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Fundamental Research on Aircraft Wake Phenomena


The aim of this project is to gain new knowledge on vortex phenomena, critical in the context of wake turbulence behind civil aircraft, but not sufficiently addressed or understood in previous studies. Many projects have investigated the behaviour of aircraft vortices, aiming at their characterisation and the search for means of reducing the associated hazard. Although a lot of information has been gathered, and much progress made in understanding these flows, some central questions remain unanswered, preventing major advances in this domain. They include: the precise role of vortex instabilities on wake decay, the effects of engine jets and fuselage wakes, and the influence of ground proximity on wake evolution, relevant to the airport environment. This project attempts to resolve these issues. Emphasis is put on the study of generic vortex configurations to gain the missing physical understanding, complementing the existing, mostly empirical knowledge. In support of new experimental and numerical investigations, theoretical/analytical treatment is applied, with the aim of obtaining a systematic description and understanding of the phenomena. Furthermore, extensive use is made of results/data from previous projects or available data bases on aircraft wake turbulence, whose analysis is far from being complete. The assessment of the impact of the new results on practical applications and realistic situations is an integral part of the project. It will create a solid knowledge base for the future development of strategies of wake prediction and reduction, relevant for increasing capacity and safety of air transport, one of the priorities of the EC work programme. The use of a concentrated effort to solve outstanding problems on a fundamental physical level, involving many competent groups from academia, is new to the field, and is likely to represent a decisive competitive advantage for the European aeronautics research community and aircraft industry.

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