Overview of 1994 Memphis Wake Vortex testing program
Significant restrictions currently exist in the air traffic control system due to wake vortex considerations. Eliminating or reducing these restrictions would yield increased capacity, decreased delays and significant cost savings (Evans & Welch, 1991). These improvements would be especially desirable at high traffic airports which cannot expand (e.g., Boston, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Washington National, O'Hare, etc.). However, scientific uncertainty about wake vortex behavior under various weather conditions is a major concern. The current wake vortex restrictions me normally very conservative but could be insufficient under certain transient atmospheric conditions. A successful adaptive wake vortex advisory system must be able to 1) monitor for unsafe conditions, 2) predict wake vortex behavior over 2&30 minutes in the future and 3) provide an interface to air traffic controllers. Operational implementation of such a system will involve synergism between the Wake Vortex (WV), Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) and Terminal Air Traffic Control Automation (TATCA) programs. The Wake Vortex program is a new effort at Lincoln Laboratory sponsored by NASA Langley Research Center in cooperation with the FAA. The joint NASA/FAA/Lincoln program seeks to aid in resolving wake vortex behavior issues as a function of the weather environment with a series of field measurements. The field measurements will include obtaining aircraft, meteorological and wake vortex data in an operational airport environment. The data collected will support efforts at NASA and elsewhere to validate wake vortex behavior models, aircraft/vortex interaction and atmospheric diagnosis/prognosis methods. The first of these field measurements is scheduled for the fall of 1994 at the Memphis International Airport.