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Like many modern ideas, one of the earliest known references to wake vortices appeared in the notes of Leonardo da Vinci. After the great Leonardo, little was published until Lord Rayleigh described his "vortexes." However, modern aircraft wake vortex history in terms of scientific understanding began with the futile attempts by Lanchester to publish his work in a journal. Fortunately, the material eventually appeared in his book Aerodynamics; one of his figures is still used today. Operationally, aircraft wake vortices became a very practical consideration in the 1970s when wide body jets started to be in service, although flight testing on wake vortices traces back to the early 1950s.
To make the task of compiling a bibliography a finite one, certain material was not included. To be considered for this document the publication had to possess a possible implication in the setting of separation standards in the Air Traffic Control System. The bibliography includes theoretical, computational and experimental work which describes the nature of a vortex (its growth, decay, structure, formation, interaction with the environment, etc.), the effects of vortices on other aircraft, the various means to avoid or to alleviate the severity of a vortex encounter, and technologies that directly contributed to the understanding of the state-of-the-art vortex knowledge. In keeping with the historical term of "wake turbulence", jet-wash and jet-blast related references that have prominent historical significance are included, particularly because operationally wake turbulence separations are often applied to jet-blast in the absence of other guidance. Leading edge or delta wing vortices are considered, but only those that contain relevant information on decays, breakdown and initial circulation estimates are included.
The references are given in the form used by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Since material often appeared in more than one publication (such as first in an AIAA paper, then in one of their archival journals), the more accessible source (usually the refereed journal article) was used in this report. The bibliography supports various search and sorting options, such as by the name(s) of the author(s), publication dates and titles. This online bibliography site replaces the earlier printed versions of "Aircraft Wake Vortices - An Annotated Bibliography (1923 - 1990), DOT-FAA-RD-90-30, June 1991", "A Summary of Helicopter Vorticity and Wake Turbulence Publications With an Annotated Bibliography, J.J. Shrager, FAA-RD-74-48, May 1974", and "Rotorcraft Wakes - An Annotated Bibliography, J.N. Hallock, FA-427-PM-84, Feb. 1986)".