Collision Avoidance Tips


New Member
Hey everyone,

We were coming in today for landing, and had just been radar identified by ATC when, in addition to "radar contact 1 mile west..." they added "traffic twelve o'clock, two miles, opposite direction, same altitude, if not in sight, descend immediately." The aircraft seemed to blend in to the scenery until we made our descent (then there was no mistaking him, we cleared by about 700 ft). My question is, are there any tips for avoiding these situations (what if we had not called ATC)? Thanks.
The best trafiic avoidance around is keeping your eyes outside constantly scanning, left to right, right to left, etc.
When I was going through ATP, my training partner and I had a running game of trying to spot the traffic first (6 hours a day in a Seminole, and almost anything can be amusment). He was killing me at first, but I figured out a system that helped me to catch up. I'd mentally divide the view out the windscreens into 16 different sections: 4 out the left, 4 out the right, and 4 in each of the two center sections. Then I'd mentally count out "one thousand one and a half" while staring at the center of each of the sections, center sections first, then left and right. Invariably my periferal vision would pick up some relative movement, and bingo, there'd be our traffic. Might sound silly, but it worked for me. Never did beat him though, that guy had radar for eyeballs. Would have made a good WWII fighter pilot.

Another thing to keep in mind- most aircraft are painted white or some other light color. They should be easy to pick out if they are below you in the green stuff, but if they are the same altitude or slightly higher they may blend with clouds or a hazy horizon, so you're not so much looking for the outline of an airplane as you are looking for the angular lines of shadows at the edges of the aircraft. Vertical tail surfaces seem to be the most prominent.