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33 Years In The Making: The Pilot’s Role In Collision Avoidance, Part 1

33 Years In The Making: The Pilot’s Role In Collision Avoidance, Part 1

  • May
  • 02
  • 2016
  • Tony Wallace

Advisory Circular (AC) 90-48D Pilots’ Role in Collision Avoidance was published on 19 April 2016 for the purpose of alerting all pilots to the potential hazards of midair collisions (MAC) and near midair collisions (NMAC). The AC also emphasizes problem areas related to human causal factors where improvements in pilot education, operating practices, procedures, and scanning techniques are needed to reduce midair conflicts.

This updated AC cancelled AC 90-48C, which was published 18 March 1983. Yes, 1983. Remember 1983? ACDC was popular, torn Levi 501s were the rage, and big hair was awesome.

Other than the fact that it took the FAA 33 years to update this AC, one of the most interesting thing to me is the significant reduction in midair collisions and NMAC during this time. Improved technology is credited for its large role in this reduction. From 1978 through October 1982, a total of 152 MAC occurred in the United States, and there were 2241 reported NMAC. From January 2009 through December 2013, a total of 42 MAC occurred in the United States, and there were 461 reported NMACs.

Pilots are encouraged to include the use of http://www.seeandavoid.org in their preflight planning. The website provides information and education on airspace, visual identification of various aircraft, aircraft performance, and mutual hazards to safe flight, with the ultimate goal of reducing close calls and eliminating midair collisions.

Next up in this blog series is an overview of best practices identified in AC 90-48D to avoid MAC and NMAC.

Advanced Aircrew Academy’s TCAS eLearning module has been updated with the new information in AC 90-48D, Eurocontrol ACAS II Bulletin number 19, new statistics on business aviation crews compliance with following Resolution Advisories (RAs), and updated NTSB reporting requirements. Check out the details on our website.


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