FAA Order 7110.659A, effective June 1, will recategorize the guidelines air traffic controllers use to provide proper wake turbulence separation. The new standards are expected to increase airport capacity while reducing both arrival and departure delays.
Here at the Singapore Airshow site an interesting phenomenon is taking place invisibly in the sky above our heads. The latest iteration of French manufacturer Thales’ (Booth F23) Long Range Radar and Display System (Lorads III) is now fully operational, marking a new era for air traffic management in Singapore.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) took delivery of the system in June 2013, which is now fully operational following a successful phased deployment program.
Lockheed Martin (Stand 1975) is installing its WindTracer windshear and turbulence-detection system at Dubai International Airport (DXB), where it will be used to detect aircraft wake vortices, thus allowing for increased runway utilization. Two WindTracers have been installed this year and a third one is to follow in the first quarter of next year, Michael Margulis, WindTracer program director, told AIN. WindTracer is a long-range, 3-D-scanning pulsed doppler lidar-based system.
The FAA published updates to the wake turbulence separation categories on October 22 for Louisville, Miami, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia airports based on improved understanding of how wake vortices behave. Categories are now based on weight, certified approach speed and wing characteristics. Special consideration will be given to aircraft with limited ability to counteract adverse rolls.
Among the operational topics for the technical committee at the triennial ICAO Assembly were significant safety issues. One paper from the Russian delegation provided a description of extensive studies of wake vortices, and the development of a wake vortex safety system that would use outputs from ADS-B, Swim and two Aviation System Block Upgrades 1 elements, with pilot alerts transmitted over the anticipated datalinks in that period–that is, by 2018.
No one who flies has ever questioned the safety benefits of a stabilized final approach, whether it’s in VFR or IFR weather. Most airline and business aviation operators define a stabilized approach as one in which the aircraft is properly configured–on airspeed and on altitude–no closer to the ground on final than 500 feet. Anything else essentially demands a missed approach–a go-around in pilot vernacular–or at least it should.
Pilots and controllers at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Memphis International (MEM) and Houston Intercontinental (HOU) may soon take part in operational testing of a new reduced-separation standard between aircraft departing on parallel runways during crosswind conditions. For the wake turbulence mitigation for departures (WTMD) procedure one of the aircraft must weigh more than 300,000 pounds (categorized as “heavy”) and weather conditions must remain at least basic VFR with a 1,000-foot ceiling and three statute miles visibility.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration estimates that revised wake turbulence separation standards applied for the first time at Memphis International Airport last November have produced a 15-percent increase in flight-handling capacity at the airport.
The FAA will implement new wake turbulence standards on at 1100Z on November 1 starting at Memphis International Airport. Other U.S. airports are expected to see the new standards applied during 2013-2014 under the joint FAA/Eurocontrol RECAT program (revising wake turbulence categories to gain capacity).
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Twin Collides with Communications Tower
Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90GT, June 22, 2012, near Morgantown, W.Va.–A Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90GT collided with a communications tower near Morgantown, W.Va. on June 22 in daylight VFR conditions. The aircraft shed its right wing, left horizontal stabilizer and left engine before hitting the ground. The King Air was in radar contact with Clarksburg Approach Control at the time of the accident. The 22,000-hour pilot, the only occupant, was killed.
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