|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : lmn|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 38800|
msl bound upper : 39800
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zkc|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Commercial Fixed Wing|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 120|
flight time total : 10500
flight time type : 1200
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : regained aircraft control|
flight crew : returned to intended course or assigned course
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
We fly from aex direct msp, navigating over and around some WX in arkansas. WX is developing in northeast kansas that we can see on radar as we cross the missouri border. Proceeding north at FL390 we are well above the tropopause and in smooth air. WX in north missouri is starting to develop into a line of thunderstorms. The tops appear to be around FL350 and there is a gap in the line approximately 40 mi wide straight ahead. I check the gap for WX by tilting the radar up and down, and see no returns except for ground clutter. I am expecting a smooth ride as we cross this line because of what the radar shows and our altitude, but I turn the seat belt sign on anyway. As I cross the line the airspeed increases rapidly and the mach warning comes on as moderate turbulence starts. I click off the autoplt and autothrottles and pull back the power. The speed is still increasing and I can feel mach buffet, and begin to climb to decrease airspeed. I am now in thin clouds glowing with st elmo's fire and intermittent light hail. Still climbing, in and out of mach buffet. About FL398 the mach buffet stops, the turbulence stops, the airspeed is back to normal (260 KTS) and I start to level off and return to cruise power. The cabin air smells of ozone. I am now losing airspeed rapidly, and seem to be in a downdraft. With airspeed now back to 200 KTS, I push the power to maximum control and pitch down to gain airspeed. Everything in the cabin is becoming weightless. Some of the flight attendants who were standing in the aisles in the aft of the cabin are now floating to the ceiling. I get airspeed back and raise the pitch very gently to bring the flight attendants back down gently, leveling off at FL388. The first officer reports severe turbulence to ATC. ATC asks if we want to change altitude, and we request FL410. As we start to climb, the air is again clear and smooth. Several flight attendants come up to ask what happened. I tell them severe turbulence, and ask if anyone was hurt. They say everybody is all right. The so goes back to check on the rest of them and reports no injuries, although some flight attendants in the back of the aircraft flew several rows. Flight attendants in the mid-cabin were weightless but did not leave their seats. Those seated in the forward cabin floated out of their seats.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: THE RPTR AT FL390 EXPERIENCED INCREASING AIRSPD TO MACH BUFFET AND MODERATE TURB AND AN 800 FT CLB ALL WITH PWR REDUCED WHILE ATTEMPTING TO CROSS A BREAK IN A LINE OF TSTMS. THEN THE FLT STARTED LOSING AIRSPD TO 200 KTS WITH THE PWR AT MAX CONTINUOUS AND ACFT DSNDING.
Narrative: WE FLY FROM AEX DIRECT MSP, NAVING OVER AND AROUND SOME WX IN ARKANSAS. WX IS DEVELOPING IN NE KANSAS THAT WE CAN SEE ON RADAR AS WE CROSS THE MISSOURI BORDER. PROCEEDING N AT FL390 WE ARE WELL ABOVE THE TROPOPAUSE AND IN SMOOTH AIR. WX IN N MISSOURI IS STARTING TO DEVELOP INTO A LINE OF TSTMS. THE TOPS APPEAR TO BE AROUND FL350 AND THERE IS A GAP IN THE LINE APPROX 40 MI WIDE STRAIGHT AHEAD. I CHK THE GAP FOR WX BY TILTING THE RADAR UP AND DOWN, AND SEE NO RETURNS EXCEPT FOR GND CLUTTER. I AM EXPECTING A SMOOTH RIDE AS WE CROSS THIS LINE BECAUSE OF WHAT THE RADAR SHOWS AND OUR ALT, BUT I TURN THE SEAT BELT SIGN ON ANYWAY. AS I CROSS THE LINE THE AIRSPD INCREASES RAPIDLY AND THE MACH WARNING COMES ON AS MODERATE TURB STARTS. I CLICK OFF THE AUTOPLT AND AUTOTHROTTLES AND PULL BACK THE PWR. THE SPD IS STILL INCREASING AND I CAN FEEL MACH BUFFET, AND BEGIN TO CLB TO DECREASE AIRSPD. I AM NOW IN THIN CLOUDS GLOWING WITH ST ELMO'S FIRE AND INTERMITTENT LIGHT HAIL. STILL CLBING, IN AND OUT OF MACH BUFFET. ABOUT FL398 THE MACH BUFFET STOPS, THE TURB STOPS, THE AIRSPD IS BACK TO NORMAL (260 KTS) AND I START TO LEVEL OFF AND RETURN TO CRUISE PWR. THE CABIN AIR SMELLS OF OZONE. I AM NOW LOSING AIRSPD RAPIDLY, AND SEEM TO BE IN A DOWNDRAFT. WITH AIRSPD NOW BACK TO 200 KTS, I PUSH THE PWR TO MAX CTL AND PITCH DOWN TO GAIN AIRSPD. EVERYTHING IN THE CABIN IS BECOMING WEIGHTLESS. SOME OF THE FLT ATTENDANTS WHO WERE STANDING IN THE AISLES IN THE AFT OF THE CABIN ARE NOW FLOATING TO THE CEILING. I GET AIRSPD BACK AND RAISE THE PITCH VERY GENTLY TO BRING THE FLT ATTENDANTS BACK DOWN GENTLY, LEVELING OFF AT FL388. THE FO RPTS SEVERE TURB TO ATC. ATC ASKS IF WE WANT TO CHANGE ALT, AND WE REQUEST FL410. AS WE START TO CLB, THE AIR IS AGAIN CLR AND SMOOTH. SEVERAL FLT ATTENDANTS COME UP TO ASK WHAT HAPPENED. I TELL THEM SEVERE TURB, AND ASK IF ANYONE WAS HURT. THEY SAY EVERYBODY IS ALL RIGHT. THE SO GOES BACK TO CHK ON THE REST OF THEM AND RPTS NO INJURIES, ALTHOUGH SOME FLT ATTENDANTS IN THE BACK OF THE ACFT FLEW SEVERAL ROWS. FLT ATTENDANTS IN THE MID-CABIN WERE WEIGHTLESS BUT DID NOT LEAVE THEIR SEATS. THOSE SEATED IN THE FORWARD CABIN FLOATED OUT OF THEIR SEATS.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.