This Brief Communication presents a simple second-order differential equation extracted from experimental data, which can mimic the velocity fluctuations that are typical of bursting. The starting time series concerns the longitudinal component of turbulent velocity measured near the wall in a hydraulically smooth pipe flow. By means of standard conditional sampling techniques, we found the typical behavior of velocity fluctuations during the bursting events, to which we then applied the trajectory method in order to extract the equation of motion. The resulting equation, containing quadratic and cubic nonlinearities, follows the original time series very well, and may represent a useful starting point for the construction of more complex models of this phenomenon. (C) 1998 American Institute of Physics. [S1070-6631(98)03211-5].