CAN WE GET INTO THE AIR FASTER?
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
may one day get us off the ground quicker.
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.