Sept. 22, 2016

As part of an ongoing review by the FAA of aircraft wake turbulence separation standards, several Southern California airports will be designated as able to benefit from the reduced separation.

Beginning Sept. 26, control towers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), John Wayne Airport (SNA), San Diego International Airport (SAN), Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Bob Hope Airport (BUR), along with Southern California TRACON (SCT), will be able to provide separation based on the new RECAT Phase II separation matrix, improving the efficiency of traffic being handled by these facilities.

This effort is aimed at trying to reduce the spacing between aircraft – a process called “wake turbulence recategorization” or “Wake RECAT.” This process allows controllers to be more specific in how they space aircraft, using type and performance data, rather than just aircraft weight.

The RECAT effort is now in phase two, where pairs of aircraft are designated as “leaders” and “followers” and assigned to a wake category.

For SCT, the wake categories are:

  • Category A: The A388
  • Category B: Upper heavy aircraft
  • Category C: Lower heavy aircraft
  • Category D: Large aircraft.
  • Category E: Small plus aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 15,400 pounds up to 41,000 pounds.
  • Category F: Small aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 15,400 pounds or less.
  • Category G: Heavy aircraft not included in Category B or C.

Learn more about SCT implementation. (PDF)