International Aeronavigation Systems (IANS)

Integrated Wake Vortex Flight Safety System

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Wake vortex turbulence is an inevitable product of aircraft’s lift. Lift is generated by high pressure below the wing and low pressure above the wing. As the high-pressure air moves around the wingtip to the low pressure, (high pressure always moves towards lower pressure areas) the air rotates, or creates a horizontal 'tornado' behind the wings. Diameter of such turbulence can reach from 8 to 15 meters with tip speed equal to 150 km/h. Wake vortex depends on aircraft’s layout, flight weight and regime of flow. Wake encounter may lead to an uncontrolled angular velocity in roll direction (up to 200 degrees in second), height loss (up to 150-200 meters), and finally total loss of control.

Moreover, wake vortex several kilometers long may descend by 150-300 meters lower plane’s trajectory, as well as it can shift in the horizontal direction due to wind and ground effects. It’s impossible know its location and avoid wake encounter without special technical solutions.

Wake vortices influence not only flight safety, but also air-transport system’s economy. Nowadays ICAO standards define minimum distance between airplanes flying in the same direction (horizontal separation). Sometimes these distances reach up to 6 nautical miles.

Many biggest world’s airports operate at the peak of their capacity in the current situation of constant growth of needs. According to Wake Net Europe, delays of takeoffs and landings will make up 40% in 2015 for the reason of providing safety separations required by ICAO.

ICAO standards define also vertical separation. The necessity to increase capacity of air paths led to the introduction of 6 additional flight levels (RVSM program). Nevertheless the practice of flights in RVSM conditions has shown that aircrafts’ proximity has resulted in an increase of pilots’ reports concerning wake vortex turbulence. Therefore the need of researches in this sphere is imposed by flight safety and economic factors.

Though foreign experts counted on airborne instrumental wake vortex detection, everlasting developments in this sphere have shown that the usage of airborne LIDARs and radars for these purposes are not prospective and promising. Therefore Russian scientists have chosen another way of solving this problem.

Attitude position of wake vortex can be calculated on the basis of mathematical model which takes into consideration onboard readouts, geometry of aircraft and meteorological situation. As a result of such mathematical calculations information on wake vortices is identified on cockpit displays, so this information allows pilots to avoid encounter danger zones.

There is also another principle of the Russian development concept. Each aircraft should estimate its own wake vortex and inform other air traffic participants, including dispatchers. Wake vortex information is transmitted via open digital data links. Such approach has resulted to be rather perspective in respect to ICAO recommendations on implementation of CNS/ATM technologies. The aim of CNS/ATM technologies is to ensure flight safety on the basis of principle “everybody sees each other”. The Russian Integrated Wake Vortex Flight Safety System on the basis of Satellite Navigation and Communication Technologies widens this principle to “everybody sees each other including their wake vortices.”

The Russian Integrated Wake Vortex Flight Safety System is based on the innovative approach developed and licensed by its owners (the team of IANS). This system based on advanced CNS/ATM technologies provides information on hazardous wake vortices to crew teams and air traffic controllers, realizing the principle of total situational awareness concerning current and forecasted vortex situation of all air traffic participants. This System meets the advanced ICAO requirements on reduction of aircrafts’ separation minimums.

Information on wake vortices includes data calculated on board of each aircraft using numerical algorithms developed by the project owners. These algorithms define existing and forecasted location of wake vortex and its intensity on the basis of data concerning aircraft’s type, its configuration, flight parameters, taking into consideration meteorological data on wind speed, atmospheric turbulence and stratification.

Potential conflict situations connected with encounter wake vortex are ranked according to the level of danger and are displayed graphically to all aero navigation users.

The development has status of the innovative project which is ready for implementation. This status is proved by the Golden medal of the World Intellectual Property Organization for the innovative project “The Integrated Wake Vortex Flight Safety System” obtained in 2010.

The intellectual property protection system of the project has already been prepared, including international applications for development in the main manufacturing countries of the aviation equipment.

The ICAO workgroup on wake vortex turbulence was established in 2010 at the initiative of the project owners who are the full members of this group.

Since 2011 the project owners form part of a special US Committee SC-206 RTCA on standards development for wake vortex flight safety system which are required to obtain the approval certificate of the Federal Aviation Authorities of the USA.

ICAO draft directive on Wake Vortex Flight Safety Requirements was prepared in 2012. This directive will be the base for the future ICAO SARPs standard required to implement the System as necessary equipment.

The company’s experts are working hard on standards and requirements development for the Next Generation onboard equipment taking part in international aviation committees and organizations such as CANSO, RTCA, EUROCAE and SAE.

  • The System meets all the prospective ICAO requirements regarding to use of wake vortex flight safety system for equipping of airplanes, regional and airdrome centers;
  • advanced development rate comparing to potential competitors;
  • high level of technical solutions’ elaboration;
  • realization of four systems’ functions (VVS, TCAS, TAWS, AMDAR) within the same onboard flight safety system, that is very cost-efficient for users;
  • well-organized cooperation on project’s realization;
  • high productive and engineering capability;
  • governmental contracts with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation for designing of a similar special-purpose system.

Putting into operation of the Integrated Wake Vortex Flight Safety System will allow to:

  • increase flight safety level taking into consideration constant growth of air services;
  • provide environmental gains in the vicinity of the busiest airports;
  • increase capacity of airports and airspace;
  • provide additional income for airlines, airports and aero navigation services suppliers.

Preliminary analysis carried out by EUROCONTROL (European Wake Vortex Mitigation Benefits Study TRSD03/2005/WP1 – Work Package Report – Final) has shown that exploitation of the Integrated Wake Vortex Flight Safety System at 15 biggest European airdromes will potentially increase income of airports and air traffic controllers by 974 million euros per year, including:

  • Increase of takeoff and landing operations by 95 712;
  • Decrease of delayed flights by 13 228 hours.

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