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Study: Analysis of wake turbulence occurrences at Sydney Airport
17 February 2019

The ATSB advises flight crews of the increased likelihood of encountering wake turbulence when on approach to Sydney Airport.

An ATSB analysis has concluded there is a disproportionate rate of pilot reported wake turbulence occurrences for aircraft arriving at Sydney Airport compared to other major Australian airports.

Sydney Airport is the only major Australian airport currently with parallel runways. The distance between these runways is such that they are treated as individual runways and do not require the application of the wake turbulence separation standard by air traffic control for aircraft operating to a single runway. None of the wake turbulence occurrences involved a breach of the separation standard.

More than half of the wake turbulence occurrences during arrival at Sydney Airport were associated with one or more of three factors: high arrival densities across the parallel runway; wind blowing across the parallel runways from the longer to the shorter runway, especially when a heavy or super heavy aircraft was arriving on longer runway; and arrivals following an Airbus A380. The ATSB advises flight crews of the increased likelihood of encountering wake turbulence when on approach to Sydney Airport, particularly in peak periods, when operating on Runway 34 Right with the wind coming from the west or north-west, and/or when following an Airbus A380.

The ATSB has issued a Safety Recommendation to Airservices Australia to introduce measures to reduce the frequency of wake turbulence occurrence at the airport.

Sydney Airport runway 34L and 34R

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