Near Mid-Air Collision

MikeATC

Retired FAA, NATCA Member
Apr 3, 2009
1,230
3
38
Nashville TN
To try and help you understand, a controller in a Class D airspace is a VFR Tower, most VFR towers "DO NOT" have radar displays to see traffic, some do. A VFR Tower controller is responsible for "RUNWAY" seperation and issuing known traffic to arrival and departures, so as someone else stated, the pilots are responsible to "SEE AND AVOID".

It sounds like the controller issued traffic to you, so he fullfilled his responsibility, the King Air had you on TCAS, so I would wonder why did he not adjust his flight path to avoid you.

I can understand your frustration and concern, but you have to understand that as controllers in a VFR tower our hands are tied as to what we can legally do, if we go beyond we then become liable to disciplinary action by management or worse if an accident still occurs.
 

shaba169

Trusted Member
Mar 19, 2010
484
6
18
As my instructor use to tell me... The more you speak, the more they can gig you on.
But it gets even more clear cut...and I don't get why this is so hard for pilots...and controllers....to understand. You are a airplane flying VFR....nobody has any responsibility to separate you from anyone else, it is purely your job to make sure you don't trade paint with anyone....end of story. IFR to IFR way different, but Ifr to VFR it is the VFR's job to make sure he see's the IFR and does not hit him....this is like the third post in a few months where pilots/controllers have a hard time understanding this concept......
 

Roddy_Piper

Resident Knucklehead
Jun 15, 2008
3,337
18
38
Vegas baby
www.myspace.com
class d is see and avoid. IFR aircraft are not separated from VFR aircraft in class d. the only separation in class d is runway separation (and ocassionally wake turbulence). dont assume towers have radar. i've worked two towers that had no radar.
 

lecoyle

I'm Banned For Unrespectable Reasons
Apr 17, 2010
307
0
16
Sacramento, CA
But it gets even more clear cut...and I don't get why this is so hard for pilots...and controllers....to understand. You are a airplane flying VFR....nobody has any responsibility to separate you from anyone else, it is purely your job to make sure you don't trade paint with anyone....end of story. IFR to IFR way different, but Ifr to VFR it is the VFR's job to make sure he see's the IFR and does not hit him....this is like the third post in a few months where pilots/controllers have a hard time understanding this concept......
You should try being a flight instructor! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I spent hours doing nothing but repeating myself....
 

SA_Indian

Junior Member
Jan 31, 2011
112
0
16
USA
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"
He is technically right...but remember if he is doing his job...he is still responsible for issuing Safety Alerts.
 

srcontrol11

Newcomer
Apr 6, 2012
14
0
1
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.
"just pop'd up on radar" is a cop-out, however traffic is issued based on known traffic in Class D so with that being said he knew about that aircraft coming in on the visual approach. There is no separation requirements for VFR aircraft to IFR aircraft in a VFR tower airspace, however a proactive controller would have taken more action. As legality goes, the controllers are safe in this situation due to the fact that traffic was issued.
 

be2atc

Senior Member
Feb 16, 2011
295
1
18
Corinth, Tx
If both ac were still in the D and they got that close, somebody was an idiot. Did the SR20 turn into the downwind early? It's too easy to be proactive and help the scenaro, ry heading 2 miles, crosswind at TPA 3 miles, ect all for traffic. It's poor controlling to launch an ac into a possible conflict when u know its going to be a DAT (dead assed tie) and just give traffic to the departure w his clearance. "Cirrus123, kingair traffic inbound from the nw, ur nw dep approved, cleared for take off, good luck buddy"
 

atcguruaf

Rico Suave
Jan 4, 2009
1,373
0
36
Right here
I believe in a moral obligation. I've worked in Class D before and we controlled the airspace. Legally, the controller is in the clear (unless an accident happened, then procedures would be changed and the controller would probably be hanged in court).

There's also responsibility with both pilots. If traffic was issued to the KingAir, and they had the Cirrus on a fish finder, they should have taken evasive action PRIOR to it becoming an issue. The pilot of the Cirrus could have also asked for clarity (for example - how far out is that traffic?) in order to help find the aircraft.

I'm not saying the controller couldn't have done anything to prevent this, just that all the holes in the swiss cheese model were not closed up.

I would imagine that, as a pilot (which I am not), a generic traffic call like that would be insufficient. And I would ask for the information that I needed.

The controller should have taken action to make sure this wasn't problematic. Perhaps the controller thought it was taken care of. Perhaps he thought there was no issue. Perhaps he got distracted. Whatever the reason, legally I'd say there is no responsibility. But if the aircraft would have collided, I don't think that argument would fly in court.