14 CFR part 91 has established right-of-way rules, minimum safe altitudes, and VFR cruising altitudes to enhance flight safety. The pilot can contribute to collision avoidance by being alert and scanning for other aircraft. This is particularly important in the vicinity of an airport.
Effective scanning is accomplished with a series of short, regularly
spaced eye movements that bring successive areas of the sky into the central
visual field. Each movement should not exceed 10°, and each should
be observed for at least 1 second to enable detection. Although back and
forth eye movements seem preferred by most pilots, each pilot should develop
a scanning pattern that is most comfortable and then adhere to it to assure
If you think another aircraft is too close to you, give way instead of waiting for the other pilot to respect the right-of-way to which you may be entitled.
The following procedures and considerations should assist a pilot in collision avoidance under various situations.
• Before Takeoff—Prior to taxiing onto a runway or landing area in preparation
for takeoff, pilots should scan the approach area for possible landing
traffic, executing appropriate maneuvers to provide a clear view of the
• Climbs and Descents—During climbs and descents in flight conditions which permit visual detection of other traffic, pilots should execute gentle banks left and right at a frequency which permits continuous visual scanning of the airspace.
• Straight and Level—During sustained periods of straight-and-level flight, a pilot should execute appropriate clearing procedures at periodic intervals.
• Traffic Patterns—Entries into traffic patterns while descending should be avoided.
• Traffic at VOR Sites—Due to converging traffic, sustained vigilance should be maintained in the vicinity of VOR’s and intersections.
• Training Operations—Vigilance should be maintained and clearing turns should be made prior to a practice maneuver. During instruction, the pilot should be asked to verbalize the clearing procedures (call out clear “left, right, above, and below”).
High-wing and low-wing aircraft have their respective blind spots. High-wing aircraft should momentarily raise their wing in the direction of the intended turn and look for traffic prior to commencing the turn. Low-wing aircraft should momentarily lower the wing.