Tip Vorticies - frequency by aircraft?

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
So seeing as my job involves being outside for long periods under the glide path to one of O'Hare's shorter runways (9L/27R), I've had great opportunity to observe the various aircraft on approach. One thing I've noticed is the tendency of MD-80 variants to leave more and stronger tip vortices than other light aircraft*. Today one was trailing in a clear blue sky. Is there a particular design reason for this?

*e.g. ERJ-145 and 175, B737, A320, and Bombardier Challenger and Global families, among others.


Closed Account
tip vortices are more common with narrow chord (front to back distance) wings, and are countered by winglets - the MD80 does have a particularly narrow wingtip, and winglets would be a refit on most of them I think - so they may not be fitted as commonly as on more modern types.

Also, and this is pure speculation on my part, having no engines on that wing means there is no "fence" part way along it to physically block spanwise airflow part way along.


Closed Account
I should clarify that these are flap tip vorticies, not wingtip vortices.

Same points apply - in this case there is a single very wide span flap, whereas an air raft with wing mounted engines usually has its flaps in 2 sections - inboard and outboard of the engines.

That said flap tip vortices are very common, and I'm not sure you are really seeing any difference in frequency.
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