Vortices, And The Home Roof Makeover


Most pilots know the dangers of wake turbulence from heavy jets but residents near Sydney Airport in Australia have also become educated on its effect. Unfortunately for them, they can’t steer their vortex-ravaged homes away from the peril. Since 2000, there have been at least 21 reports of damage caused by wingtip vortices from low-flying aircraft on approach to Sydney. Airservices Australia has paid almost $25,000 AUD to repair the homes. Most of the homes are roofed with heavy clay tiles, which weigh up to five pounds each. The wind gets under them and dislodges them, sometimes causing them to slide down the roof and onto the sidewalk below. “That is another reason why we’re always on the lookout. Our property is right on the street,” said Gordon Neilson, who’s had his roof repaired four times since 2002. The damage occurs on especially calm days when there is no natural wind to disperse the vortices, which fall away from the overflying aircraft. Airservices Australia says it has no plans to change traffic patterns in and out of Sydney and will keep fixing the neighbors’ roofs.