A statistical analysis of approach winds at capacity-restricted airports
October 7, 2000
Many major airports in the U.S. rely on simultaneous approaches to closely-spaced parallel (CSP) runways to maintain a high airport acceptance rate. During Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), aircraft are able to utilize both runways by making side-by-side landings and are able to meet the demands of heavy volume. However, when conditions deteriorate to marginal-VMC or Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), side-by-side approaches are not possible due to the inherent safety concerns associated with lowered ceilings and visibilities. This situation is severely limiting to an airport's capacity and can create large delays and increased costs. Various ideas have been suggested that would facilitate the simultaneous use of CSP runways during low ceiling and visibility (LCV) conditions at capacity-restricted airports. This report addresses the specific scenario of a pair of approaching aircraft being staggered by some longitudinal distance. This situation alleviates the collision hazard presented by LCV conditions, but also introduces the hazard of a wake vortex encounter, particularly if the following aircraft is downwind of the leading aircraft.