A near wake model for trailing vorticity originally proposed by Beddoes for high-resolution helicopter blade vortex interaction computations has been implemented and compared with the usual blade element momentum models used for wind turbine calculations. The model is in principle a lifting line model for the rotating blade, where only a quarter revolution of the wake system behind the blade is taken into account. This simplification of the wake enables a fast computation of the downwash from the trailed vortex system along the blade using the indicial function method and thus makes it realistic to use the model in aeroelastic time simulations. The downwash from the shed vorticity is also computed with a fast indicial function algorithm. In particular the model is investigated for use in calculations of aerodynamic damping for the different mode shapes of an operating wind turbine. Numerical results for the downwash of a wing in straight flow with elliptical circulation are compared with analytical results. Further, the downwash distribution of a 40 m long rotating blade is computed. Aerodynamic damping of the blade in axial harmonic translation and in the first flapwise mode is computed with the near wake model and compared with the results of a standard momentum model including a model for dynamic inflow. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.