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This doesn't seem to be plain English, could someone explain this with a simple example for me please? I'm not sure what 'Leave clear on it's left' means, and it's not clear whether the subject of the sentence is 'A flying machine [etc.]' or 'An aircraft that has landed' (i.e. who's left are we talking about)

Landing and take-off

(2) If take-offs and landings are not confined to a runway—

(a) when landing, a flying machine or glider must leave clear on its left any aircraft which has landed, is already landing or is about to take off;

(b) a flying machine or glider which is about to turn must turn to the left if the commander of the aircraft is satisfied that such action will not interfere with other traffic movements; and

(c) a flying machine which is about to take off must take up position and manoeuvre in such a way as to leave clear on its left any aircraft which has already taken off or is about to take off.

(CAA:"The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015 ")

I've tried searching for the term online but only seem to be able to find excerpts from the legislation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Pass to your right? $\endgroup$ – Mike Brass Jul 17 '18 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeBrass How can I pass to my right? Surely I pass to their right? Or is that their left? .... Either way there's at least 50% chance you're right. $\endgroup$ – JeffUK Jul 17 '18 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ 0Keep the impeding aircraft on your left, immaterial if it is pointind towards you or awal from you - thus passing to your right. $\endgroup$ – Mike Brass Jul 17 '18 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeBrass is that a guess or is this the standard accepted interpretation of that rule? $\endgroup$ – JeffUK Jul 18 '18 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ An assumption, you can call it a guess. It places the traffic on the pilot's left- where he has a window to better observe. $\endgroup$ – Mike Brass Jul 18 '18 at 9:54
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Seems understandable to me. It may be more clear with commas... "(a) when landing, a flying machine or glider must leave clear, on its left, any aircraft which has landed, is already landing or is about to take off;"

Basically leave enough room between you and any aircraft which may be on your left as you pass them.

The grammar may be a little dated but still perfectly accurate.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE! A good first answer, if you haven’t already done so, please check out the help center to see how the site works. $\endgroup$ – Notts90 Jul 18 '18 at 11:14
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    $\begingroup$ It's a little more than "leave enough room between you and any aircraft which may be on your left". If there is an aircraft ahead of you, you must stay to (your) right of it. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Jul 18 '18 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ If there is an aircraft ahead of you, you should never have landed! $\endgroup$ – user33214 Jul 19 '18 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @user33214 Land After clearance? $\endgroup$ – Dave Gremlin Jul 20 '18 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ Not even after a clearance. Unless you want this on your gravestone "The controller said it was ok.". ATC clearance gives the commander of the aircraft permission to land. It is still up to the commander to take the final decision on whether it is safe to do so. $\endgroup$ – user33214 Jul 23 '18 at 13:56
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The UK CAA's The Skyway Code (CAP1535P) phrases it a bit differently (page 91):

When landing, leave clear to your left any other aircraft that is in the process of landing, has already landed or is about to takeoff.

That's a lot clearer wrt "the subject of the sentence" (and should be authoritative).


The document states that the legislative sources are based on ICAO Annex 2. I could not find the phrase, "leave clear (...) left", in Annex 2.

It appears in a) and c) in your quotation, but I think b) also provides a clue. The right-of-way is the reason for, "must turn to the left", equally for a) and c), you have the right-of-way if you are on the right, but leave clear anyone on the left, i.e., just because you have right-of-way, doesn't mean you can buzz those on the left.

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