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7 Answers

Right of way question

Asked by: 6328 views , , , ,
FAA Regulations, General Aviation, Private Pilot

Intersecting traffic yeilds to the right, that is easy.  My question is if the intersecting traffic is at different speed and the angle is not 90 degrees.  If a higher speed plane approaches a lower speed plane, same altitude and the angle is 45 or so so the slower plane can't see the craft approaching from it's right side the rule is the slower plane would need to give right of way.

So, slower plane heading 150 @ 90 knots.  Quicker plane heading 090 intersecting from right 45 degree at 120 knots.

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7 Answers

  1. Micah on Apr 25, 2011


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  2. Matthew Waugh on Apr 25, 2011

    If you’re in a faster plane and you’re coming up from “behind” a slower plane aren’t you overtaking? So (f) applies.
    You can probably devise a situation in which confusion would reign, but it’s not very likely. In your case the “overtaking plane” is over-taking until they are “next to each other”, at which point there’s no risk of collision, so no need to maneuver.

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  3. Neal on Apr 25, 2011

    So right of way to the plane from the right only applies when the intersecting angle is 90 degrees?  As anything else could be construed as overtaking, …

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  4. Micah on Apr 25, 2011

    An aircraft being overtaken cannot know that it is being overtaken. I believe this is implicit in the description. It seems like it would be nice if the regulations prescribed an order of right of way preference for each pilot to follow, but I’m not sure this order is difficult for a pilot to determine on their own.
    1. (C) Aircraft in distress are given all priority (explicit)
    2. (G) Aircraft landing have second priority (implicit) 
    3. (F) Aircraft being overtaken are given priority (without TCAS they cannot be aware that you are overtaking them)
    4. (D) Aircraft converging have the opportunity (and responsibility) to see and avoid each other, but need rules to determine which aircraft has final responsibility to defer position
    5. (E) Aircraft approaching head-on is the most simple and lowest priority. This is very similar to converging aircraft except that the solution is much more simple. See and avoid.

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  5. James MacGregor on Apr 25, 2011

    Here’s what I tell my guys.

    Converging: just like in a car if you see a red light stop, green light go

    Head on: Both break right

    -Better position rule-
    Higher traffic gives way (as they have the better position)
    Landing and t/o see higher traffic gives way.
    Overtaking: see higher traffic gives way
    – who ever has the better position gives way-

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  6. MaggotCFII on Apr 25, 2011

    “See and Avoid” a’ la FAR 91.113(b) Then apply the rule.
    Code of Federal Regulations
    Sec. 91.113


    Subpart B–Flight Rules


    Sec. 91.113 “Right-of-way rules: Except water operations. (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 aircraft so 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.”

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  7. Matthew Waugh on Apr 26, 2011

    Neal, others have tried to address the question for you, you’re looking for a mathematical answer.
    If you can see the plane, and it is to your right AND you are both heading for the same point in space and time, then the plane on the right has the right of way and the other plane makes a SMALL alteration to the right to pass clear.
    If the plane is coming up from “behind” you then it is overtaking and, if you are heading for the same point in space and time, the overtaking plane should alter course to the right to pass the plane being overtaken. For precision then let’s say “behind” is that 180 degree field of vision starting at 90 degrees and ending at 270 RELATIVE to the pilot.
    I suspect there is a deeper fear behind your question, and you should sit down with your CFI and discuss it. The number of times I’ve actually had to apply the right of way rules I can count on one hand, and even then I’m probably being generous.

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