CAN WE GET INTO THE AIR FASTER?

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Soundings -

IF YOU’VE EVER SPENT MORE TIME on the run­way

wait­ing to take off on your flight than you spent get­ting

through air­port se­cu­rity, a pro­fes­sor at Con­cor­dia

Univer­sity in Mon­treal, Canada, is try­ing to ease

your pain. One of the rea­sons air­lin­ers wait in long

lines is to avoid tak­ing off into the wake tur­bu­lence

trailed by the previous air­plane. The Fed­eral Aviation

Ad­min­is­tra­tion man­dates these wait times, but Ge­orge

Vatis­tas has pre­sented a the­ory to cal­cu­late the in­ten­sity

of the vor­tices, pub­lished in the June 2015 is­sue of the

of Air­craft.

may one day get us off the ground quicker.

Jour­nal

His on­go­ing, not-yet-pub­lished work on that

the­ory, Vatis­tas says, in­di­cates that air­liner vor­tices

de­cay sig­nif­i­cantly faster than pre­vi­ously thought.

“There­fore,” he says, “there is a good pos­si­bil­ity of

eas­ing the sep­a­ra­tion dis­tance be­tween air­craft with­out

com­pro­mis­ing safety.” He knows the con­ser­va­tive FAA

“will re­quire a lot of con­vinc­ing,” but hopes his cal­cu­la­tions

A new the­ory on air­liner wake says we’re prob­a­bly wait­ing too long on the ground.

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