With the development of the Airbus A380 one of the main challenges for ATM was the development of wake turbulence separations before the aircraft entered service. The issue was that there was no proven methodology available at the start of the project. In July 2003 a European led A380 Steering Group was established with representatives from EUROCONTROL, JAA (EASA), AIRBUS, FAA, NASA and ICAO.
Its tasks were to:
- Select methodologies for evaluation of A380 wake turbulence;
- Assess A380 wake turbulence in comparison to other aircraft of the Heavy category;
- Establish recommendation for A380 wake turbulence separation to ICAO.
Recommendations are based on a Safety Case and Safety Assessment Report produced by the Working Group, in accordance to EUROCONTROL Safety Regulatory Requirement 4 (ESARR 4). This work resulted in an initial ICAO State Letter detailing separation requirement of 10NM for all aircraft following the A380.
A second State Letter was issued by ICAO in Oct. 2006 with reduced interim separations pending more data collection and a third State Letter was issued July 2008 with further reduced separations.
Work is continuing with the analysis of Airbus flight test data to determine if further separation reductions are possible.