Caution Wake Turbulence for the Departing Boeing 757


“Cessna 9130D, caution wake turbulence for the departing Boeing 757, Runway 25, cleared for takeoff.” Gulp!

Never fear, ATC is here to protect you against the hazards of wake turbulence. No kidding. ATC uses very specific rules to help you remain clear of wake turbulence. We’ll look at those rules and how to work within them in today’s show. (Notice how I never mention the Boeing 777 in today’s show. I have no idea why I left it out.)

Next, a short story about a pilot called Mr. Stupid. He had weird ideas about how to cope with slower moving aircraft in a controlled airport pattern.

How do you respond to an ATC instruction to change frequencies? The AIM has specific guidance. Let’s see if you follow that guidance when you fly.

My lastest book, Radio Mastery for IFR Pilots, is in the hands of a large editing task force comprised of pilots and air traffic controllers. I’ll tell you why in this week’s show.

All this, plus your Question of the Week.

Correction (5-4-15): I just had a tower controller point something out. There is an error in the segment on wake turbulence separation in this show. When a large aircraft takes off from an intersection ahead of a small aircraft, the small aircraft must delay 3 minutes for wake turbulence. This rule for separation only applies if the 2 aircraft are more than 500 feet apart as they sit on the runway, prior to takeoff. I said in the podcast this rule applies anytime the larger aircraft weighs more than 12,500 pounds.

Actually, the AIM defines a small aircraft, for this single rule for separation, as weighing 12,500 pounds or less. It does not follow that a large aircraft is one that weighs more than 12,500 pounds as I incorrectly said in the show. The ATC Manual, J.O. 7110.65, defines a large aircraft as one that weighs more than 41,000 pounds and a small aircraft is one that weighs 41,000 pounds or less. The inconsistency between the AIM and the ATC Manual on this matter tripped me up. I’ll correct the information in the audio show when I return from vacation. (Would you believe I’m writing this from Hawaii? Yes, rather than enjoy paradise, I’m busy sweating the details of separation for wake turbulence. I gotta chill out!)

Note: Due to time constraints at on the day Radar Contact was released, there are no show notes for this show.

Your Question of the Week:

The FAA’s NextGen program is on it’s way and it will eventually affect all pilots flying general aviation aircraft. A key feature of NextGen is the replacement of conventional air traffic control radar with equipment that monitors aircraft position, altitude and airspeed using a transmit and receive system called ADS-B. When fully implemented, almost all aircraft operating in the following airspace will be required to have ADS-B installed and operating. ADS-B Out will be required in the following airspace:

  • Class A, B, and C
  • Class E airspace areas at or above 10,000 ft MSL over the 48 states and DC, excluding airspace at and below 2,500 ft AGL
  • Airspace within 30 nautical miles (nm) at certain busy airports from the surface up to 10,000 feet MSL; airports listed in appendix D to part 91.
  • Above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area up to 10,000 feet MSL
  • Class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico at and above 3,000 feet MSL within 12 nm of the coastline of the United States.

Here are your questions: By what date must almost all aircraft, operating in the airspace described above, have ADS-B Out installed and operational. What aircraft will be exempt from the requirement to have ADS-B Out.

When you think you know the answer to those questions, go for complete answers as well as a full explanation of how those answers were derived.


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4 thoughts on “Caution Wake Turbulence for the Departing Boeing 757”

  1. Hello Charlotte,

    Are you asking that question in general, or are you asking because of something I said on this page?

    Air traffic controllers will always be needed. If you think about flying without air traffic controllers, the situation would be similar to what you get on streets and highways–absolute chaos.

    All the best,

  2. Great podcast. Good info for VFR aircraft.
    Just 2 quick notes-
    1) The 3 min intersection wake turbulence applies only if the Cessna was departing at the intersection downfield from the bigger falcon. The theory being cessnas flight path will be lower than the Falcon and will be unable to escape it’s wake by climbing. 3 minutes would dissipate it completely.

    2) the separation info was on current for most airports but keep in mind that FAA rolled out RECAT (wake recatorgorization) at select airports.
    A big change is the b757 falling into the same category as 737

    1. Thank you for the clarification and the reference, Sam. I didn’t know about the reclassification of aircraft for wake turbulence separation. Good to know!


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