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Enroute A380 wake flips Challenger 604 upside down

A Challenger 604 at FL350 operating from Male-Abu Dhabi passed an A380 opposite direction at FL360, one thousand feet above, about 630nm southeast of Muscat, Oman, over the Arabian Sea. A short time later (1-2 minutes) the aircraft encountered wake turbulence sending the aircraft into an uncontrolled roll, turning the aircraft around at least 3 times (possibly even 5 times), both engines flamed out, the aircraft lost about 10,000 feet until the crew was able to recover the aircraft, restart the… ( 更多...

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ran3114 20
Many years ago I encounter wake turbulence piloting a PA-28 when a C-130 passed about 1,000 above me on the same heading in perfectly still air. Rolled over about 100 degrees but was able to recover with just a slight loss in altitude. An interesting experience for a 28 hour pilot!
Bill Babis 7
Good job and I'll bet since then you've been well aware of larger aircraft above your flight path.
ran3114 5
Indeed, and when following a larger aircraft landing noting its "touch-down" position and plan to "land long."
vector4traffic 1
Would ATC always inform of traffic above or are you suppose to rely on TCAS? I can't say I've ever heard of ATC warning of wake turbulence enroute.
Russ Hustead 1
I had Phoenix approach warn me of a heavy above and crossing me. I thought it unnecessary until the motorglider rocked in still air!
Highflyer1950 1
Yes, they give traffic advisories all the time, especially when the separation is only 1000', in a radar environment.
J Sandusky 1
I had about the same thing in a Tomahawk, only it was on final behind a C-130. I only had about 8 hours flight time and my instructor grabbed the wheel and put us over the taxi area until it had pulled out of the touch and go it was on. We muddled on down a ways and he slipped it back onto the runway and I landed. Wild ride though.
Charles Linenfelser 5
Flying a Metroliner into KRDU Raleigh, NC ATC had me in trail behind a 727. All of a sudden the aircraft went into a left roll to about 70 or 80 degrees and with full right aileron & rudder, the bank angle just hung locked for what appeared to be ten seconds or more before violently breaking loose. Got me some respect for 727's...Smile
Bill Babis 7
I had a similar experience long ago. I was fortunate enough to fly the corporate version of the Metro at the time, the Merlin IVC. We were VFR on an ILS into O'Hare at night following a BEA-146 when the plane started a right roll and full left aileron did not stop it. At something shy 90 bank the nose fell through and we exited the wake and quickly recovered to complete the landing. We were centered on the GS so I can only guess that the 146 came down above GS. To this day if following a heavier aircraft on an ILS I fly from the FAF one dot high on the GS and touchdown beyond the previous arrival.
Tom Pera 1
Cherokee pilot asked for short approach behind PSA 727... had 2 DC8s on final for pilot check rides..Cherokee wanted to beat the 8s... warned of "wake turbulence" and cleared to land... was plenty of legal room for his arrival ..... plane flipped into the ground - 2 died....
Bill Babis 13
The report stated that the Challenger crew observed the A380 pass 1000' overhead in the opposite direction. At that point, who doesn't request or simply do a mile or 2 offset left or right for a few minutes to get out from under the wake? Its not like it isn't going to be there. They hit it exactly when they should have with no evasive action. They learned a harrowing and expensive lesson but thankfully not a fatal one.
bentwing60 4
"or simply do a mile or 2 offset left or right for a few minutes", Spot on. The airway has the latitude left or right built in. By the time you ask for it and get it, you are standin on your ear sayin WTH. By the time you are "El Heffe" on a CL600 wake turbulence should not be a mystery. And I can't believe an A380 in any config. isn't worse that a 75 in its worst.
Brian Westfall 0
I would not have anticipated that at cruise and opposite direction.
