Wake vortex characteristics of transport aircraft

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117 Scopus citations


The flow and flight physics of wake vortex systems has been intensively investigated concentrating on a large variety of aspects. This paper gives a brief overview on past and present wake vortex research activities such as early studies, integrated programs, model and flight tests, numerical investigations, fundamental physical aspects and alleviation strategies. Then, detailed results of the properties of the wake near field and extended near field are presented addressing typical length and time scales and especially turbulence quantities. Progressing from the near field to the far field wake instability mechanisms are explained along with their relevance for wake vortex decay. Characteristic quantities are given for the short and long wave instabilities associated with vortex merging and wakes consisting of two and four trailing vortices. A non-dimensional frequency parameter is introduced to classify the main instability types. Means for wake vortex alleviation are described aimed at influencing the wake vortex turbulence field or triggering and amplifying the inherent instabilities. The methods discussed include passive means such as the effects of spoilers, differential flap setting and four-vortex systems and active means using oscillating flaps or auxiliary devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-134
Number of pages46
JournalProgress in Aerospace Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


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