Wake Turbulence Timers?

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  1. #1
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    Wake Turbulence Timers?

    In the Northwest Mountain Region, electronic wake turbulence timers have been used since the mid-70s or so. Over the past 5+ years, I developed replacements for these aging, unserviceable timers, which have been well-received by ATC and passed a year-long evaluation period at 10 airports in the region, including SEATAC, Boeing Field and Paine Field.

    As far as I have been able to determine and as far as the FAA (here at least) knows, purpose-built wake turbulence timers aren't in use anywhere else. Do you guys know any different? The response of the controllers I've talked to has been tremendous, and it's hard for me to believe that other regions haven't used something beyond egg timers and stopwatches.

    Seems like this simple aid lets you guys focus on the important details with large visible digits showing remaining time and a gentle tone indicating the end of the timeout.

    If you've actually used the timers in the Northwest Mountain Region, I'd appreciate any comments you have, good or bad, about the timers.

    Thanks,

    Jon

  2. #2
    Stinger's Avatar
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    The region's timers...Sometimes had to hold the 2/3 minute button for it to start correctly. Seemed to start at 2 minutes even when the 3 minute button was pushed unless you either held it for longer or wiggled it.
    Haven't tried any timers other than those. Other facilities didn't have anything...just look at the clock and be kinda accurate and it's all good.

  3. #3
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    Was that the old AWTT3 timer? Two red LED displays and green/yellow/orange buttons as I recall. That type is one of them that my new timers replaced.

    I've heard it was junk even when it was new, and that the interval you got was anybody's guess. That timer created some pushback on the new timers. With the old timers, the countdown started when you released the button instead of when the button was pressed. No, I'm not going to create a design where releasing the button started the countdown

  4. #4
    Stinger's Avatar
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonSea View Post
    Was that the old AWTT3 timer? Two red LED displays and green/yellow/orange buttons as I recall. That type is one of them that my new timers replaced.

    I've heard it was junk even when it was new, and that the interval you got was anybody's guess. That timer created some pushback on the new timers. With the old timers, the countdown started when you released the button instead of when the button was pressed. No, I'm not going to create a design where releasing the button started the countdown
    Basically. Two lines with one timer on each line. Either could be set to 2 or 3 minutes with the appropriate button. I think they were tan and green. Maybe a cancel button in there too?
    Pushing the button in puts the appropriate time on the display, and then when the button is released is when it starts counting down. I remember seeing Tech Ops pull one out of the cabinet and it was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.

    EDIT: Here's a picture of one. Apparently from your website, so I'm assuming you're familiar with that picture!

  5. #5
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    Indeed, I am somewhat familiar with it

    I believe all of those AWTT3s have met the scrap heap - I think they were all pulled out and replaced as part of the evaluation testing. This one had been dead for some time - the sand timers have taken its place.

    The new timers feature 1 touch starting of 2, 3, 4 and 5 minute periods - if the 2 minute button is pressed for over 5 seconds, it switches to a 4 minute countdown, and the 3 minute switches to 5 minutes in the same way.

    After starting, if wake turbulence is waived, pressing another button cancels the in-process countdown and starts a new one of the selected time.

    My website is www.waketurbulencetimers.com since you brought it up. The controllers here love the new timers, and when somebody suggested they should be pulled out at the end of the evaluation period.... let's just say the controllers made their opinion pretty empathetically and the subject was dropped.

  6. #6
    Stinger's Avatar
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonSea View Post
    I believe all of those AWTT3s have met the scrap heap - I think they were all pulled out and replaced as part of the evaluation testing. This one had been dead for some time
    Got some friends still at the facility, they're still using those timers. Have them at the ground and local positions.

  7. #7
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stinger View Post
    Got some friends still at the facility, they're still using those timers. Have them at the ground and local positions.

    Which location is that, if I may ask.

  8. #8
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    I'm curious how most Controllers keep track of wake turbulence times where dedicated timers aren't used (which seems to be most of the country). I know hourglass egg timers are in common use here where the retired timers failed. I've heard stopwatches are used too.

  9. #9
    eltors0's Avatar
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    Re: Wake Turbulence Timers?

    Just mark the time when the aircraft has begun rotating for departure referencing the FAA clock and go from there.
    EAA Airventure 2017 KOSH
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