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5 Answers

Who has priority ?

Asked by: 2480 views ,
FAA Regulations, Private Pilot

Last week end I flew my first solo Cross Country and met a new situation. I announced myself 15miles away from the airport, 10miles away, when entering the downwind and when entering the base. Just after announcing myself in base, another airplane announced himself in final. That's only when I saw him for the first time. I had the feeling that I was lower and that he was about 500 feet to 1miles further away from the runway than me. So I turned final (after announcing it) and landed. I tried to land short to leave the runway as fast as possible but as I was slowing down, I saw him going around for another landing. During that flight I had some issues with my radio (I was unable to hear myself when talking in the mic). Once on the ground, I asked the other pilot if he could hear me, he just said yes (but with some kind of unhappy look). So my question is "did I do something wrong ?" and if yes, "what was I supposed to do differently?".   



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5 Answers

  1. Ash on Jul 08, 2014


    Review 91.113(g) for the right of way rules regarding landing aircraft. From the way you described it, it sounds like the other guy had the right of way.

    In the scenario you describe, perhaps the safest option would have been to execute a go-around once you spotted the other airplane on final. Cutting off another airplane on final is never a good idea.

    Hope that was helpful.

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  2. Bidochon on Jul 09, 2014

    Thanks Ash.

    After reading 91.113, I realized that I should have just go around and not land in front of him. I won’t make that mistake again.

    Thanks for your help

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  3. Bidochon on Jul 09, 2014

    I forgot to mention that, for my defense, the guy went straight to a long final and never announced himself until he saw me in base… but I still agree that I shouldn’t have land in front of him.

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  4. Best Answer

    Kris Kortokrax on Jul 09, 2014

    You didn’t really give enough information concerning the situation.
    What kind of airplane were you in?
    What kind of airplane was on the long final?

    The Airplane Flying Handbook states that the downwind should be spaced 1/2 to 1 mile from the landing runway. If we turn base with the threshold 45 degrees aft of the plane, simple geometry would suggest that our base leg would be 1/2 to 1 mile from the threshold.

    At what point do we agree that an airplane is on final for the purposes of 91.113? If an approaching airplane announces he is on a 10 mile final or a 5 mile final, do you need to circle until he is on the ground? I don’t think so, unless the plane on a 5 mile final is a Falcon 50 or Gulfstream or other jet. I would probably yield to the jet in that case. If the airplanes are of similar speed, not necessarily.

    If you can see the other airplane silhouetted against the sky, the airplane is above you (you are lower than he is).

    Advisory Circular 90-66A states:
    “The FAA encourages pilots to use the standard traffic pattern. However, for those pilots who choose to execute a straight-in approach, maneuvering for and execution of the approach should be completed so as not to disrupt the flow of arriving and departing traffic.”

    If we consider courtesy, it would not be proper for an airplane to execute a straight-in approach to avoid having to get in line in the pattern behind two or three (or more) other airplanes established in the pattern.

    With the limited information given, I’m not convinced that you did anything contrary to regulations or procedures.

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  5. Bidochon on Jul 09, 2014


    I was flying a Cessna 150 (Aerobat) and the guy was flying a plane that looks exactly like a Piper Seminole. I can definitively say that I saw his silhouette over the sky.

    Thanks for your detail explanation.

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