Wingtip Vortices

I
stumbled upon this picture on the net and realized that I have
noticed similar vortices when I fly commercial airlines. Being the
commerce student that I am, I was wondering whether the trailing
whites were because of change in the altitude or temperature.
Reading up on these was very interesting and also scientifically
answers why a flock of birds fly in V
formation.

Also scared to fly in the flimsy ATR
(propellar) aircrafts from now on. It seems the wingtip vortices
from large aircrafts may destabilize smaller aircrafts following
them, especially while taking off and landing. The landing and take
off of ATRs are as such a thrilling experience, now they are going
to be more so.

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2 Responses to “Wingtip Vortices”

  1. Girish Says:

    Don’t be scared. ATRs are robust aircraft. Wingtip vortices typically remain only for a few seconds behind an aircraft. They are sometimes (rarely) known to last for upto 3 minutes. ATCs and seasoned pilots know about this danger. The chances of your plane (when you are flying a typical passenger liner) getting caught in the wingtip vortice of a large plane is practically zero. However if you even plan to fly a small light plane just behind a large jet (which no ATC would allow in the first place), you might need to think twice about it!

  2. Allen Says:

    As a pilot and aerospace engineer, I thought I’d try to alleviate some of your nerves about the wing tip vortices.

    You really have very little to worry about in regard to tip vortices. Even in the ATR turboprops there is little chance the turbulence behind a large jet could effect them. Plus, the air traffic control at the airports where you see large jets keeps planes far enough apart to avoid the interference.

    In addition pilots are trained to specifically avoid situations where the vortices could be dangerous.

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