- The AIRBUS A380 marked a milestone in the ATM world, since it meant a new approach for designing wake turbulence separations. The traditional ICAO provisions were subjected to revision, as the new A380 overtook the largest passenger aircraft generating greater vortices than those from the ‘HEAVY’ category. A European-led A380 ICAO Steering Group was established – with representatives from EUROCONTROL, EASA, AIRBUS, FAA and ICAO – to evaluate the A380 wake turbulence and to establish recommendations to ICAO for its spacing.
- Subsequent to ICAO’s State Letters about separation minima for aircraft following A380, work was then extended to determine if global wake separation revision was possible. A first proposal (known as RECAT-1) was reviewed by Stakeholders. Further improvements were required by European Air Navigation Service Providers in order to enhance capacity benefits and close some technical questions raised during the consultation.
- In parallel, and in close cooperation with EUROCONTROL and EASA, AIRBUS was still conducting additional flight test for revising the A380 separation. At this stage, it was agreed with EASA and AIRBUS, that the A380 work would be incorporated into the wider wake turbulence re-categorisation for Europe (‘RECAT-EU’) using the AIRBUS flight test as key elements of validation of the proposed metric used for RECAT-EU.