Monday, 13 May 2002: 2:00 PM
Low altitude windshear at major Australian Airports and the Risks to Aviation
Low altitude wind shear and its potential impact on aircraft during landing and takeoff is well understood. In general, the wind shear events that present the greatest risk to aircraft are those associated with convective activity, specifically gust fronts and downbursts, and such events have resulted in several major accidents involving large transport aircraft overseas. In Australia there have been few aircraft accidents or incidents attributed to low altitude wind shear. This is largely because these events are small scale and only affect the approach/departure flight corridor for a short period of time; the traffic density has been relatively low and air traffic control policies have been conservative. As a result the perceived level of risk associated with low level wind shear for aviation has been low. However, there have been two serious air safety incidents attributed to wind shear in the past two years which demonstrate there are significant risks. This paper will briefly describe these two air safety incidents, give some background on past studies that have been done and describe plans to better assess the level of risk associated with wind shear at major airports.