Situational Awareness

It’s What You Don’t Hear on the Radio that Can Get You

In the past I’ve talked about the importance of listening to the aircraft radio to build situational awareness. Nowhere is this more important than in an uncontrolled airport traffic pattern. Here’s an example radio call you might hear in an uncontrolled pattern. “Town and Country Traffic, Piper 525 Yankee Golf, four mile straight-in, Runway 17, …

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Yes, You’re IFR, But Keep Clearing for Traffic

Yes, I know you’re IFR. Yes, I know ATC has you covered with traffic advisories and alerts. Yes, I know you have TCAS or ADS-B In. When you’re in VMC, keep clearing for traffic. You wouldn’t believe what can pop up as unannounced traffic, in the most unexpected place. I wrote about a surprise encounter …

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Look Out for VFR Pop-Up Traffic

Explain this to me. I was on the cockpit jumpseat as we were descending into San Francisco International yesterday. Inflight visibility was good, though the sun was blinding as it sank towards the western horizon. Suddenly, Norcal Approach said, “Airliner 521 Heavy*, expedite a right turn, heading 280.” The Pilot Flying complied. A second and …

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How to Land at the Wrong Airport with ATC Help

Proximity of Clark Downtown (Taney County) Airport to Branson Airport, Missouri. Last week a listener wrote to tell me about an incident in which a general aviation aircraft landed at the wrong airport. He said this reminded him of other incidents in which airplanes ended up landing at the wrong airport. He asked me what …

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