Wake Turbulence - C172 vs 737

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by SoCalAviator, Apr 12, 2022.

  1. SoCalAviator

    SoCalAviator Filing Flight Plan

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    The other day, I flew my Cessna 172S through a Boeing 737's wake turbulence at John Wayne/Orange Co. airport (KSNA/SNA).

     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2022
  2. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Seems to me like your instructor is not taking things as serious as I would want him to. At the beginning, there was an awful lot of distracting discussion going on at 200 feet over rather inhospitable terrain.

    Then the reaction to the wake turbulence (laughing it off) is not how I would react. You should have not landed that close to a heavy, you should have landed beyond the landing point of the heavy, etc. That crap can kill you quick. It is to be taken seriously.

    JMO
     
  3. FPK1

    FPK1 Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Great training video, thank you.

    Since the Tower told you turn base when you want, and since you knew wind direction and had 737 in sight, I probably would have extended my downwind longer to ensure wake turbulence was gone and then turned base and final....
     
  4. drummer4468

    drummer4468 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Completely agree that it's not a situation to be taken lightly, but I have no problem with the in-the-moment reaction. Yes, they should have extended a bit and landed longer. But once the vortex hit, there's really nothing you can do outside of "yep, that just happened, keep flying the airplane." May as well keep the (presumably new and spooked) student calm and reassured that they're still in control, especially in such a critical position. Of course I'd really drive home the gravity of it in post-flight briefing. "Yeah, that wasn't a catastrophic upset, but it made you aware of how quickly wake turbulence can overpower your flight controls."
     
  5. kaiser

    kaiser Line Up and Wait

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    Every time I feel the complacency creep in, I watch this video
     
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  6. pmanton

    pmanton En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Over 20 years ago I blundered into the wake of a C-17 up in WA State. I was flying a low wing plane and my head hit the canopy hard enough to punch a hole through it. I lost my headset through the hole. I pulled it back through by the cord, and one ear phone was gone--torn off. It felt like the plane was hit by a giant hammer.
    I learned my lesson well ! (David Clark repaired the headset free by the way. )
     
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  7. Nick Pilotte

    Nick Pilotte Pre-Flight

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    Kaiser, what altitude were you at AGL when you hit that? I’m just curious because it looks like a low glide slope, not accusing, just want to know. It looks terrifying.
     
  8. kaiser

    kaiser Line Up and Wait

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    Wasn’t me. This is a flightchops video. But the altimeter reads 280 MSL and CYTZ (Toronto downtown) sits at 250… so 30 AGL?
     
  9. Nick Pilotte

    Nick Pilotte Pre-Flight

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    Ah, sorry. The mutton chops on the avatar and the video gave me a brain fart.
     
  10. kaiser

    kaiser Line Up and Wait

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    We definitely look the same sometimes
     
  11. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I wouldn’t be too keen on flying with that instructor if that were me. Given those winds, he should’ve had wake turbulence at the forefront of his thought process. His lackadaisical behavior after experiencing that is concerning.
     
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  12. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    My Sideline quarterbacking for the OP...

    The Good....
    Looked to me like you kept the speed up, this allowed for good aileron control when the turbulence was encountered.
    I couldn't tell for sure but it looked to me like you were not quite full flap. Power wasn't required, but if it had been it would have been much more effective with less flap
    The pilots control response was immediate, minimizing the upset
    737 wake turbulence is one of the milder ones compared to some aircraft (like a 757), what you hit was about the worst I would have expected in your configuration and situation.

    The Not So Good.
    They warn you about Wake turbulence and we teach about it for a reason, I agree with some other posters that there should have been some better risk management and recognition on the potential risks. I would have liked to heard the pilot talk about it a bit. How I responded as a CFI would have depended on the OP's experience level. In teaching mode we would have talked risks and mitigation and I would have recommended corrective actions. In evaluation mode I would have probably been quiet and just made sure we didn't get into a corner I wasn't sure I could get out of, ie. get low, slow with full flaps prior to likely hitting the turbulence. Letting you hit some turbulence is something you will remember a lot longer than me just keeping you out it.

    Power setting didn't appear to be to bad (1500RPM) about the max I use for a normal approach. But a lower power steeper approach would have like kept you out of the wake turbulence.
    IMO most Single engine VFR aircraft should be approaching on the High Side of the VASI/PAPI lights. I couldn't seen any Visual approach indicators in the Video

    Getting lower over the approach end of the runway after a wake turbulence warning. It actually appeared you were a bit fast and high energy and the floated down the runway a ways, you brought it down to the runway early instead of staying on a bit higher approach path to a point past the touchdown point of the 737. From the conversation it appears you were trying to get it in shorter. Not really a good thing when dealing with potential wake turbulence

    Summary: it was a pretty minor wake turbulence encounter because you weren't excessively slow, reacted immediately, and it wasn't a severe hit of wake turbulence.

