- A Qantas Airbus A380 took a 10-second “nosedive” Sunday evening, passengers said, after flying through the wake turbulence generated by another Qantas A380.
- Qantas Flight 94 was less than two hours into a trip from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, when the incident happened.
- At the time, Qantas Flight 12, the other Airbus, was flying 1,000 feet above and 23 miles ahead of Flight 94.
- No injuries were reported.
A Qantas Airbus A380 took a “nosedive” over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday evening, passengers said, after flying through the wake turbulence generated by another Qantas A380.
Qantas Flight 94 departed from Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday at 11:29 p.m. PT. Less than two hours into the 16-hour flight to Melbourne, Australia, the Qantas superjumbo dove for 10 seconds while flying at over 30,000 feet, passengers told Australian news outlets.
One passenger described the incident to The Australian as a 10-second free-fall dive toward the Pacific Ocean.
The incident was a result of Flight 94 flying through the wake turbulence generated by another Qantas A380. At the time, the other superjumbo, operating as Qantas Flight 12, was flying 1,000 feet above and 23 miles ahead of Flight 94.
Wake turbulence is described as the vortices (a mass of whirling air) generated by the plane’s wings as it flies through the air. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, these vortices emanate from the wingtips and tend to descend as it trails the aircraft.
“We understand that any sudden turbulence can be a jolt for passengers but aircraft are designed to handle it safely,” Qantas Fleet Safety Captain Debbie Slade said in a statement to Business Insider. “As the Captain explained to passengers at the time, this A380 experienced a short burst of wake turbulence from another A380 flying ahead and above it.”
Though there are safety guards in place to reduce the likelihood of wake turbulence, there’s no surefire way to prevent it. That’s why airlines tell passengers to always keep their seat belts fastened during a flight, Slade explained.
Flight 94 landed safely in Melbourne 24 minutes late. No injuries were reported.