Managing Wake Vortex is critical as it affects capacity, efficiency and safety of the air transport system, just as the need to squeeze more aircrafts into airports has increased. The challenge is to move from the ICAO set “rule-based” distance between aircrafts (i.e. with air traffic controllers applying a prescribed standard separation distance between landing aircraft, based on their weight to account for the theoretical amount of wake vortex that an aircraft will generate for aircraft following it).to a dynamic “need-based” distancing between aircrafts. In November 2012 ICAO adopted a decision that airports encountering wake incidents should implement a Wake Vortex Safety System – further to be developed into a Dynamic Wake Vortex Separation System, i.e. using the same methodology as AVTECH’s concept for such a system.
Determining Wake Vortex to be a significant area to be investigated, AVTECH started the process of developing a Wake Vortex Separation System (AWVSS) by doing approximately three years of initial research in order to gain knowledge of the factors affecting wake vortex and the impact it has on aviation. In 2011 AVTECH performed a study of wake vortex for Dubai Airports that provided knowledge of the dissipation time of wake vortex being lengthened due to unique meteorological conditions, and in 2012, AVTECH performed two additional wake vortex assignments for Dubai Airports: a wake strength project and a project analyzing the probability of wake encounters using Monte Carlo simulations. Development was furthermore supported by a research grant of 3.3 million SEK from the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) and in 2013/2014 AVTECH was awarded a 14 month key contract, including three utilized options, with Dubai Air Navigation Services to study the behavior of wake vortex generated by aircraft arriving at Dubai International. The 14 month project utilized LIDAR equipment to measure wake vortices and AVTECH participated with Wake Vortex Monte Carlo simulations, data analysis and project management.
In parallel to the activities above, AVTECH’s has developed the concept for as well as a number of technical modules supporting an AVTECH Wake Vortex Separation System (AWVSS). Wake Vortex being a major problem at approximately 40 airports globally, and due to the sheer value that any capacity increase has to airports and societies globally as a whole, the Board of AVTECH implemented a decision during late 2014 to invest further resources in finalizing a commercial WVSS. AVTECH’s Wake Vortex Separation System will increase capacity, efficiency and safety at airports as it will identify and counter possible hazardous wake encounter situations. The system will also be the first commercial system in the world (i.e. without any known commercial competition) to predict the strength and position of aircraft generated wake vortex based on aircraft performance and trajectories together with atmospheric wind, turbulence and thermal stratification.