Bill Babis 2
You have to envision where they are. The two vortices slowly move toward each other and fall around 500fpm. They generally dissipate in 5 minutes or so. Since it would only take them about 2 minutes to drop into your flight path, they would still be quite strong as this crew found out. If there is a crossing angle at all, the problem is mitigated but if it is dead on you need to move over for a short while.
btweston -3
You have no idea what you are talking about. Congratulations.
Who are you replying to, Babis? What's incorrect?
Brian Rushfeldt -4
and so pilot was supposed to alter without ATC approval? NOT . by the time they requested approval where do you think the a/c would be?
Bill Babis 8
I love ATC. Without them I could not do my job but Its called PIC for a reason. Not CIC. In an 8 mile wide airway there is plenty of room to go around a suspected wake encounter. No ATC blessing needed. If the freq is not busy I'll let them know what I'm doing and usually get a thank you.
What exactly are you saying??? Your sentences contradict each other!!!
Tom Pera 1
pilot always in charge... make the move and advise... safety first... not ATC approval... as a controller always responded positively to pilots requests or explanations when safety involved
Dave Mathes 5
...let's see, the 604 gets thrashed to the point of being totalled and still brings everyone back...I'd say a KUDOs goes out to the flight crew and Bombardier for keeping it together :-)
Just my opinion...
Ant Miraa 1
I agree. Remember the crj that got hit by an a380 at JFK? The plane was in one piece..
Chris B 4
Maybe the RVSM standards need to be revisited for these larger aircraft. No doubt this will require years of studying.....
First, a consulting agency will have to be found. Prior to that, consulting fees will have to be procured!!!
Andreas Goedde 2
Totally plausible. My flight instructor and I were flipped 360° in a Cessna 172 when a FedEx MD-11 on an opposite heading en route to OAK passed 1000 feet overhead as we crossed SUNOL intersection. ATC had warned us of possible wake turbulance. I never saw it coming because I was under a hood getting instrument training. The clipboard with the charts wound up in the cargo compartment and the CFII hit his head on the cabin ventilator tube coming out of the wing at the uper right hand corner of the windshield. He had quite a gash in his forehead and we immediately returned to get him medical help.
Tony Perez 2
So did you pass your checkride??
Sidney Smith 2
I had an Air New Zealand 744 come over the top of me in a CE-550. We were at 370 and he was descending from 390 to 330 about 10 miles ahead. That poor Citation II never knew what hit it. We were every which way but straight for a few moments. With the closer RVSM tolerances I suspect more of these things will occur in the future. Wake Turbulence, it's not just for an airport environment any more. 15 years later, I still thank the engineers at Cessna for that stout, straight winged machine.
How the heck did they fit that 744 in the Slowtation!!!
Sidney Smith 1
We were well known as one of the great aerial road blocks in the sky to many controllers. Our motto go high and slow. Gave the guys working the high altitude scopes something to think about rather than just ride reports.
Bill Babis 1
Yeah, I used to complain sometimes but now I are one with my current CJ ride. As far as weight, I've got to watch out for just about everything up there. One thing I've noticed though, in getting me out of the way of the burners, I get lots of shortcuts. On STARs I get cut toward the destination and then put back in the flow closer in. On SIDs I'll usually get something down the road or direct destination when in front of faster traffic. I'd love to go faster but all you can do is all you can do.
Bobby Caudill 2
I took off from KRIC one day one a long Cross country. I taxied and was cleared for takeoff shortly after CRJ 9. At about 1000ft alt I encountered wake turbulence from the jet. My 152 went to about 90 degrees before I got it back to flat and level. It happened so quick I didn't have time to think
Peter Steitz 3
Bobby, you don't get separation from a small 90 seat jet. When I was a commercial pilot, we didn't even get separation behind a 757 until there were upsets and unions protested.
