Science to Meet Reality for Memphis FedEx Pilots


FedEx pilots will be the first in the U.S. to test new wake separation standards the FAA will put in place at the cargo carrier's hub in Memphis on Nov. 1. 

For FedEx, the re-categorization, or RECAT, will result in about 1nm reduction in in-trail spacing for landings and takeoffs for the carrier's widebody and Boeing 757 fleet. The pilot's union says the reduction could boost capacity at Memphis by as much as 20%, though FedEx officials at this point are saying only "double-digit" increases as the operations have not yet begun.

RECAT is the result of about 10 years of research and testing by the FAA and industry, and the new standards are set to go into place at other airports in 2013 and 2014, presumably if Memphis is a success.

I've put a table together showing the difference in separation between FedEx's various aircraft, and the difference is substantial. 

There is some talk on various pilot websites about FedEx pilots being "Guinea Pigs" for RECAT, but hopefully that's just hot air. 

As my friends at NASA used to say, one test is worth a thousand expert opinions, and this "test" is about to begin.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Sep 18, 2015

The U.S.-Russian Moon Landing That Never Happened (1963) 7

U.S. President John F. Kennedy is well known for the 1961 speech to Congress in which he made the Apollo program a national goal. Less remembered is his controversial offer two years later to cooperate with the Soviet Union on a manned lunar landing....More
Sep 10, 2015

Airbus A380 Is Your Hotel In The Sky (2001) 5

In a September 2001 advertisement, Airbus promised to bring glamour back to passenger travel with its new A380, comparing the double-decker airliner to a hotel....More
Sep 9, 2015

Pratt & Whitney's Record Behind the DC-6 Record (1947) 2

Pratt & Whitney takes to the cover of AVIATION to credit its Double Wasp engines for the DC-6's record transatlantic flight....More
Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 22

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×