Turbulence can spook even the most experienced flyers. This video by Boeing should make you feel better. Every certified aircraft is stringently tested to handle the toughest conditions, then much more.
Some Nervous nellies wonder how something as big as a Boeing 777 can actually, you know, fly. Those same people probably would have accused the Wright Brothers of mental illness. And putting themselves inside a large metal tube with wings goes against all of their logic.
Anyone who is a “white knuckle” flier tightens their grip (or, maybe, loses it) when there is unexpected turbulence. When it becomes a “knuckleball flight” then those nervous passengers start eyeing the emergency exits.
Even when it’s relatively calm, if you’re seated where you can view an airliners’ wings you’ll notice that there’s some “give” in their structure while in flight. That can be disconcerting. But it’s normal and a fact of flight.
Captain Obvious here, but all aircraft undergo rigorous tests before they’re deemed flight-worthy. For instance, this video shows the stress test that a 777’s wing undergoes. The 777’s wing was tested to 1.54 times the expected maximum load for the aircraft. That means that 1.0 is the maximum expected load ever–worst conditions flying, maximum weight. Every aircraft is then certified to have the ability to handle another 50% beyond that limit. The bottom line is that the airplane and especially the wings are really strong.
Watch this video and rest assured that even in the worst of flying conditions, it’s probably your stomach, not the airplane’s wings that are the limiting factor.