Bobby Caudill 1
It happened so quick. Before I knew it I was thinking to myself what the hell was that. Hehe
Cansojr 1
I accidentally opened the lower digestive hatch when a RCAF P-3C flew much to close to us. I was teaching gliding to some Air Cadets. We were at 4,000' when he violated our designated airspace. I conducted an emergency release and I instigated a hard descending roll to port when the turbulence hit us like a sledgehammer. I thought that the wings on the Schweitzer 2-33 came off.I landed safely but grounded the glider. There was structural damage done to the starboard wing attachment flange and bolt. Both were bent. A P3 creates enormous vortices and massive downdrafts from the Detroit Allison T56 gas turbines. I have lost engines and the general gamut of emergencies but this incident really scared me s%&t(=$$. After flying I spent a lot of time thinking about it and my mortality. I had a few unpleasant words for the ATC and the over curious moron who nearly killed us. It was just as interesting for a 7,000 hour pilot. ran3114 I'm glad you told us about your recovery, Sh××hot!
Jim Capone 1
wow! all I can say to that!
Bill Babis 1
The title of the article is more likely what happened. After being unexpectedly flipped upside down, the wake encounter was over and now the crew was faced with recovery. The autopilot would not like it and disconnect causing a slight pitch up which is now down. At this point the quick recovery is push and roll the short way to level. Failing to to this, the plane will gain speed rapidly engines or no engines and any further rolling is just the ailerons being out of position and that may explain the 3-5 reported rolls. Its a long fast road to level if pulling from inverted and any bank increases the chance of overload. Apparently the 604 is a tough bird and held together. The crew did a good job to land and have everybody walk away. In an excellent job they would have been able to reuse the plane.
Peter Steitz 1
Here's a link to the incident. Picture of the cabin after rolling. I assume it is real.
Eric Lozen 1
Horrifying,especially for the passengers. Obviously the pilots did one hell of a job in recovering the out of control jet. This easily could have ended up as a very tragic loss of life!
anthony mchale 1

Interesting article. Really enjoyed the story. Thought I would share.
Joao Ponces 1
Not only the A380! One of the worst planes for wake turbulence is the B-757! Although not being so big, is classified as heavy buy ATC and uses same separation as the B-747. My son, on a A320 was almost killed by one, on approach to LHR, a few years ago...
The info I was looking for. Thanks JP.
paul trubits 1
And that is why I sit in the back.
John Hagg 1
What happened to the 3 mile horizontal separation requirement?
3 miles laterally not horizontally. 1000' horizontal is normal seperation.
John Hagg 1
Hi Brian, lateral is horizontal. The 1000' separation is vertical. :)
yes sorry i meant vertical 1000...
John Hagg 1
No worries Brian.
Dave Fisher 1
didn't it used to be 2000' several years ago?
John Hagg 3
Vertical separation was 2000' at one time, but has been lowered to 1000'. Also, horizontal, (aka: lateral separation), is 3nm based upon flight level. I can't find any changes to that rule.
Dave Fisher 1
thank you, john
John Hagg 1
You're welcome Dave.
at one time above 27000 yes but with modern eqpt. changed a while ago - not sure when.
Robert Fleury 2
Changes started to happen in 2005 with differences in the level and timeframe of implementation around the world. As far as lateral/horizontal separation, the notion includes crossing tracks, opposite directions, longitudinal, etc. 3nm radar separation is a TCU standard with high RPM primary/secondary radars. Enroute generally uses 5nm but maybe increased to 10nm in special circumstances. The standard is generally linked to the monitoring equipment's capabilities. Small deviations on an airway system at high altitude is certainly acceptable to shelter from a suspected WT possibility but would be very unadvisable in a TCU 3nm standard on vectors prior ATC approval. With respect to the WT, it is understood that the vortices are sinking at 500fpm but they are also drifting according to the horizontal movement of the air mass. Hence, which way and how far would you go not to be under them when you are flying at A/C that has corrected for drift to stay on the middle of an airway/track? Guess work if you ask me! Vortices don't correct for drift... Good article on Wiki:
Highflyer1950 2
That's an easy one, upwind!