    -----
    A couple comments on the 2nd video.
    Dash-8's are pretty mild wake turbulence as well, But it became a big issue because of the low and slow approach along with the students slow or no reaction to the encounter. Full flaps may have made the recovery slower and more challenging but i don't know what the flap setting was.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASE
     
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  13. Rockymountain

    Rockymountain Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow. You guys are being a little kind to the CFI here. Maybe he was having a bad day, but to take a C172 in 2 mi behind a 737 is questionable judgment. To get in wake turbulence, and then calmly keep flying it into a landing is very very questionable. That was a full power go-around moment in my opinion. They were lucky the wake didn't strike again even closer to the ground. Very similar event just a few months ago in a much more powerful, higher wing loaded Cirrus, with a very experienced pilot, base to final into a wake, even with CAPs, the pilot, unfortunately died. He did live long enough to tell the first responders what happened before he died.

    https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media...hts-charlie-schneider-dies-after-cirrus-crash
     
  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That was an excellent opportunity to teach real life wake turbulence avoidance.

    I got caught up in the rotor wash of a CH-47 that cut across the runway unannounced in SVFR conditions. I have had smoother rides in a sprint car flip.
     
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  15. red4golf

    red4golf Line Up and Wait

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    My wake story...

    Sitting at the hold short line of RNWY 15 at KGRF on what was then known as Ft. Lewis (JBLM), I was told to hold for the opposite direction departure of a C-17. My CFI was a newly retired Cobra and Apache pilot and he was explaining that the 3 or 4 knot tailwind wouldn't effect them as much as it would us. Tower gave us our takeoff clearance and my CFI requested a 2 minute delay. I didn't understand this with my 10 or so total hours and was ready to go because I couldn't afford the extra money and had to get back to my unit after lunch. He kind of smiled as he set his timer and started to explain wake turbulence. He looked at his watch and literally said wait for it.... wait for it.... and then BAM! That poor little 152 was rocked and I bounced my head off of the frame. Then he calmly said "ok, let's go flying" or something similar. It was one of those lessons that stuck with me and I remember that moment as clearly as any.

    I often fly under the Class B around KSEA (SeaTac) and am fully aware of how much of a threat those big guys can present.

    I miss the club at KGRF. I was one of if not the last student to fly their planes before the Army closed them down but the lessons learned from those experienced aviators stuck. Fun memory of a contaminated runway and trying to make the go/no go decision as I watched a C12 land on ice and the ensuing hilarity saved for a different day.
     
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  16. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    You don't need a 737 to upset you. I was behind a 172 or 182 in an Auster, an airplane similar in size and weight to a 172, with the 172 heading for the pavement and me for the grass beside it. The Auster rolled left 90° and fell out of the vortex. This at about 100 feet.

    In my Jodel I was upset, again, by a 172. It was ahead of me on downwind.

    Getting into a 737's wake good and proper could rip your airplane apart.
     
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  17. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    SNA has a long history of dangerous wake turbulence encounters, including an infamous one that resulted in the fatal crash that killed the founder of the In-and-Out burger chain. The short, very close parallel runways combined with an intense mix of light GA and air carrier and business jets is just trouble waiting to happen. I've done some training out of SNA, and wake turbulence often gave me a pucker factor to consider.

    The instructor should have been watching where the 737 touched down, and should have been teaching the student to land past that point. Only a few seconds less separation could have resulted in a lose of control on short final, and a 172 pancaked on the 405.
     
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  18. bluerooster

    bluerooster Pattern Altitude

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    My encounter with WT was enroute to a fly in for the latest eclipse. I was overtaken by an Aero Commander. when he got out of sight, I'd forgotten about him. Then the airplane started rolling to the right. took quite a bit of input to coax it back to straight and level. This all about 10 miles from the destination, at about 1500 agl, in cruise flight. Not heavy and slow.
     
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  19. kell490

    kell490 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I grew up near Orange County Airport there was a parking garage across the 405 freeway where could watch the larger aircraft fly on final approach and because the marine layer created lot of humidity could see those big spirals of air coming off the tips of the wings. It was really cool to watch up close I wish I had gotten some pictures of it. This was in the late 1980's not even sure that parking garage is still there probably not.
     
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  20. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’ve flown a 737 behind another 737 and the wake can get pretty nasty
     
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