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RIGHT OF WAY RULES

What are the proper procedures for avoiding other aircraft in flight?


Here's what you need to know.


GENERAL RIGHT OF WAY RULES

The list below dictates which aircraft have the Right of Way over other aircraft (these rules can be found in FAR 91.113). The list is ordered by the aircraft that has the most Right of Way. It is essentially the aircraft with the least maneuverability.

  • Aircraft in Distress

  • Balloon

  • Glider

  • Airship

  • Aircraft Towing another Aircraft

  • Airplane

  • Helicopter

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO AIRCRAFT ARE CONVERGING?

Remember, for the most part, the aircraft to the RIGHT has the Right of Way over the aircraft to the left. However, specific scenarios are depicted below with more complete explanations.


Aircraft Converging to a Point

The aircraft to the RIGHT has the Right of Way.









Aircraft Approaching Head On

Each aircraft should alter course to the RIGHT.





Overtaking an Aircraft

The overtaking aircraft should pass to the RIGHT of the aircraft being overtaken.

The aircraft being overtaken has the Right of Way over the aircraft overtaking.







Approaching to Land

When two aircraft are approaching the same runway for landing, the aircraft at the LOWER ALTITUDE has the Right of Way over the aircraft at the higher altitude.






Author - Nate Hodell

CFI/CFII/MEI/ATP - Creator of wifiCFI - Owner of Axiom Aviation Flight School.


This information is included in the Visual Scanning and Collision Avoidance Lessons on wifiCFI. Sign up today to watch videos, listen to podcasts, take lesson quizzes, join live webinars, print lesson quicktakes, and more by clicking this link >


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