Peter Steitz 1
Robert--Nice explanation. Takeoff separation used to be 5 minutes behind a heavy. That became 3 minutes or even less if the heavy turned after departure or you had a turn. You could always reject takeoff clearance but then you might have to go back in line with the others. The standard takeoff clearance became "Cleared for takeoff. Caution wake turbulance. Contact departure on XXX.XX". You were now on your own. Hopefully, rotate before he did and climb above his path. On an approach, stay above the GP and touchdown after him. Crossing runways is a whole nother ballgame as well as an IMC approach where you can't see him and have to get down to minimums. Better be 5 miles in trail.
Tony Perez 1
If you're referring to the same direction, then it's 2000'. 1,000 feet is traffic from the opposite direction.
An A320 captain told me he got a nasty surprise 12 miles in trail of a 747 several years ago.....beware of the wake........
The Aviation Herald article mentioned several similar incidents with A380's. I just wonder, have there been similar occurrences with B747's?
Bill Babis 3
It was encounters with 747s in the early 70s that really got the wake turbulence concerns and separation minimums rolling you might say.
Ed Merriam 1
also at KSNA we had the president of In-n-Out die 1993 after following 2 mi. behind a 757
James Simms 1
American 587 in November 2001 out of JFK was indirectly attributed to wake turbulence when the Co-pilot over used the rudder controls in response to the wake turbulence. JFK tower contacted 587 warning them of potential wake. Sure there have been other, less notorious events.
Highflyer1950 1
It's pretty easy to do a lateral offset when going in the same direction knowing the a/c type, however, opposite direction traffic is normally called out by ATC when in a radar environment......out over the water, not so much! I would have thought that CL604 could at least get to FL380 off the deck which puts most heavy traffic below him?
Forensics1 1
All other possible mistakes aside, like why did it happen, it looks like Challenger 604 pilots did a fantastic recovery. What a sudden surprise that must have been. Practice, practice, practice, drill, drill, drill... keeps people alive to fly again.
we used to provide extra spacing for a/c in terminal area following heavy and a warning. seems the extra heavy may need more everywhere.
Ken Jackson 1
I guess the 380's are going to need isolated routes. Or maybe we need to create more airspace!
Roy Thomas 0
Gives new insight into American flight 587
Mike Williams 0
The operator of the Challenger should have charged extra for the thrill ride. A higher entity was in control. I feel the 1000 feet clearance might be raised. Great crew.
Jeff Phipps 0
If I read this in some rag I would call this BS but reading the reported incident and the comments I guess it's true. I'm shocked that the challenger was lost in this incident.
W S Webb 0
Actual altitude separation could be 600 feet and legal. Both aircraft are 200 feet off assign altitude. Seen this as a center controller and my IFR Check ride.
Jim DeTour 1
Playing everything by the numbers these days and after this it might be a good time for ATC's to possibly include weight ratings for calculating separations. At least do a study of what the A380 weight was, near max I'd guess. Or the new Al Qaeda trick of load tail heavy putting out more wake. Would be nice to see how the A380 was also flight configured.
W S Webb 2
This problem is known by NTSB and FAA. Everybody follows the rules and is dead right. After the investigation. it will be called "pilot error." and life will go on.
Nico Arreman -8
Yes, the power of the engines of the A380 are huge, you should always ensure that there is more than enough distance to 3000 feet below it, and fly never behind it.
Engine size is not a contributing factor to wake turbulence.. lift genterated by the wings is.
Peter Steitz 5
It's not the engine blast that causes wake turbulence. It's the wing tip vortices that turn inward and downward. When 1000 feet below a heavy, you're in the target zone. Every commercial pilot should know this. We now practice "upset recovery" on checkrides. ATC has a responsibility here to not allow you to pass under a heavy and should advise you of the situation so you can deviate to the side.
Indeed, when I fly the Cherokee, I speed up and pass the 380's so I could fly in front of them...
Peter Steitz 1
Great tactic! Takes care of all the problem.


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