Learning Center Library Contents

Down Arrow
Welcome Guest
Aviation Learning Center Document How to Avoid a Mid Air Collision - P-8740-51
Author: Federal Aviation Administration Date: Unknown
used for alignment
used for alignment
Viewing Options: View Document as Chapters Chaptersused for alignment View Full Document Full Documentused for alignment View Print-Friendly Document Printer Friendlyused for alignment Search Inside this Document Search Insideused for alignment

< Previous Chapter used for alignment Next Chapter > used for alignment

How to Scan
used for alignment

What is the perfect scan? There is none, or at least there is no one scan that is best for all pilots. The most important thing is for each pilot to develop a scan that is both comfortable and workable.

The best way to start is by getting rid of bad habits. Naturally, not looking out at all is the poorest scan technique, but glancing out at intervals of five minutes or so is also poor when you remember that it only takes seconds for a disaster to happen. Check yourself the next time you are climbing out, making an approach, or just bouncing along over a long cross-country route. See how long you go without looking out the window.

Glancing out and giving it the once-around without stopping to focus on anything is practically useless. So is staring out into one spot for long periods of time (even though it may be great for meditation).

Figure 3

So much for the bad habits. Learn how to scan properly; first, by knowing where to concentrate your search. It would be preferable, naturally, to look everywhere constantly but, as this technique is not practical, concentrate on the areas most critical to you at any given time. In the traffic pattern especially, clear before every turn, and always watch for traffic making an improper entry into the pattern. On descent and climbout, make gentle S-turns to see if anyone is in your way. (In addition, make clearing turns before attempting maneuvers, such as pylons and S-turns about a road.)

During the very critical final approach stage, don't forget to look behind and below, at least once; and avoid tunnel vision. Pilots often rivet their eyes to this point of touchdown. You may never arrive at it if another pilot is aiming for the same numbers at the same time!

In normal flight, you can generally avoid the threat of an in-flight collision by scanning and area 60 degrees to the left and to the right of your center visual area. This advice does not mean you should forget the rest of the area you can see from side windows every few scans. Horizontally, the statisticians say, you will be safe if you scan 10 degrees up and down from your flight vector (figure 1). This technique will allow you to spot any aircraft that is at an altitude that might prove hazardous to your own flight path, whether it is level with you, below and climbing, or above and descending.

The slower your plane, the greater your vulnerability, hence the greater scan area required.

But don't forget that your eyes are subject to optical illusions and can play some nasty tricks on you. At one mile, for example, an aircraft flying below your altitude will appear to be above you. As it nears, it will seem to descend and go through your level, yet, all the while it will be straight and level below you. one in-flight collision occurred when the pilot of the higher flying airplane experienced this illusion and dove his plane right into the path of the aircraft flying below.

Though you may not have much time to avoid another aircraft in your vicinity, use your head when making defensive moves. Even if you must maneuver to avoid a real in-flight collision, consider all the facts. If you miss the other aircraft but stall at a low altitude, the results may be just as bad for you as a collision.

used for alignment