Helicopter wake encounters in the context of RECAT-EU

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Jiminez-Garcia, A.
Barakos, G.N.
Treve, V.
Rooseleer, F.
Cappellazzo, V.
Graham, R.
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This work presents a first attempt to apply the RECAT-EU (European Wake Turbulence Categorisation and Separation Minima) methodology of fixed-wing aircraft separation to helicopters. The approach is based on a classification of helicopters in categories using their rotor diameter and weight combined with wake comparisons between different classes of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Where necessary the upset caused by a wake encounter to a simple helicopter model is used to establish safe separation distances. The work is based on a very limited amount of data for wake strengths but shows that the principles of the RECAT-EU methodology are directly applicable to helicopters at least for landing and take-off. This research calls for further measurements of helicopter wakes with modern methods so that the suggested separation distances can be further ascertained and ultimately refined allowing for better and safer integration of fixed and rotary-wing traffic at airports.