Features

March 2001 Issue

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Handling wake turbulence encounters by the book doesnít guarantee a happy ending

Itís often been said that if we donít study history that we are condemned to repeating it. In that same vein, itís also very true that it often takes accidents before enough attention is given to a problem.

That certainly was the case with the 757ís wake vortices. Early in the 1990s, British researchers published a study of wake vortex incidents at Heathrow and noticed a disproportionate number of incidents trailing the 757. The British wake separation criteria had four categories at the time, unlike the American system, which had three categories.

The American system lumped a corporate jet weighing 17,000 pounds in the same weight class Ė large Ė as a 757 weighing nearly 280,000 po...

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