In axial compressors, tip leakage flow is disadvantageous to efficiency and mass flow stability. We analyzed the tip leakage flow in a compressor cascade on a water table at various angles of incidence. When the angle of incidence is systematically increased, the flow rate is decreased and, finally, the stability limit is exceeded. To study the flow structures and vortex behavior, we installed Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV) on the water table. 3D-trajectories of the stable and unstable flow reveal significant effects. Increasing incidence generates a significant change in the nature of the flow. The tip leakage flow fluctuates and features unstable flow phenomena. A large blockage of the flow passage occurs, probably due vortex breakdown. Such a serious disturbance of the incoming flow may induce stall.

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