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Aircraft Wakes and Weather

An image of an airplane

Volpe’s Aircraft Wakes and Weather Division designs and conducts measure­ments of wake behavior and atmospheric conditions at major airports. We develop and test new wake, weather, and visibility sensors, and operate the nationally recognized Otis Weather Test Facility to support these activities.

We analyze data to assess the risks and benefits of new or improved operational procedures for air traffic control.

We support development and certification of airport and aircraft visibility sensors through measurements, testing, and engineering analyses

Our team assists the Federal Aviation Administration in safely reducing the impacts of aircraft wake separation on the capacity of the nation’s airports and airways while simultaneously increasing operational safety.


  • Aircraft wake measurement and behavior analysis
  • Weather sensor and system development support
  • Runway visual range sensor development and improvement
  • Advanced air traffic control procedure feasibility and benefit analysis
  • PNT applications

Wake Vortex Bibliography

This annotated bibliography consists of abstracts of publications on aircraft wake vortices, and experimental and theoretical articles that consider the formation, structure, motion, and decay of vortices and their effect on penetrating aircraft.

Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2019