How Close is Too Close

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by NealRomeoGolf, Dec 6, 2020.

  1. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Pattern Altitude

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    You're VFR. You see another plane converging on your path at the same altitude. You have him on ADSB. You have him visually. It appears you are faster than him. You continue and, according to ADBS data, you come within one mile of each other with the other plane passing behind you.

    Had this happen yesterday. Based on data available to me he would pass behind me and he did. Thought about descending for separation but didn't. Maybe I should have. I was heading 010 and he was probably 050.

    Was 1 mile too close? I was talking to ATC, he wasn't. ATC was fine, as they should be, as long as I had visual. They did ask a couple times though.

    We fly 1000 feet (way less than a mile) vertical separation all the time, but the vertical vector has less speed than the horizontal. Maybe I should have descended.
     
  2. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    Far enough apart so that you do not create a collision hazzard.

    14 CFR 91.113 has the right of way rules and 91.13 also would apply.

    Not every detail is defined.
     
  3. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Don’t trade paint.

    at some point, long before you get to where you were, it becomes personal preference.
     
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  4. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Doesn’t sound to close to me. You saw him and predicted accurately he would pass behind you. Why do something unpredictable to other pilots like changing altitude if it’s not needed?
     
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  5. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    If I can count the people inside the other aircraft, that’s too close for me
     
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  6. jd21476

    jd21476 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you fly anywhere in Southern California a 1 mile separation or less happens daily
     
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  7. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Sounds fine to me.
     
  8. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Well if you were close enough to read their heading indicator...

    Don't trade insults either.
     
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  9. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Pattern Altitude

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    Ok. I'll stop second guessing myself.
     
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  10. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Was able to wave back to a 737 Southwest pilot once...that was kinda close.

    *We did have each other on visual BTW
     
  11. MarcusSD

    MarcusSD Filing Flight Plan

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    Like this Southwest jet passing 700ft below as he was going into SNA?
     

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  12. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I did too....


    of course we were both on the taxiway at MDW...
     
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  13. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    IFR flight plan about ten minutes east of Baltimore and my ADSB and TIS-B light up an aircraft passing overhead by 500 feet, never called out. My bride and I saw him at the last few seconds right before the alert.
     
  14. jd21476

    jd21476 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is normal for this area
     
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  15. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Doesn’t sound scarily close. The comment I would make though is that you had him in sight. That’s great! When you see traffic on the fish finder, process the data, but don’t allow yourself to get distracted by it. For me if I don’t have them in sight it’s a different concern, but I try not to get so focused on it that I’m not paying attention to the things I should be paying attention to.

    If they are a mile away, on a collision course at the same or nearly the same altitude, that’s different from being a mile away NOT on a collision course.
     
  16. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Had the same thing happen to me while in the clouds near Knoxville TN. Broke into a gap around rain clouds to see a PC12 cross from my left to right 500 above and less than a mile. Got an apology from ATC who forgot to call it out. Nothing to worry about but was a bit of a shock after being so accustomed to large separation and constant traffic call outs.
     
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  17. MarcusSD

    MarcusSD Filing Flight Plan

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    Yep. I’m aware. I love it.
     
  18. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was less than 1 sm from a C-17 once. He had to stop his climb until I was past him. A number of years ago as I was flying from OLM to PUW on an IFR plan. I wish I had had a camera available, you don't get to look down on an airborne C-17 too often.
     
  19. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If the occupants of other plane ask you if you have any grey poupon, you may be too close.....
     
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  20. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My airport is 6 miles from Tinker Airforce Base. I get to see up close regularly, E3s B1Bs, B52s, just to name a few. We're right in their flight path for their "downwind".
     
  21. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    You don't like waving to them?
     
  22. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    Hypothetically, would you have seen him had you not been talking to ATC or had ADS-b?
     
  23. aftCG

    aftCG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    1 mile?
    Were you able to keep 1% of that separation on your drive to the airport?
     
  24. jd21476

    jd21476 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wouldn't be able to say I love as much as Im just used to it. It can get very crowded in the skies above So Cal.
     
  25. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    If I can read their tail number, I’m too close, but in your example, I wouldn’t be too concerned. 1 mile separation, as long as you have visual on the traffic, is no big deal.
     
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  26. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Pattern Altitude

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    Eventually. I saw him first thanks to ADSB. I probably wouldn't have seen that spec that early (about 6 miles) had I not had him on my GPS screen.
     
  27. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    Just asking for all those not keen on the new tech. I know guys that have moved to an airport outside the Ohare mode C veil so they wouldn't have to spend 2 AMU's on a tail beacon.
     
  28. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Pattern Altitude

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    I'm a big fan of adsb. I find it to be a huge help.
     
  29. EugeneR

    EugeneR Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Me too. I installed my ADS-B transponder back in 2014, long before the mandate. Very useful here in SoCal, especially around uncontrolled airport. Makes arrival planning much easier.
     
  30. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    What can I say.... I am not that social. This whole whole covid thing haven’t put any dent in my social life lol.
     
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  31. Bigmikeh24

    Bigmikeh24 Filing Flight Plan

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    From the sound of your headings, he was to your left going to your right. According to the FAA and also boats and cars, the one coming from the right to left has right of way and should maintain their course. The one one the left is supposed to give way.
    That’s IF the other guy sees you.

    It’s best to make the course adjustments obvious and early if your going to do it. The worst thing you can do is be the “stand on” one with the right of way changing course and speed which confuses the hell out of the guy that’s supposed to give way.

    Here’s what the FAA says:

    § 91.113 Right-of-way rules: Except water operations.
    (a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water.

    (b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraftso as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.

    (c) In distress. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.

    (d) Converging. When aircraft of the same category are converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly so), the aircraft to the other's right has the right-of-way. If the aircraft are of different categories -
     
  32. DA40FAN

    DA40FAN Pre-Flight

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    I had a similar situation recently while VFR. Even though I saw the other aircraft (after being alerted by ADSB), I wasn't sure that we would pass each other (we were roughly 90 degrees to each other). Therefore, decided to decent a couple hundred feet. Definitely raised my comfort level.
     
  33. Bigmikeh24

    Bigmikeh24 Filing Flight Plan

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    The scariest time for me was in my early days of training.
    My instructor and I were heading back to our airport. There was another plane between us and our airport about 1-2 miles ahead practicing steep turns right at our altitude. It would go left, then right, then up, the down, then turn again then something else.
    I said to my instructor “what should I do about this guy in front of us? I can’t tell what the hell he’s doing!”
    “What guy? I don’t see him.” Said my instructor with a shrug.
    “Right in front of us!” I said.

    Fortunately the other plane dove away at a right angle....
     
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  34. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    ..was always just out of reach though wasn't it..
     
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  35. kaiser

    kaiser Pre-Flight

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    A mile? That’s a lot of air in between. Then again I grew up (am growing up) under Chicago’s bravo where I’ve been scarred already a few dozen times.
     
  36. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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  37. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    If you see it coming, no harm in dropping altitude. Don’t wait for the other guy to make a move.
     
  38. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    If you can see the pax's lipstick maybe you're too close.
     
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  39. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The danger is he or she may also randomly decide to “drop altitude” as well, leading to the aviation equivalent of a hallway “stutter step”.

    I think maintaining heading and altitude will work nearly all the time. On the rare occasion it won’t, be very alert to the fact that if you decide to take evasive action, the other aircraft may as well and maintain or even amplify the collision hazard.
     
  40. MrAnderson

    MrAnderson Pre-Flight

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    maybe too close