Aircraft turbulence northeast of Hawai’i

November 18th, 2021 |
Moderate-or-Greater (MOG) Turbulence Probabilities for the 30000-41000 foot layer, 2340 UTC 17 November – 0220 UTC 18 November 2021 (Click to enlarge)

In-flight turbulence affected Hawaiian Air Flight 51 (JFK to HNL) late in the afternoon on 17 November 2021 (Click here for the flight path from the flightaware website. A screen-capture of the flight levels, below (cropped from the FlightAware website), shows turbulence occurring between 0141 and 0145 UTC on 18 November as the plane was flying at FL400 near 22.5º N, 154º W. That places the storm in the middle of MOG values exceeding 50% in a convective storm to the northeast of Hawaii, a storm in which other planes were also experiencing turbulence, as shown in the animation above (taken from the CIMSS Turbulence website). Here is the image for 0150 UTC, right after the turbulence affected the aircraft.

One passenger suffered a minor head injury during this event, and declined treatment. (Link). Training on this product is available at this site (direct link to recording is here).


GOES-17 ABI Imagery (and level 2 Products), below, show persistent vigorous convection developing in a region with Lifted Indices around -2. Level 2 Cloud Top Height, at bottom, (the colorbar has been modified from default values to 35000-45000 feet), show persistent development of cloud tops exceeding 40000 feet, the cruising level of HAL51!

GOES-17 Band 13 (10.35 µm) Infrared imagery on top of the Level 2 Clear-sky Lifted Index, 0000 – 0250 UTC on 18 November 2021 (Click to enlarge)
GOES-17 Level Cloud Top Height, 0000 – 0250 UTC on 18 November 2021; Colorbar values range from 35000-45000 feet (Click to enlarge)