Mid-Air Collisions

The potential for mid-air collisions around reliever or satellite airports in proximity to Class B and C airspace has increased significantly in recent years. The main reason for this increase is the mix of business jets, small commuters, flight training and general VFR traffic. Larger companies have found it’s more profitable and easier to do business with smaller jets, avoiding the many inconveniences of larger carriers and the airport processes. Keep in mind that these faster aircraft are beginning their final approach 15 miles from the runway, descending through the 6000 to 2000 ft altitudes, cruising from 180 to 200 knots, plus configuring the aircraft and running last minute checklists. Even in good weather they may be arriving on an IFR flight plan, unaware of local VFR traffic. Watching for VFR traffic may not be their primary interest. Be aware of satellite airport locations and their IFR corridors. Make note of high traffic times such as 7AM to 9AM and 4PM thru 7PM. Don’t forget flight training during the rest of the day within a 10 mile radius of these airports. Most transitioning VFR traffic will follow mahor landmarks, so be aware of these. Try not to rely on flight following around Class B, the controllers are usually too busy with the stressful job of moving a lot of aircraft safely.

Reference: Aviation Safety

* Note from the chief CFI:

Sanford-Lee County (TTA) is just such an airport. We recognized its potential when we chose it as our base two years ago and the same advantages that attracted us – a plendid facility in a convenient location – have attracted increasing corporate, GA, and flight training traffic. The range of aircraft based at TTA now includes everything from tail draggers to transcontinental business jets. Flight instructors from other airports favor Sanford for its generous runway and unique CTAF frequency. Remember that, although most local traffic employs standard radio procedures, it is perfectly legal and appropriate to land at or take-off from TTA in a no radio airplane. Just because you don’t hear anyone on the radio, do not assume that the area is clear of traffic. The volume of air traffic will continue to increase and so must our vigilance. Most mid air collisions occur around uncontrolled airports in visual conditions.

These safety tips are provided by the WCFC Safety Committee. They are intended to stimulate thought and discussion about flight safety and do not necessarily represent club policy nor are they intended to replace instruction from a qualified instructor.