I'm a structural engineer and I need to understand the additional forces that wake turbulence may cause on a building near a runway.

I can determine the natural wind speed and associated forces on the building, but I need to calculate the additional wind forces/ turbulence (or airflow velocities) caused by aircraft operating on a nearby runway.

The runway is 3,400m (11000 ft) long, and the position of the building is 800 meters along the extended runway centreline and 300 meters to the side of it. These measurements are from the very end of the paved surface (which I will have to assume to be the first/ last possible contact point from the aircraft for the design of the building). The runway is approached by (and departed from) that end.

How do I calculate the airflow velocities at ground level below an aircraft (assume an Airbus A380) at the building's location? The surrounding ground is flat and level.

  • $\begingroup$ This would certainly help. I guess I also need to work out the rate of rise of the aircraft, so that I can calculate the height of the aircraft 800m from lift off (or touch down!) $\endgroup$
    – Andy Leigh
    Nov 24, 2021 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not capable of answering your question, but some clarification could be helpful to others who are capable. "Wind speed" refers to natural wind (weather). Are you asking about how to calculate the airflow velocities created by a departing aircraft's wake turbulence (wing tip vorticies and downwash)? $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2021 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ Oddly specific, but still too vague: Which end of the runway? How long is the runway? Aircraft weight and runway length will affect altitude as it flies over. How accurate do you want the answer? And what are you actually trying to do, learn the process of calculating it, or looking for an estimate of something you experienced the effect of? It might be easier to just measure it… $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2021 at 6:51
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    $\begingroup$ Hello Andy Leigh, welcome to aviation.stackexchange. I took some of the information you provided in the now deleted answer and merged it into the question. I also did a general restructuring of the question, to the best of my understanding of its intention. Can you check whether I have captured the essentials and adjust if needed? $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Nov 26, 2021 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ Departing aircraft do not lift-off at the last possible moment, and they climb steeper that landing aircraft descent. Therefore they are higher up when they pass the building. I think the critical case will be the landing. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Nov 26, 2021 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


I can't really answer the question with accurate numbers, but have a look at these studies:

  1. Reducing turbulence near airports - DLR tests new procedures to mitigate wake vortices- DLR 2013
  2. Mitigating Wake Turbulence Risk During Final Approach via Plate Lines - DLR 2020

They may be a starting point for finding an accurate answer.

At Frankfurt international airport, they have constructed a new runway about 10 years ago. There are buildings at the same relative position as yours, (800 meter longitudinal, 300 meter lateral) that were there before the runway was constructed. As far as I know, that does not pose any problems with wake turbulence. However, this runway is not used by the A380 and B747 (but it is used by B777 aircraft)


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