Pilot's Role in Collision Avoidance
Advisory Circular 90-48C

Remember Herb's Rules to Live By:
1. Use a Checklist.
2. Look outside
3. Never fly hard IFR in a single engine aircraft

Visual Scan and Collision Avoidance
-Most midair collisions occur near airports, during daylight hours and in VFR conditions. Early detection is crucial to avoiding collisions, since it takes about 12.5 seconds to realize you are on a collision course and to do something about it.

-Degraded physical condition = degraded vision.

-Environmental conditions degrade vision

-Vestibular and visual disturbances can create motion and visual illusions.

-Spend 2/3 to 3/4 of scan time outside cockpit.

-Proper visual scanning procedures, eye movements of 10 degrees, focusing one to two seconds on each segment of the sky, 60 degrees left and right, 10 degrees up and down. Day=central vision, night=peripheral.

-“See and avoid” concept requires vigilance be maintained at all times, regardless whether the operation is IFR or VFR.

-Poor scanning =increased collision risk.

-Proper clearing procedures in all phases of flight.

-Know your aircraft’s blind spots.

-Aircraft speed differential and collision risk, converging at 300 knots=36 seconds to react.

-Greatest collision risk: Airways, VORs, within 25 nm of airports, enroute, at or below 8,000 feet, day, VMC.

“Clear left, clear right, above and below”

Back to Special Emphasis Items

6 Dec 10 Special Emphasis: Collision Avoidance

NTSB Identification: WPR11LA068A; Accident occurred Wednesday, December 01, 2010 in Madras, OR.
On December 1, 2010, about 1130 Pacific standard time, the propeller of a Taylorcraft BC-65, N23619, and the aft portion of the empennage of a Cessna 185A, N1699Z, came in contact with each other while both aircraft were on visual flight rules (VFR) final approach to Madras Airport, Madras, Oregon. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and in his student in the Taylorcraft, which was not radio equipped, were not injured, but the airplane, which is owned and operated by Berg Air, sustained substantial damage. The airline transport pilot and his passenger in the Cessna were also uninjured, but the Cessna, which was owned and operated by the passenger, also sustained substantial damage. The occupants of the Taylorcraft were on a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 local instructional flight, and the occupants of the Cessna were on a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal pleasure flight. The pilot of the Cessna was on his second circuit of the VFR pattern, and the occupants of the Taylorcraft were on their first of a planned multiple circuits of the VFR pattern after returning from a training flight in the local area. Neither aircraft was on a flight plan.

According to the occupants of the Taylorcraft, they did not see the Cessna until they were on short final, whereupon the empennage of the Cessna suddenly appeared underneath and very close to the left wing of their airplane. The CFI, who was flying at the time, immediately tried to bank to the right, but the propeller of the Taylorcraft came in contact with the Cessna before he could gain separation. After impacting the Cessna, the Taylorcraft's propeller stopped turning, and therefore the CFI made a power-off landing on the extended 1,800-foot paved stop-way of the old military runway.

According to the pilot of the Cessna, neither occupant ever saw the Taylorcraft, but while on short final they heard a loud bang come from the aft end of their airplane. Immediately after they heard the bang, the airplane pitched down and rolled to the right, but the pilot was able to regain control and continue flying straight ahead. Because the occupants were unaware that their airplane had come in contact with another airplane, and because they thought they had either impacted a large bird or experienced some sort of mechanical failure, they elected to climb straight ahead and land at their home airport, which was about 10 minutes away. It was not until after landing at their home airport and inspecting the airplane that the occupants of the Cessna realized there had been a mid-air collision.

At the time of the accident, there were scattered clouds about 3,000 feet above ground level (AGL) and a visibility of more than 10 miles.

Editor: Collision Avoidance is a special emphasis area for the FAA. FMI check out the resources and information on our wikipage.

Fly Smart,


Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Aviation Instructors Handbook
Instrument Flying Handbook