PARIS 2007: Boeing 747-8 will require wake vortex tests

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Boeing’s new 747-8 widebody will need to undergo trials to determine aircraft separation for wake turbulence avoidance.

Wake vortex tests are “clearly something we’re going to have to do” for the 747-8, the program’s VP marketing Randy Tinseth confirmed today at a Paris Air Show briefing.

The 747-8 is competing with the Airbus A380. Representatives of Airbus, the US FAA, Eurocontrol and the Joint Aviation Authorities participated in a steering group that spent three years investigating the potential impact of A380 wake vortices.

Last year, they concluded that aircraft trailing the A380 will have to maintain greater separation distances during approach and departure than those currently enforced for other ‘heavy’ jets.

Boeing recently told ATI sister publication Flight International that it is confident the 747-8 will not be dramatically affected by the wake vortex issues that have dogged the A380. The 747-8 is smaller and lighter than the A380 and its wake vortices are expected to only be “a little bit more” than today’s 747-400, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP marketing Randy Baseler.

Boeing, meanwhile, is forecasting demand through 2026 for 960 aircraft in the size category of the 747 and larger. This includes 370 freighters and 590 passenger aircraft.

Luxembourg-based Cargolux, the launch customer for the 747-8 freighter, will begin taking delivery of the type in late 2009.