For more than forty years air traffic controllers have used prescribed standard separation distances between landing aircraft, based on their weight, to account for the theoretical amount of vortex wake an aircraft will generate for those aircraft following it.
To help Dubai increase airport capacity, AVTECH has assembled a best in class consortium of industry experts to measure and analyse the actual performance of wake vortices, in terms of both intensity and movement.
Lars GV Lindberg, CEO AVTECH Middle East said, “Dubai continues to lead the aviation industry in exploring new concepts to further enhance the service provided to its airlines and passengers. This study will focus on specific procedures with the intention to increase capacity at the world’s second busiest airport in terms of international traffic. Additionally the project will lay the foundation stone for the potential development of a dynamic vortex wake assessment system, which could benefit not only Dubai, but the entire global aviation industry.”
The study will utilize LIDAR equipment provided by Lockheed Martin, which uses laser light sensors to measure the vortices; it will exploit detailed meteorological data provided by AirDat - Panasonic, and benefit from the experience of aircraft Flight Management System manufacturer Honeywell. In addition, NATS will provide detailed operational analysis of the data, using experience developed conducting similar studies at London’s Heathrow Airport. AVTECH Sweden and AVTECH Middle East LLC are providing Wake Vortex Monte Carlo simulations, data analysis and project management. The project is part of the Serco – DANS managed Dubai Airport Dual Arrival Stream program.
Helen Woodrow, VP Forecasting and Research at Dubai Airports added: “We have one of the industry’s most proactive growth plans at Dubai Airports to cater for the estimated 100 million passengers we expect to pass through our airports by 2020. This project is indicative of the initiatives we are taking to optimise the efficiency of our operation and augment safety as well as capacity.”
Wingtip vortices occur when a wing is generating lift. Air from below the wing is drawn around the wingtip into the region above the wing by the lower pressure above the wing, causing a vortex to trail from each wingtip. Wake turbulence exists in the vortex flow behind the wing. The strength of wingtip vortices is determined primarily by the weight and airspeed of the aircraft. Wingtip vortices make up the primary and most dangerous component of wake turbulence.
Lift is generated by high pressure below the wing and low pressure above the wing. As the high-pressure air moves around the wingtip to the low pressure, (high pressure always moved towards lower pressure areas) the air rotates, or creates a horizontal "tornado" behind the wings. This tornado sinks lower and lower until it dissipates.
Wake turbulence<span"> is especially hazardous in the region behind an aircraft in the takeoff or landing phases of flight. During take-off and landing, aircraft operate at high angle of attack.