An analysis of wake vortex lidar measurements at LaGuardia Airport
The majority of research into the wake vortex hazard has concentrated on the in-trail encounter scenario for arrivals. At LaGuardia Airport, wake vortex spacings are applied to arrivals on runway 22 following a heavy departure on the intersecting runway 31, resulting in delay and increased workload for controllers. Previous analysis of this problem led to a recommendation for a measurement campaign to collect data on the behavior of wake vortices generated by departing heavy aircraft. In April of 2004, MIT Lincoln Laboratory deployed its wake vortex lidar system to measure such wakes at LaGuardia. Additionally, wind speed and turbulence data were collected with the hope of correlating wake behavior with the local atmospheric conditions. Analysis of the lidar data indicates that the system was able to acquire and track vortices from departures, a task not proven prior to this deployment. Further, vortices were seen to transport toward the threshold of runway 22, verifying an assumption based on analysis of the winds that wake transport is not a solution in this case. The quantity and type of data collected were insufficient to formulate a clear relationship between atmospheric turbulence and vortex decay. However, it may be possible to develop such a model by exploiting the data gathered during previous lidar deployments.