Wake Turbulence




If you fly into busy airports you probably keep an eye out for large airplanes.  Whether a large aircraft is taking off or landing, it creates a hazardous stream of air that we call “Wake turbulence.”  But why do we call it “Wake turbulence”?


A wake is the result of any body or object passing through a fluid such as air or water.  If you have felt the air rush by a moving truck or have seen the waves created by a moving boat then you have seen a wake.




We use the world “turbulence” because the wake created by an airplane can be turbulent and potentially dangerous.  In fact, wake turbulence has been a contributing factor in many fatal accidents.  In 2001, an American Airlines A-300 lost control and crashed after encountering wake turbulence created by a Japan Airlines 747.



Communicating wake turbulence

Most of the time air traffic controllers will warn pilots of wake turbulence prior to taking off or landing.  Here are a few audio samples of what you might expect to hear over the radio.


[su_audio url=”https://dl.dropbox.com/s/0disv8kcn2e4j4v/WK_radio%20final.mp3″ width=”30%”] https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_IcHx2tNOZOZ0ZUbmxRSGtCOXc/edit?usp=sharing[/su_audio]

“N4247E JFK Tower, cleared to land runway 4L behind the Air China 747.  Caution, wake turbulence.”


[su_audio url=”https://dl.dropbox.com/s/gyameclhrsbmei6/WK_radio2%20final.mp3″ width=”30%”] https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_IcHx2tNOZOZ0ZUbmxRSGtCOXc/edit?usp=sharing[/su_audio]


“N4247E Atlanta Tower, cleared for takeoff runway 9L.  Caution, wake turbulence.”




Author: Collin

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