Vortex and Ice strikes

Vortex and Ice strikes

Who is responsible for damage?

The legal responsibility for damage caused by aircraft, including vortex damage and ice falls lies with the airline concerned, however, it is not always possible to identify which aircraft has been responsible for specific damage. In the interests of being a good neighbour,  if your home has been damaged by a vortex or ice fall strike, and we are unable to identify the airline concerned, Edinburgh Airport will repair it as part of our commitment to the local community.  



A vortex is a circulating current of air generated by airplanes. It can sometimes cause damage the roofs of houses located under a flight path. Pitched roofs with loose-laid tiles may be prone to vortex damage.

Wake turbulence is a disturbance in the atmosphere that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air. It includes various components, the most important of which are wingtip vortices and jet wash:

  • Jet wash refers simply to the rapidly moving gases expelled from a jet engine.
  • Wingtip vortices are spiralling cones of air generated by the wingtips as the aircraft flies through the air. The vortices can remain in the air for several minutes after the passage of an aircraft.

Closer to the ground, although aircraft travel much slower and the vortices dissipate quickly there are occasions when the vortex can reach ground level. The vortex can then damage roof tiles on properties under the flight path.

Ice Falls

Whilst ice falls from aircraft are rare, ice can form on the outside of an aircraft when it is cruising at high altitude and as it descends into warmer air, these chunks may break away and fall to the ground.

Despite popular beliefs, modern aircraft do not have the facility to eject toilet waste whilst they are airborne. Waste collection happens when the aircraft lands at an airport and is disposed of responsibly.

What should you do if you suspect vortex or ice damage?

If you suspect your property has been damaged by either ice fall or vortex strike, please contact us immediately via our email address noise@edinburghairport.com or call 0800 31 3397 and leave a message if you are unable to email.

When you contact us, please include the following information?

  • The exact date and time the damage occurred and if known, the details of the aircraft concerned.
  • The extent and nature of the damage (front, rear or side of property and what damage is visible. If it is possible, and safe to do so, photographs should also be supplied). If you are the property owner, your name, address and telephone number. 
  • If you are not the property owner, the name, address and telephone number of the owner. 
  • Why you think vortex damage or ice fall was responsible for the incident.