I think the concept of see and avoid plays a more limited role in the aircraft as they get bigger and faster.dasleben said:Well, I wouldn't put it in those words, but there are a lot of distractions occurring around that time. Passing through FL220, I know I'd probably be on the SATCOM talking to dispatch, reading off departure information. The other guy would more than likely be on autopilot, looking up the oceanic entry point estimate, and potentially setting up the FMS for cruise. There's a fair amount of heads-down time going on.
I spent a lot of time flight training. I emphasized the scan which could include 1 second stop in each sector and a glance out the rear window if we thought traffic might be there. When I started flying freight I would do a training flight with a seasoned freight dog and was shocked to see how much time was filling out paperwork and not looking out. I thought if this was my student I would be sitting him down for a serious conversation about a proper scan. It was not long before I found myself relying on ATC for the see part of the see and avoid equation.
While jumpseating I see a lot of heads down time even in the airport environment. Now that I fly a TCAS equipped aircraft I rely on this equipment even more than ATC for traffic awareness, especially when in the airport environment. From what I have seen there is not an adequate lookout for most time planes spend at flight levels. We pilots rely on TCAS and ATC to let us know when to look so we can see to then avoid.