Mid-air Collisions

  • A small percentage of these accidents occur head on; nearly all occur in daylight hours in VFR conditions within 5 nautical miles of an airport, usually in the traffic circuit.
  • A pilot is five times more likely to have a mid-air collision with an aircraft flying in the same direction than with one flying in the opposite direction.
  • If an approaching aircraft appears fixed, you are on a collision course; if the approaching aircraft has movement, there is no risk of collision.  Be sure you do not turn the wrong way.
  • Never turn, climb, or descend into a blind spot.
  • During flight, the critical areas to scan are 60° left and right of the flight path and 10° above and below.

Further Readings: AOPA's Collison Avoidance

Bird Strikes

  • Since 1912, 200 deaths have resulted from bird strikes on aircraft.
  • The greatest risk is in flight below 2,500’ where 99% of all bird strikes occur.
  • The faster the aircraft the greater the risk—up to 80-90 KTS, birds have time to get out of the way.
  • The greatest risk is during March and April and during September and October, when bird migration occurs.
  • If you see birds ahead of you attempt to pass over, rather than under, as birds dive downward when threatened. 
  • Anticipate that a bird striking the windscreen will penetrate; use the instrument panel as a shield, anticipate blood and guts, and remember to fly the aircraft.
  • All bird strikes are to be reported; see the RAC Section of the AIM.