Wake turbulence could happen to you!
John Lauby
1 Posts

I was departing  25 at Hatteras KHSE on a calm day in my Cherokee 235. An Osprey had landed on the start of the runway 25, then hovered for 3 minutes and departed at low level flight the entire  length of the runway turning left traffic out to the ocean. I back taxied 25 to depart to the west. Did mag checks before back taxi.  Turned around headed down 25 to fly home.  At between 60 to 80 feet I banked right to 270 degrees.  Instantly wake turbulence flipped left wing over to two o’clock. I thought the controls had broken as I was looking out windshield top at trees and ground. I pushed down elevator, full left rudder, then left aileron in that order thinking I would be a yard dart if controls are gone. It was about one second which seemed like three minutes and she began to roll back over and righted herself. I have over 1000 hours 800 in this Cherokee and still feel lucky to have lived through this. I’m telling this  story to let other pilots know wake or prop turbulence is a serious situation not to be taken lightly.  Hatteras is not controlled as ATC would have warned me. Before this I still would not have been concerned. I have a new respect for wake/prop turbulence.  There are many osprey flights here in NC. Just know on calm days turbulence remains around for a long time from those big props. John A Lauby base KFAY 
17 Replies
To set the stage.........It's a hot day in Northern California's Sacramento Valley (Redding) with smoke in the air.  I'm doing a pre flight on my Cessna 150 and watching the air tankers take off and land as there is a large fire to east.  I taxi out thinking I'll just wait until they clear the runway when the control tower says take off without delay and "caution for wake turbulence". Well let me tell you, wake turbulence is not your friend...........It was pure mush!
Beware the helicopters taxing parallel to the runway.

I've been cleared to land at airports hosting Nat Guard heilos.  They are often taxing BESIDE the area I will touch down on a parallel taxiway.  I always overfly them and land beyond them or go around if there will not be enough runway left to execute a safe landing.  "Tower - Going around to avoid wake turbulence from the taxiing helicopter" - usually gets their attention.  While keyed for wake turbulence if the aircraft is on the runway - controllers often forget the mayhem the taxiing helicopters are churning in the adjacent air NEXT to the runway.
Thanks to all for replying and sharing your encounters with wake turbulence. There are certainly some interesting, and frightful, encounters noted here. Good lessons learned and I thank you for sharing.

I will leave you with two other encounters I have had, one as a student and one as an instructor:

I was soloing at a towered field, Martin State in Baltimore, as my instructor watched from the ground. MTN was home of the Maryland Air Guard and base to its fleet of C-130's. On my second orbit, the controller cleared me to land and said "caution, wake turbulence". I acknowledged and later thought 'what does that mean?' My instructor had yet to discuss that concept. No encounter was made, but the lesson was learned. Better late than never, but probably a good idea to teach this before your student hears it for the first time and thinks like I did.

I was approaching on final in a J3C Cub under calm wind. The Baron departing just ahead of my arrival sat on the runway and ran up to probably full power before brake release. Those two props sure stirred up a whole bunch of air as I settled into that wind storm. Control was not lost, but the lesson was learned - two O-520 Continentals beat a single A-65 any day!

Beware of wake turbulence, prop wash, and rotor wash, and fly safe! 
It was winter a number of years ago, and I was flying a Piper Archer into Boston Logan Airport.  Not all the runways were plowed and the approach controller said he wanted to put me on the long runway which was clear of snow.  Only thing was, he had a line of three 727 aircraft on final.  The funny thing was that he asked what my airspeed would be on final, and I replied 80 knots, and was met with silence.  Then I realized what he was looking for, and I replied and said "I can do 110 kts on final, if you would like" and he said "That's what I was looking for!"  So he had me stay at about 500 above the final approach course, while the three heavy jets flew beneath me.  After they had passed, he warned me of wake turbulence, and I began my descent, but I stayed above their flight path, and touched down about 1/3  of the way down the 10,000 foot runway.  Everything was uneventful.  I liked how this was non-standard but worked out well for everyone.
While flying for a small charter company based in Newnan, GA, one afternoon I was flying a C-210 back into what was then called Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, the final stop of the day of 7.  On a clear day, during the afternoon push that starts around 4:30 and continues until 7pm, the conga line to get in is about 20 miles long.  I was put in sequence 3 miles in trail of a 7-2.  As we both got closer to Rwy 26R..out of nowhere my (the company's) 210 was turned 90 degrees to the right on it's axis, then back again!  Got my attention, ya think!!  Shook me up, but no damage to me or my cargo that was safely netted down in the back.  Taught me a lesson I'll never forget.
Wake turbulence scares the s**t out of me !!!