Near Mid-Air Collision

cjaxheimer

Newcomer
Apr 16, 2012
1
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Take a look at this scenario and let me know whether the tower was responsible for providing separation.

A Cirrus is departing to the northwest and is in Class D airspace, they have been warned of an aircraft inbound from the northwest but have not been given a specific direction or distance to look. A KingAir is inbound on a visual approach and the pilot says that they have the Cirrus on their "fish-finder" (TCAS). I continue flying the Cirrus and receive no alerts from ATC and I look to my left and see the white KingAir against an overcast sky on a collision course with me about a half mile away at max and at the same altitude. I initiate a diving right turn then the KingAir spots me and initiates a right turn. It was 5 seconds from the time I saw the KingAir until we were clear of each other. We were probably within 1500 feet at our closest passing point. After missing the KingAir I let the controller know that we missed the plane by about a half mile, and he says "he just popped up on my radar".

So, if both planes were within class D, shouldn't he already have the KingAir on radar? Also, if the KingAir is on an IFR flight plan on a visual approach should he be given separation from other aircraft? Why did the tower let us get so close?

Thanks for your help with this situation, I just want to be clear on the rules governing ATC.
 

smitty16s

Trusted Member
Jan 23, 2009
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He may have not necessarily had the King Air on radar, depending on how crappy the radar was. Out here in Korea we have the worst radar I've ever seen, drops targets constantly. That being said, 2 way radio communication is required for the A/C to enter the class delta.
 

UNDgrad06

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
1,309
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Peachtree City, GA
Might not be on radar.

The VFR has been told of a inbound from the NW or whatever you should be looking to the NW for the A/C you are VFR which means you seperate yourself.
 

WatchThis

Trusted Contributor
Apr 29, 2010
557
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Arizona
Cold hard truth is: if you collided, both pilots would have been at fault. The controllers would probably take some heat too.

Both pilots are responsible for see and avoid regardless of who they are talking to and what airspace they are in at all times. The class of airspace may increase the controllers responsibility but there's no airspace separation class D. There would be issues if you were both IFR however. Equipment capabilities may have limited their ability to provide better traffic information. You chose to fly directly opposite to known traffic.

By the way, 2 way communication is not required prior to entry if the aircraft is receiving service from the approach/arrival controller. It is expected that the controllers will make the coordination for the pilot. This can happen when the weather precludes seeing the airport prior to entry on a visual approach.
 
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killswitch

Tin Pusher
Sep 12, 2008
1,048
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Ohio
I'd like to be the first to encourage you to call the tower and ask for a tour. Take all your questions to the guys working that airspace. Something that might not make sense to you right now might make a whole lot more then.

At my facility, there are a lot of military aircraft that come through. From time to time a pilot thinks he is getting the shaft. After a visit, things that didn't make sense now do.

I'd also be careful how much you take away from this site. There are current controllers who are on here and post. But there are a lot of people who are playing the waiting game to become one or only have a basic idea. It's hard sometimes (if you have no knowledge) to tell which are controllers and which are clueless applicants who don't really understand what goes on in a control facility.
 

StuSEL

Moderator
Aug 23, 2009
1,014
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You know where.
Qualifications: PPL-ASEL-IA, previous tower tours

I think you're assuming the tower controller has a complete radar picture of the Class D. That's the wrong assumption. Out here at LAF (Class D) the tower doesn't even have radar. Even when Class Ds do have radar, they primary means of separation is still visually looking outside the window.

Having traffic on TCAS is almost completely worthless unless someone is constantly monitoring it. On final in a King Air, that's probably not a viable. So unless they have you in sight, don't assume they know where you are.
 

Radium

Epic Member
Jan 14, 2009
1,988
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Class D towers have no seperation requirements except runway seperation
So you are ok knowingly say.... Depart a airliner into a vfr because there is a 90% chance they miss... And say... A 50% chance they won't at least RA.

Seems like a good defense in court. "Ya i knew it probably would cost 200 lives, but my responsibility is defined by the runway"
 

Fltsfshrman

Junior Member
Jul 13, 2011
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FPR bound
So you are ok knowingly say.... Depart a airliner into a vfr because there is a 90% chance they miss... And say... A 50% chance they won't at least RA.

Seems like a good defense in court. "Ya i knew it probably would cost 200 lives, but my responsibility is defined by the runway"
Tower in the delta IS only concerned about runway sep. All he needs to do is give that VFR the traffic...... the airliner is probably out on a SID so being a good tower controller he's already gave deconflicting pattern entry to VFR guy so if vfr wants to kill himself by flying into the ifr traffic just sit back and watch the show. (that's how I feel sometimes at least)
 

soonerkid

Rookie
Sep 11, 2008
64
0
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Middle of Nowhere
So you are ok knowingly say.... Depart a airliner into a vfr because there is a 90% chance they miss... And say... A 50% chance they won't at least RA.

Seems like a good defense in court. "Ya i knew it probably would cost 200 lives, but my responsibility is defined by the runway"
If youre asking would I aim an airplane at another, no. I wouldn't. But Do I doubt that there are controllers at class d airports who couldnt care less what happens outside the runway. Absolutely not.
 

Radium

Epic Member
Jan 14, 2009
1,988
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Ya, I wasn't sure if he said: we all care... Or, there are d bags. Oh well