Questions tagged [separation]

Questions regarding the distance separating aircraft during flight.

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41
votes
5answers
81k views

How much is the minimum safe distance between two planes in-flight?

According to FAA regulations, how far should a commercial jet be away from another plane in-flight? How about military planes? They get really close when in formations... Is there a minimum distance?
5
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the effect of flow separation on lift, pressure distribution and drag?

Consider an airfoil (a wing) in an airflow. When angle of attack increases, at some point the flow start to separate from trailing edge. By increasing the angle of attack more, this separation area ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How are aircraft separated at high altitude?

When cruising at high altitude, a fixed-wing aircraft has less margin for adjusting its speed, due to the convergence of the stall "speed" and the overspeed limit: If and aircraft has to be separated ...
48
votes
6answers
32k views

How close can planes fly to each other over the ocean?

While on a recent Air Transat flight from Toronto Pearson to London Gatwick, several hours into the flight and over the Atlantic Ocean, my daughter and I noticed a plane behind ours to the left, ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Are there laws about how close military aircraft can fly to passenger jets, and are they enforced?

Yesterday I was on a passenger plane flying at 35000 feet from Denver to JFK on a fairly clear day. Just west of Sioux City, we made a relatively sharp, but short, right turn for whatever reason (may ...
11
votes
1answer
983 views

Vertical and horizontal separation between cruising and climbing aircraft

I was recently a passenger on a commercial aircraft at cruise altitude when I noticed another aircraft just reaching its cruising altitude while crossing our flightpath from below, at what looked like ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How does ATC handle changing QNH/altimeter values?

Obviously for aircraft arriving to or departing from an airport/airspace (as relevant), they listen to the ATIS and/or are given the QNH. But what happens if that pressure changes? Even a fairly ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

At what distance between two aircraft will the air traffic controller get an alarm?

I am developing an air traffic control radar simulation. At what minimum distance between two aircraft in mid-air should a conflict alert be given?
19
votes
2answers
8k views

What are the most efficient layouts of multiple runways?

Many airports have more than one runway. How should runways be built in order to achieve maximum usage and minimum delays? Many major airports have most, if not all, parallel runways. Examples ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

What will be the immediate action by the pilot and ATC if any plane blocks the runway while landing?

Suppose, if the Airport has only one runway and one plane is trying to take off at the end of the runway and other plane trying to land from the other end of the runway. Due to any reason if the ...
3
votes
3answers
578 views

How to determine the traffic avoidance manuver?

Scenario A: I started the takeoff roll and then noticed another aircraft is crossing the runway in front of me, how could I determine what is the best avoidance maneuver, like full braking to abort ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

What information does a pilot have about aircraft operating on an intersecting runway?

This incident at O'Hare from July 2006 made me wonder what information is available to a pilot (specifically, in an airliner) regarding aircraft that are using an intersecting runway. In this ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Who is responsible for aircraft separation in IFR (limited/no visibility)?

I was reading how-much-is-the-minimum-safe-distance-between-two-planes-in-flight and realized part of it confused me (or maybe I'm just tired.)1 In a low- or no-visibility environment (i.e. under IFR ...
18
votes
1answer
5k views

How does vertical separation work above FL400?

The information mentioned in "Jeppesen Airway Manual" is that after FL400, fight levels are FL430, FL470, FL510 for the 'even' FL's column. Normally, I would expect every level divided by a thousand ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

How do ATC radars know where to position a primary target?

Primary target: An aircraft not reporting mode-C, the only thing the controller has is the return on the radar. When a controller reports a primary target as traffic to other aircraft, the controller ...
7
votes
2answers
10k views

What are the rules for close/formation flying of civilian planes?

Two recent questions and their answers have raised a further question. In Are there laws about how close military aircraft can fly to passenger jets, and are they enforced?, we learned that "the ...
5
votes
1answer
304 views

Is true altitude vertical separation between airplanes dependent on temperature?

Does the "true" altitude vertical separation between airplanes (using the same altimeter setting) vary as the temperature changes? ( I fully realize that the "true" altitude of both airplanes is ...
5
votes
2answers
257 views

Can RVSM safely be further reduced?

Since the world population shows no signs of slowing down its rapid increase, it's pretty safe to say that means we can only expect more concurrent flights as time moves forward. Is it physically ...
5
votes
1answer
801 views

How is a “conflict” between aircraft predicted and determined?

To answer my question about the prediction and determination of conflicts, we need a clear definition of the term. As far as I know is the term conflict often mistaken with the term loss of separation....
2
votes
1answer
689 views

How exactly do ICAO's VOR-based minimum separation standards work?

This question is aimed at Air Traffic Controllers who are familiar with ICAO Separation minima. DOC 4444 states the following: Lateral separation between two aircraft exists when: VOR: both ...