Federal Aviation Administration

Seattle TRACON
825 S. 160th St.
Burien, WA 98148

Issued: 10/02/2018 2002 (UTC) Effective: 10/16/2018 1230 (UTC)
Seattle TRACON Letter to Airmen: LTA-S46-14

Subject: FAA Aircraft Wake Turbulence Re-Categorization (RECAT) Consolidated Wake Turbulence Radar Separation Standards (CWT) Implementation within Seattle Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and Whidbey Island Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) airspace.

Cancellation: 10/16/2020 0930 (UTC)

Background: RECAT is the safe decrease in separation standards between some aircraft types. Following  extensive worldwide collaborative research by experts in wake turbulence, extensive safety and risk analysis, and six years of RECAT Phase I and Phase II operational experience at 31 major U.S. airports, it was concluded that the required separation criteria between certain aircraft could be safely decreased.  RECAT CWT will take advantage of the continuing evolution of wake mitigation strategies to consolidate the benefits of previous RECAT efforts along with the standards of FAA Order JO 7110.65.

Implementation: Effective 0530 Pacific Daylight Savings Time / 1230 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), October 16, 2018, Seattle TRACON (S46) and Whidbey Island RAPCON (NUW) will be designated  RECAT Facilities and will separate arrivals and departures using RECAT CWT aircraft separation standards.  The following Air Traffic Control Towers within the Seattle and Whidbey Island approach control areas will also be designated as RECAT facilities and will separate arrivals and departures using RECAT CWT aircraft separation standards.

  • Boeing Field/King County International Airport (BFI)
  • Gray Army Airfield Airport (GRF)
  • McChord Field Airport (TCM)
  • Olympia Regional Airport (OLM)
  • Renton Municipal Airport (RNT)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Snohomish County Airport (PAE)
  • Tacoma Narrows Airport (TIW)
  • Whidbey Island NAS Airport (NUW)

 There will be no change in the radiotelephony use of the terms “Super” and “Heavy” when applicable.  There is no change to the format a pilot uses to file a flightplan. 

 Refer to FAA Order JO 7110.126, Consolidated Wake Turbulence Radar Separation Standards (CWT), for information on aircraft designator types and wake turbulence separation tables.  Additional wake turbulence information can be found in Advisory Circular (AC) 90-23G, “Aircraft Wake Turbulence,” and the FAA “Aeronautical Information Manual.

 These documents are available online at:

Please direct questions concerning RECAT to John F. Brown, Operations Manager, Seattle TRACON, 206-214-4657

Michael Coulter
Air Traffic Manager, Seattle TRACON