You probably know the feeling: you’re sitting on a plane, happily cruising through the sky, when suddenly the seat-belt light comes on and things get a little bumpy. Most of the time, turbulence leads to nothing worse than momentary jitters.
Turbulence occurs when something disrupts this smooth flow, and the air starts to move up and down as well as horizontally. When this happens, conditions can change from moment to moment and place to place.
Turbulence is usually short-lived. Modern aircraft are engineered to comfortably withstand all but the most extreme air turbulence. Among people who are injured, the great majority are those who aren’t strapped in.