Flight Path Considerations and Heavy Vortice Convergence

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Thaddeus

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Joined
Jul 9, 2014
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Location
Valparaiso, Indiana
I was doing some research on the Thorp T-18 and ran across a fatal in-flight disintegration after airline-rated pilot crossed a heavy's vortices above and behind the heavy's flight path 2 minutes after the heavy passed. Conventional wisdom is that the vortices sink at the same level as the wings although most accident encounters are above the flight path statistically. Found some photos of heavy's vortices visualized and marked it up for what I believe happens when a heavy's wing vortices converge as a heavy is passing. I think it creates something similar to a microburst in the convergence zone that begins way above and merges through the heavy's flight path. Because the convergence is from two rapidly rotating air masses, the potential for exceeding climb performance and airframe capacity is apparent. I'm attaching my marked-up illustration if anyone is interested.
 

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