Cover of GAP: Wake turbulenceAll aircraft create wake turbulence, and usually the size of the aircraft is a good measure of how much wake it creates.

There are some exceptions, however, and we cover this in the newly updated Good Aviation Practice (GAP) booklet, Wake turbulence.

Helicopter wakes may be of significantly greater strength than those from fixed-wing aircraft of similar weight. The strongest wake turbulence can occur when the helicopter is operating at lower speeds. Some mid-size or executive-class helicopters produce wake turbulence as strong as that of heavier helicopters.

The GAP booklet, Wake turbulence, revised February 2024, contains more information about helicopter wake turbulence.

GAP: Wake turbulence [PDF 1.2 MB]

Accident to a paraglider in France

The Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA) France investigated an Accident to a paraglider involving Airbus EC135 T2 PLUS on 11 May 2019 at Le Conquet France(external link)

To support the report, the BEA produced the following video, which provides animations and explanations of helicopter vortices. It shows how the vortices affected the paraglider canopy, causing a collapse.

Lessons learned 2: Helicopter wake turbulence / a dangerous phenomenon

Vector article

This Vector article from March/April 2017 discusses paragliders and powered aircraft in the same airspace and is another useful reference.

See and avoid - Paragliders and powered aircraft in the same airspace [PDF 149 KB]

Other resources

Push to Talk podcast

Ned Parks and Bruce Webb | Push to Talk podcast | Man-made moving microbursts

Ned Parks wake turbulence video

Caution!!! Helicopter wake turbulence with Ned Parks

FAA Safety briefing

Helicopter wake turbulence(external link)