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Crabbing during a crosswind landing Arial view of a runway indicating crosswind turbulence

Airport crosswind safeguarding

Mott MacDonald is one of the world’s most experienced consultancies, providing aerodrome safeguarding services globally. We have broad expertise in all aspects of aerodrome safeguarding, including design advisory to airports, developers and planners, assessing the impact of wind turbines and producing obstacle surveys.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model
Analysing the impact of structures on crosswind conditions
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Analysing the impact of structures on crosswind conditions Wind interacting with a terminal and supporting buildings.

To date more than 60 projects have been carried out on low level turbulence. Using an internationally-recognised set of criteria, our aviation specialists have assessed the impact of new and existing developments on prevailing crosswinds at airports including Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Hong Kong International Airport – two of the top ten biggest airports.

In an aviation environment where safety is paramount, this unique expertise is now only available through Mott MacDonald.

Why is addressing crosswind crucial?

An analysis undertaken by the Flight Safety Foundation of approach and landing accidents between 1980 and 1996 contains the following conclusions:

  • 85% of crosswind incidents occur at landing
  • Adverse wind conditions are a factor in one-third of the approach and landing incidents
  • Two-thirds of the excursions occurred when at least two of the weather factors rain, fog or crosswind were present

From these statistics it is clear that crosswind plays a crucial role in flight safety. Since crosswind conditions are directly influenced by the airport infrastructure, we can also conclude that this also plays a key role in preventing excursions. ICAO’s Aerodrome Meteorological Observing Systems Study Group (AMOSSG) actively researches this topic as objects not only influence the anemometers, but also have an impact on the representativeness of the reported wind.

Mott MacDonald is proud to be at the forefront of this drive for continuous improvements to aviation safety.

Key services

  • Analysis of existing and planned airport infrastructure – the effects on approaching and landing aircraft, and on aircraft taking-off
  • Reporting and recommendations on planned objects, such as hangars and terminals
  • Understanding the influence of the built-up environment on the measurements of anemometers
  • Advice on impact to operations to airport operators and air traffic control authorities
  • Advisory services for developers on projects co-located next to airports
  • Critical investment analysis for key clients – a key piece of analysis where large buildings are located on or close to an airport, particularly where there are difficult prevailing wind conditions

How we add value

  • Through computational fluid dynamics we provide analysis of the impact of structures on crosswind conditions at airports prior to the investment decision
  • We help clients understand future runway preference for differing prevailing wind conditions so that airfield operations can be optimised
  • We help optimise the shape and layout of airport developments, and where practicable, minimise building related turbulence

In addition to low level wind analysis, we also carry out a wide range of metrological analysis for airports to assess the availability of runways through wind and visibility constraints as part of our master planning, design and due diligence services. This helps to optimise the operational performance of the airport as well as determining the metrological and navigational equipment and services needed.

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