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Accident and Serious Incident Reports: WAKE

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Category: Wake Vortex Turbulence Wake Vortex Turbulence
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A selection of articles in SKYbrary relating to events which included Wake Vortex Turbulence as a contributory factor.

  • A306, vicinity JFK New York USA, 2001 (On November 12, 2001, an Airbus Industries A300-600 operated by American Airlines crashed into a residential area of Belle Harbour, New York, after take-off from John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York. Shortly after take off, the aircraft encountered mild wake turbulence from a departing Boeing 747-400.)
  • A30B, en-route, Bristol UK, 2000 (On 27 June 2000 an Airbus A300-600 being operated by American Airlines on a scheduled passenger service from London Heathrow to New York JFK was being flown manually in the day VMC climb and approaching FL220 when a loud bang was heard and there was a simultaneous abrupt disturbance to the flight path. The event appeared to the flight crew to have been a disturbance in yaw with no obvious concurrent lateral motion. Although following the disturbance, the aircraft appeared to behave normally, the aircraft commander decided to return to London Heathrow rather than commence a transatlantic flight following what was suspected to have been an un-commanded flight control input. An uneventful return was made followed by an overweight landing 50 minutes after take off.)
  • A319 / B744, en-route near Oroville WA USA, 2008 (On 10 January 2008, an Air Canada Airbus A319 en route over the north western USA encountered unexpected sudden wake vortex turbulence from an in trail Boeing 747-400 nearly 11nm ahead to which the pilots who then responded with potentially hazardous flight control inputs which led to reversion to Alternate Control Law and aggravated the external /disturbance to the aircraft trajectory with roll up to 55° and an unintended descent of 1400 feet which with cabin service in progress and sea belt signs off led to cabin service carts hitting the cabin ceiling and several passenger injuries, some serious.)
  • A320, en-route, North East Spain 2006 (On 28 May 2006, a Vueling Airbus A320 encountered sudden significant turbulence at FL325 and, during a temporary loss of control, was forced down to FL310 before recovery was achieved. Seven occupants sustained minor injuries and there was some internal damage caused by an unrestrained cabin service cart. The origin of the disturbance was found to have been wake vortices from an Airbus A340-300 which was 10nm ahead and 500 feet above on the same airway but the Investigation found that the crew response had been inappropriate and could have served to exacerbate the effects of the external disturbance.)
  • A388/A320, vicinity Frankfurt Germany, 2011 (On 13 December 2011, an Airbus 320 was allowed to depart from runway 25C at Frankfurt on a left turning SID just prior to the touchdown of an A380 on runway 25L. The A380 had then initiated a low go around which put it above, ahead of and parallel to the A320 with a closest proximity of 1nm / 200 ft, in breach of the applicable wake vortex separation minima of 7nm / 1000ft. The Investigation found that there had been no actual encounter with the A380 wake vortices but that systemic ATC operational risk management was inadequate.)
  • B733, en-route, Santa Barbara CA USA, 1999 (On 2 September 1999, a United Airlines Boeing Boeing 737-300 in the cruise at FL240, experienced severe turbulence due to an encounter with the wake vortex from a preceding MD11 on a similar track which had climbed through the level of the B737 with minimum lateral separation, 1.5 minutes earlier.)
  • B735, en-route, North East of London UK, 1996 (On 5 September 1996, a Boeing 737-500 operated by British Midland, encountered severe wake turbulence whilst in the hold over London. The wake was attributed to a B767 some 6 nm ahead.)
  • C185, Wellington New Zealand, 1997 (On Monday 3 March 1997 at 1014 hours, privately owned and operated Cessna 185 encountered wake turbulence from previous departing aircraft, the pilot lost control of the aircraft at a height from which recovery was not possible and the aircraft descended to the ground.)
  • P28A / S76, Humberside UK 2009 (On 26 September 2009, a Piper PA28-140 flown by an experienced pilot was about to touch down after a day VMC approach about a mile behind an S76 helicopter which was also categorised as 'Light' for Wake Vortex purposes rolled uncontrollably to the right in the flare and struck the ground inverted seriously injuring the pilot. The Investigation noted existing informal National Regulatory Authority guidance material already suggested that light aircraft pilots might treat 'Light' helicopters as one category higher when on approach and recommended that this advice be more widely promulgated.)
  • SF34, vicinity Sydney Australia, 2008 (On 3 November 2008, a Saab 340B being operated on a domestic passenger flight by Regional Express AL was tracking in daylight to join a 7nm final for Runway 34R at destination Sydney, when a passenger sustained minor injuries as the result of a transient encounter with turbulence that had led to a momentary loss of control of the aircraft and which was suspected as being of wake vortex origin.)
  • WW24, vicinity John Wayne Airport Santa Ana CA USA, 1993 (On 15 December 1993, the crew of an IAI Westwind on a domestic passenger charter flight failed to leave sufficient separation between their aircraft and the Boeing 757 ahead on finals in night VMC and lost control or their aircraft which crashed killing all occupants and destroying the aircraft in the impact and post-crash fire.)

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For all accident reports held on SKYbrary, see the main section on Accident Reports.