, Canada encountered severe turbulence.

The animation in the following video does not represent a specific aircraft model. The TSB worked with the National Institute for Aviation Research's (NIAR) Computational Mechanics Lab to develop the animation segments based on a portion of the acceleration data collected by Air Canada flight AC088's flight data recorder. The recorded acceleration forces were used to depict, in a generic aircraft, what effects the forces associated with severe turbulence would have on passengers who were wearing seat belts and those who weren't.

For more information about this accident, visit the investigation page.

Transcript of the video


The animation in the following video is courtesy of the National Institute for Aviation Research's (NIAR) Computational Mechanics Lab. It is an approximation and does not represent a specific aircraft model.


On 30 December 2015, a Boeing 777, operating as flight AC088, departed Shanghai, China at 1123, travelling towards Toronto, Canada. About 5 hours into the flight, the flight crew received a meteorological information bulletin, which forecasted an area of severe turbulence along their route. Approximately 35 minutes before entering the area of known turbulence, the first officer directed that the service be stopped and that the cabin be secured. Seat belt signs were turned on, and several announcements were made in English, French and Mandarin, stating that the flight was approaching an area of turbulence and asking the passengers to fasten their seat belts.

Despite these measures, many passengers were not wearing their seat belts when the flight encountered severe turbulence about 30 minutes after the first announcement was made. What follows is an example of what can happen during severe turbulence and is a reminder that forces of nature are powerful. Very powerful. [show short clip 4 sec]

[show slow motion clip playing with voice over] In the case of flight AC088, the majority of injuries were related to sprains, strains, bruising and scrapes, and one passenger sustained a serious injury.


Once the turbulence subsided, first aid was provided aboard the aircraft, as the flight diverted to Calgary, Alberta.


Turbulence can be more than just a little vibration. It can cause sudden, even violent, rises or drops, and it can happen at almost any time, on any flight. During takeoff and landing, in a heavy storm … even in air that looks clear.

The best way to stay safe is also the simplest: wear your seatbelt whenever seated and comply with all crew instructions.