Caution Wake Turbulence ATC Emergency Landing

Was wake turbulence a factor in this emergency landing? What do you think?

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina - On Saturday, December 28, 2019, a Piper PA-32RT crashed approximately one-quarter mile east of the airport as it was taking off from Runway 17, and was partially consumed by fire adjacent to the Asheville Regional Airport, Asheville, North Carolina. Thankfully, all five people on board were able to exit the plane and were not seriously injured, according to an Emergency Services spokesman.

The Piper took off immediately following American Airlines flight 5319. The Air Traffic Control Tower warned the Piper aircraft by saying “caution wake turbulence” for their departure following the American Airlines airplane, a Bombardier CRJ-900LR. Wake turbulence is especially hazardous in the region behind an aircraft in the takeoff or landing phases of flight. During take-off and landing, aircraft operate at high angle of attack. This flight attitude maximizes the formation of strong vortices, known as wake turbulence. In the vicinity of an airport there can be multiple aircraft, all operating at low speed and low altitude, and this provides extra risk of wake turbulence with reduced height from which to recover from any upset. Wake turbulence avoidance is therefore very important.

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