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Traffic separation on departure


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Written on: 23. 08. 2012 [21:20]
fliteadmin
Administrator
Moderator
Topic creator
registered since: 26.12.2006
Posts: 0
Hi all,
When departing behind another aircraft on the same runway, I've used always time in minutes to avoid wake turbulence.
The other day I heard an Air Traffic Controller asking the crew whether they would be happy to accept separation based on distance. Can anyone explain this a bit more? Wake turbulence separation based on distance was new to me...Any document reference or info is much appreciated.


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Written on: 25. 08. 2012 [05:06]
kiwi-99
Board Cadet Pilot
registered since: 10.09.2011
Posts: 14
Hi all,
Wake turbulence is either based on distance or time. Approach separation is based on distance and departure separation is based on time in minutes. This is normal procedure.
It might be interesting for you pilots to know how the correct take-off separation (minutes) in LSZH and all other airports I know off is determined. The time is based on the point of time where the aircraft rotates (this is regarded as the take off time) and not the time when the take off clearance is given. Now, if you have 2 minutes separation, the following aircraft will receive the verbal take off clearance after about one minute and 40 seconds. The remaining 20 seconds are the time the aircraft will need to accelerate and reach the take off point (rotate) which when added together will give 2 minutes as stipulated by ICAO for example.
Concerning the question about distance instead of time when departing. Theoretically that is possible but I have personally never heard of it. I do not think that it is an ICAO procedure. It is also very strange to hear that the controller asks the pilot if he “accepts” this. Apart from a few exceptions, it is the controller’s responsibility to maintain “wake” separation between aircraft.
To theoretically be able to execute such a procedure and to do it correctly you would probably need a scale with miles to be marked on the radar map available in the tower, to correctly have 3,4,5 or whatever NM separation is required, the same as you have on the approach radar map.
Written on: 15. 09. 2012 [12:19]
fliteadmin
Administrator
Moderator
Topic creator
registered since: 26.12.2006
Posts: 0
Hi Peter,
Many thanks for your expert explanation.
As far as I am aware most pilots start the timing regarding wake turbulence sep. on departure when the aircraft ahead starts to move. To start timing at rotation is makes sense too of course, but depending on the taxiway/runway layout, it could be difficult for the flight crew to see when the aircraft rotates. I guess that is way most take the time when the takeoff clearance is given.
Best rgds,
Stefan

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