The French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (“BEA”) has highlighted, in its 2021 activity report, the existence of a phenomenon that is little known within the aviation community: wake turbulence.
Wake turbulence is aerodynamic turbulence that forms behind an aircraft. It is caused by vortices forming at the tips of aircraft wings or helicopter blades.
The BEA stresses that “while the helicopter community is aware of the rotor blast, as shown in the flight manuals, the risk generated by wake turbulence seems to be poorly known and little taken into account”.
Yet this phenomenon is the cause of a number of accidents, notably involving paragliders.
To learn more, we invite you to refer to the investigation report “Accident of a paraglider involving the helicopter Airbus – EC135 – T2 PLUS registered F-HTIN which occurred on 11 May 2019 at Le Conquet (29)”.
The BEA has also published a video presentation of this phenomenon.