What does it mean by the phrase 'hitting an air pocket'?

Does this mean 'to attain such a situation where someone/something can no longer advance forward'?

If that is correct, then, what is the origin of this phrase?

closed as off-topic by Hot Licks, David, Chris H, AndyT, Davo Jul 19 '17 at 17:22

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    It's a term from aviation. Did you try Googling it?? – Hot Licks Jul 18 '17 at 23:33
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    You are supposed to do your own research. If you Google "hitting an air pocket" (with the quotes) you will have your answer. – Hot Licks Jul 18 '17 at 23:35
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    I googled air pocket, meaning and got many hits. – ab2 Jul 18 '17 at 23:40
  • Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Hot Licks Jul 19 '17 at 3:11
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it needs more context. – AndyT Jul 19 '17 at 15:02

The literal meaning of "air pocket" is "a nearly vertical air current that can cause an aircraft to experience a sudden change in altitude, usually a decrease" (Dictionary.com). It's basically a synonym for turbulence--when your smooth airplane ride suddenly becomes a lot bumpier.

It's from this literal meaning that the figurative meaning has arisen: You might say that a plan hit an air pocket when it ran into unexpected difficulties. In fact, "turbulent" is also used figuratively in the same way. (For example, this article, "Target Hit Some Turbulence This Summer," talks about how the store's sales have been declining.

Transportation metaphors like these are fairly common. When things go wrong, you can also say you...

  • hit a rough patch
  • have a bumpy road ahead of you
  • have an uphill drive/climb

And of course, when things improve, you have clear skies and smooth sailing!