Wednesday, 29 March 2017


A British national daily among other media outlets has been running with a story that a Bombardier Challenger business jet encountered wake turbulence from an Airbus A380 over the Indian Ocean. The story says that the encounter was so severe that the bizjet was rolled inverted and lost 10,000 feet in altitude. Photos of the cabin interior show total devastation and when the aircraft was diverted to Muscat, Oman, some passengers were taken to hospital.

But wait a minute, the A380 has been in service for over 10 years and there are now more than 200 of them criss-crossing the skies every day. Much of the world's upper airpsace is operated on reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM), meaning that vertical separation between opposite direction aircraft is 1,000 feet.

So why hasn't this happened before? We know that the A380 has a higher wake turbulence category but if it was dragging around vortices capable of inverting a sizeable business jet, surely there would have been more severe wake turbulence reports by now?

Or perhaps there is something we don't know...

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