See And Avoid Traffic Guidelines

What is see and avoid traffic concept in aviation?  The responsibility for collision avoidance rests solely with the pilot-in-command (PIC).

The Airman‘s Information Manual (AIM) Section 5-5-8 and Section 5-5-10 has guidance on see and avoid responsibilities:  The PIC, when meteorological condition permit, regardless of type of flight plan or whether under the control of the radar facility, the pilot is responsible to see and avoid other traffic, terrain, or obstacles.

Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR 91.113) states: “When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft to – see and avoid other aircraft.”

Air Traffic Control (ATC) service does not guarantee separation.

Controller –

  1. Provides radar traffic information to radar identified aircraft operating outside positive control airspace on a workload permitting basis.
  2. Issues safety alerts to aircraft under their control if aware the aircraft is at an altitude believed to place the aircraft in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions, or other aircraft. (Traffic Advisories)

Pilot –

  1. Acknowledges receipt of traffic advisories
  2. Informs controller if traffic in sight
  3. Advises ATC if a vector to avoid traffic is desired
  4. Does not expect to receive radar traffic advisories on all traffic. Some traffic may not appear on the radar display. Be aware that the controller may be occupied with higher priority duties and unable to issue traffic information for a variety of reasons.
  5. Advises controller if service is not desired.

Controller –

  1. Issues radar traffic to the maximum extent consistent with high priority duties except in Class A Airspace.
  2. Provides vectors to assist aircraft to avoid observed traffic when requested by the pilot.
  3. Issues traffic information to aircraft in the Class B, Class C, Class D surface areas for sequencing purposes.”

Pilot’s incurr high workloads and even the best set of eyes can miss a fast-moving aircraft, which creates the need for real-time automated visual and aural traffic alerts. Statistics reveal a decrease in the total number of mid-air collisions which is supported by the prevalence of TAS systems.  ADS-B will further advance safety of flight with the provision of more comprehensive traffic avoidance information.

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