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88 votes

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

It was only very slightly higher than our plane by mere meters. You think you saw a plane at the exact same vertical level as yours, when in fact it was at least 300 metres (1000 feet) above or below ...
60levelchange's user avatar
76 votes

Why don't commercial airplanes carry Earth-observing instruments?

They do! Well, at least some of them. There is for example a project called TAMDAR (Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting) that e.g. Icelandair is a part of. There is a document ...
Florian's user avatar
  • 3,859
70 votes

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

This is an excellent question, and helps illuminate several important aspects of the way perception works in aviation. But first... Any near-miss or other air-proximity incident would have been ...
Daniele Procida's user avatar
61 votes

Why don't commercial airplanes carry Earth-observing instruments?

I work in the aviation industry, specifically repair, maintenance and engineering. While not an engineer myself, I work alongside them. Adding anything to an airframe, internally or externally, ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 581
59 votes

Can ATC handle a flight as emergency although the pilots have not declared an emergency?

In the US, a controller has the authority to treat any situation as an emergency, and they do. I have had controllers "declare" an emergency multiple times, even when I thought I did not ...
mongo's user avatar
  • 17.8k
55 votes
Accepted

Why can't I hang glide in NYC?

There are (at least) two general points to consider. First, hang gliders are ultralights and the regulations in 14 CFR 103 apply to them. 103.17 says: No person may operate an ultralight vehicle ...
Pondlife's user avatar
  • 71.8k
51 votes

Are seaplanes allowed to taxi in residential areas?

A sea plane was just going around it. It was very loud and got like 10 feet from the shore. It's just going in circles and won't take off and leave. As has been pointed out in other answers and ...
Terry's user avatar
  • 39.2k
44 votes
Accepted

Why was a flight delayed because of a bird in the cockpit?

Having a small bird in a cockpit, or anywhere on board, would not be a problem during a normal flight because a normal flight should have a wide safety margin. However, a situation can change ...
abelenky's user avatar
  • 30.8k
43 votes
Accepted

Can a pilot take off at his own discretion?

Generally speaking a pilot can (physically) do whatever they want: ATC doesn't have a remote control. If you push the throttles forward and pull back on the yoke you will take off, no matter what mean ...
voretaq7's user avatar
  • 68.5k
42 votes
Accepted

Are seaplanes allowed to taxi in residential areas?

If you have concerns over the safety of what is going on, here is what you should do: Record a video with your phone. Try to get the N number (it should be painted in large letters on the side of the ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
39 votes

Can a private jet take off without notifying anybody and land on private land in another country?

No, you would need to arrange for customs as you are crossing an international border.
60levelchange's user avatar
39 votes

Can a private jet take off without notifying anybody and land on private land in another country?

Yes, it is possible to land an airplane in the US at a private airport when you have taken off from a foreign airport. No, you may not do it legally. Doing this is a federal crime. Since you are ...
Dean F.'s user avatar
  • 16.5k
35 votes
Accepted

Has anyone ever been penalised for buzzing a control tower?

Well, there's always someone.In January 1954, American TV and Radio personality Arthur Godfrey buzzed the Teterboro control tower with his Douglas DC-3, resulting in the suspension of his license: In ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
34 votes

Can ATC handle a flight as emergency although the pilots have not declared an emergency?

Yes. For example, in the US (I don't know what procedures are used in Indonesia), controllers are instructed (see 10-1-1): If the words “Mayday” or “Pan-Pan” are not used and you are in ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 8,306
34 votes

Are planes allowed to fly in circles, and is there a minimum legal altitude for takeoff and landing?

Most likely there’s a flight school at the nearby airport and they are conducting dual instruction flights over your neighborhood to practice ground reference maneuvers and possibly emergency ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 74.2k
34 votes

Am I allowed to take a liferaft onto a commerical flight?

The CO2 cartridge will probably be considered as hazmat. When I've traveled with Scouts with self-inflating life vests (going to a sailing camp), the vests all had to be in checked luggage. Removing ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
30 votes

Why are electric shavers specifically permitted under FAR §91.21

This is an educated guess, based on history: Electric razors were once well known as prone to generating elctromagnetic interference -- the ones available in the 1940s could pretty well blanket a ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 17.1k
30 votes

How would flying into Frankfurt a.M. Airport be problematic for the Tu-154?

Your friend is wrong. The Tu-154 is one of the safest Soviet designs and certainly was not about to fall out of the sky when departing Frankfurt. However, it is indeed a noisy airplane and in order to ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
26 votes

Why was a flight delayed because of a bird in the cockpit?

If it's a small bird bedded down quietly under the jumpseat, I don't think I'd worry about it too much. Presuming that you found out about it while up at altitude, the question is, are you safer ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
26 votes

Am I allowed to take a liferaft onto a commerical flight?

No. Life jackets and self-inflating devices are considered dangerous goods and can only be carried if registered in advance See Swiss Baggage rules. I strongly suggest you contact the airline BEFORE ...
Paul Smith's user avatar
  • 1,095
24 votes
Accepted

Is it the tower's purview to recall an aircraft from the runway for loading the wrong cargo?

Yes, the tower can tell an aircraft to abort take off and instruct it to return to the gate, although it probably never got that far in this case, I'm guessing that they got to the runway or were ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
23 votes
Accepted

Are there regulations for the field of view from cockpits?

The certification specification for aircraft are deliberately a bit vague on the topic. This allows manufacturers to come up with creative solutions that may have been prohibited if specific angles ...
23 votes

What is the maximal acceptable delay between pilot's input and flight control surface actuation?

Excessive phase lag is a direct contributor to Type I Pilot-Induced Oscillation (PIO). Phase lag comes from: Rigid body dynamics of the aircraft (e.g. delay between elevator surface and pitch rate ...
JZYL's user avatar
  • 11.1k
22 votes

Can a pilot take off at his own discretion?

Yes, a pilot-in-command may take off at his own discretion if absolutely necessary in the interest of safety. Rules of the Air (ICAO Annex 2) apply: 2.3.1 Responsibility of pilot-in-command ...
60levelchange's user avatar
21 votes

Why don't commercial airplanes carry Earth-observing instruments?

Aside from the issues of weight and complexity, there are potential legal and political considerations regarding commercial carriage of certain kinds of observational equipment. Korean Airlines Flight ...
NetworkLlama's user avatar
21 votes

Am I allowed to take a liferaft onto a commerical flight?

Since the life raft is packed, and you are not allowed to unpack/repack it (only authorised service centres can do it), it will contain a full CO₂ cylinder. IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, and more ...
jcaron's user avatar
  • 2,281
20 votes
Accepted

Why do aircraft fly over Paris when they're forbidden from doing so?

This is a map from SkyVector with the airspace around Paris: You can see several major airports like Charles De Gaulle and Le Bourget to the North East and Orly to the South. In the center, there is ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 56.9k

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