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AC90-23F (Wake Turbulence)

AC90-23F (Wake Turbulence)

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Published by Edward Rehr

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Published by: Edward Rehr on Jul 19, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/09/2014

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Subject:AIRCRAFT WAKETURBULENCEDate: 02/20/02Initiated by: AFS-430AC No.: 90-23FChange:1. PURPOSE.
This advisory circular (AC) is intended to alert pilots to the hazards of aircraft waketurbulence and recommends related operational procedures.
2. CANCELLATION.
AC 90-23E, Aircraft Wake Turbulence, dated October 1, 1991, iscanceled.
3. INTRODUCTION.
Every aircraft in flight generates a wake. Historically, when pilotsencountered this wake the disturbance was attributed to “prop wash.” It is known, however, that thisdisturbance is caused by a pair of counter-rotating vortices trailing from the wing-tips. The vorticesfrom large aircraft pose problems to encountering aircraft. For instance, the wake of these aircraft canimpose rolling moments exceeding the control authority of the encountering aircraft. Further,turbulence generated within the vortices encountered at close range can damage aircraft componentsand equipment and cause personal injuries. The pilot must learn to envision the location of the vortexwake generated by larger (transport category) aircraft and adjust his/her flight path accordingly.
4. VORTEX GENERATION.
Lift is generated by the creation of a pressure differential over thewing surfaces. The lowest pressure occurs over the upper wing surface and the highest pressure underthe wing. This pressure differential triggers the rollup of the airflow aft of the wing resulting in
 
AC 90-23F02/20/02Page 2Par 4
swirling air masses trailing downstream of the wing-tips. After the rollup is completed, the wakeconsists of two counterrotating cylindrical vortices (see figure 1). Most of the energy is within a fewfeet of the center of each vortex, but pilots should avoid a region within about 100 feet of the vortexcore.
FIGURE 1. THE ROLLING UP PROCESS5. VORTEX STRENGTH.
The strength of the vortex is governed by the weight, speed, and shapeof the wing of the generating aircraft. The vortex characteristics of any given aircraft can also bechanged by extension of flaps or other wing configuring devices. However, as the basic factor isweight, the vortex strength increases proportionately with increase in aircraft operating weight. Peak vortex tangential speeds up to almost 300 feet per second have been recorded. The greatest vortexstrength occurs when the generating aircraft is heavy-clean-slow.
6. INDUCED ROLL
 .
a.
In rare instances, a wake encounter could cause in-flight structural damage of catastrophicproportions. However, the usual hazard is associated with induced rolling moments which can exceedthe roll control capability of the encountering aircraft. In flight experiments, aircraft have beenintentionally flown directly up trailing vortex cores of larger aircraft. It was shown that the capabilityof an aircraft to counteract the roll imposed by the wake vortex primarily depends on the wingspan andcounter-control responsiveness of the encountering aircraft.
 
02/20/02AC 90-23FPar 6Page 3
FIGURE 2. INDUCED ROLLb.
Counter-control is usually effective and induced roll minimal in cases where the wingspan andailerons of the encountering aircraft extend beyond the rotational flow field of the vortex.
 
It is moredifficult for aircraft with short wingspans (relative to the vortex generating aircraft) to counter theimposed roll induced by vortex flow. Pilots of short-span
 
aircraft, even of the high performance type,must be especially alert to vortex encounters. The wake of larger aircraft requires the respect of allpilots (see figures 2 and 3).

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