The Twentieth Meeting of the Informal South Pacific ats coordinating Group

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ISPACG/20 – IP/12


The Twentieth Meeting of the Informal South Pacific ATS Coordinating Group

Honolulu, USA, 30 January – 1 February 2006

Agenda Item 7: Other business


(Presented by the ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Office)


This paper presents the meeting with ICAO’s guidance to States in regard to the horizontal and vertical wake turbulence spacing criteria of the A380 relative to other aircraft.


1.1 The Secretariat had received enquiries from a number of States with regard to wake turbulence separation minima for flights being undertaken by the new Airbus A380 aircraft. The ad hoc group of experts under the auspices of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Eurocontrol, the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) and the manufacturer is currently developing guidance on wake vortex separation criteria for the A380. It is now anticipated that this guidance will be made available in early 2006.


2.1 In the meantime, analyses and flight test data available to the group have raised concerns about horizontal and vertical wake turbulence spacing criteria for approach, landing, departure, and enroute operations of the A380 relative to other aircraft. Detailed information in this regard had been promulgated via ICAO State Letter (Ref: T3/4/4-AP111/05 ATM) transmitted on 10 November 2005.

2.2 Current data analyses indicate that A380 wake vortices will descend further and be significantly stronger at 300 m (1 000 ft) below the generation altitude than for other aircraft in the heavy wake turbulence category.  On rare occasions, A380 wake vortices may descend 600 m (2 000 ft) and possibly pose a passenger comfort issue, but not a hazard.  It is not clear at present what level of hazard A380 wake vortices pose at 300 m (1 000 ft) to other aircraft.  Guidance is presented as follows:
1. Departure spacing:
a) one additional minute to be added to all separations listed in Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Air Traffic Management (PANS-ATM, Doc 4444), paragraph 5.8, when an A380 is the leading aircraft;
b) one additional minute to be added to the separation in PANS-ATM, paragraph 5.8.5.
2. Horizontal spacing:
a) where both aircraft are established on final approach, 10 NM between an A380 and any other following aircraft;
b) 15 NM minimum radar spacing for all other phases of flight, including enroute, between an A380 and all other aircraft operating directly behind at the same altitude or less than 300 m (1 000 ft) below. (See also paragraph 3 below.)
3. Vertical spacing:
Vertical spacing guidance will not be completed for several months. There are indications, however, from the initial analysis of data that wake vortex from an A380 may be encountered by aircraft flying 300 m (1 000 ft) below at greater strengths than from current aircraft of the heavy wake turbulence category. Because it has not yet been possible to establish the level of hazard associated with these wake vortices, offset tracks or additional vertical spacing is advised until the final vertical spacing guidance has been established.


    1. The meeting is invited to:

  1. Note the A380’s wake vortices characteristics; and

  1. Note the wake turbulence spacing guidance given above.


- END -

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