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Wakenet Europe workshop 2007 press release

Eurocontrol Press Release

EUROCONTROL-hosted workshop proposes concepts for reducing impact of wake vortex Brussels, Belgium – Substantial progress has been made recently in understanding the behaviour of wake vortex – the turbulent air left behind an aircraft in flight. As a result, a number of short to medium-term projects can now be developed to reduce the impact of wake vortices on airport capacity, and thus increase performance, without jeopardising or reducing safety.

One of the projects that has the potential to reduce the impact of wake vortices on airport capacity is time-based spacing for arrivals which can partly prevent loss of capacity in strong headwinds. Other proposals include implementing procedures for how to use closely spaced parallel runways and for operations in crosswind conditions. There are also a number of other longer-term options that could further enhance flight safety and operational performance should the research programmes prove to be successful. These include on-board detection equipment, new design of wings and aircraft configuration that reduces the amount of wake vortex that is generated.

These projects were discussed at a workshop hosted recently by EUROCONTROL in Brussels. A substantial set of new concepts of operations for wake vortex mitigation were presented at the three-day workshop to representatives of European research institutes, industry, air traffic management organizations, regulators, airlines and airport authorities, and other bodies such as the FAA, NASA and the Russian research and industry. The 85 participants were asked to give as much input as possible on the strengths, opportunities and concerns for each of the proposed concepts.

“An early conclusion from this workshop is that there is now the necessary depth of understanding and the availability of new technology to allow a number of operational enhancements to be developed,” said Paul Wilson, Head of Airport Operations & Environment at EUROCONTROL.

Participants also heard about the successfully completed Airbus 380 wake vortex safety assessment, carried out by Airbus, EUROCONTROL, the FAA, NASA and industry.