Airbus is confident that it will "close the gap" between the A380's approach separation distances and those for the Boeing 747 when it presents updated vortex data to the International Civil Aviation Organisation by September.

ICAO agreed in October 2006 to reduce the arrival separation from the original distance of 10nm (18.5km) to any other aircraft to the following: 4nm to another A380, 6nm to a heavy (for example a 747), 8nm to a medium (an A320, for instance) and 10nm to light category aircraft. However, this was still 2nm, 3nm and 4nm respectively greater than the separation recommended for heavy aircraft such as the 747.

"We have carried out more extensive back-to-back tests of the A380 and 747-400 using [laser radar-based] lidar," says executive vice-president A380 programme Mario Heinen. "We will also evaluate by mid-year the behaviour of an A320 encounter flying behind an A380 with a wake vortex visualisation feature - smoke generator or oil injection."

The ICAO wake vortex working group will issue its revised separation recommendations by November, says Heinen. "Technically we are very confident will probably to close the gap to similar values the 747," he says.


Source: Flight International