Safety Pilot Insight/Pointers

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
Sunday, I went up with a friend to shoot some approaches and play safety pilot. (I am currently 1/2 thru my IR training). The entire time we were talking to ATC they were giving us traffic advisories and then on the last approach I almost messed myself. We switched from ATC to the tower and were cleared for the circle to land. Just before reaching the apt the tower came on and said...28k traffic 9 o'clock 2000 alt. I looked left and saw another Cessna making a right bank just under our tail about 150 ft below us. My question is if we were on an IFR Flight plan, shouldn't the tower have given us an advisory sooner? Aren't they supposed to keep us separated. It was close enough for me to want to call the tower and ask what the #$% is going on. Any thoughts or insight.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
I guess one question is, were you on an instrument flight plan (did your friend file IFR?) or just shooting practice approaches while operating under visual flight rules?

Either way, the one pointer I can give is, if you are acting as safety pilot you have some responsibilities as a required crewmember. A primary (maybe =the= primary) one is acting as the flying pilot's eyes. It's really easy, especially as an instrument student) to get caught up on watching how well the flying pilot flies the needles. Don't.
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
Yes, we were on an IFR flight plan. And no, I was not watching the needles. The thing that surprised me was how close we were to the apt when they finally gave us the traffic advisory. I am sure that this plane was inside the apt class D airspace so they must have known it was there. Again they gave us the advisory and I located the plane right away. I looked directly off of our left wing and they went just under us. In hindsight I could have done a better job scanning and maybe I would have seen the plane. My question is still. "Because we were on an IFR flight plan, should there have been better separation/notice of traffic? thanks....
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Was the tower radar equipped? If not, then tower's responsibility is to sequence, not separate. ATC will give advisories as able. If the tower did have radar, did the target just "pop up" on their scope? And if the tower has radar, is it their own, or do they get a "feed" from another facility's radar that's displayed on their BRITE scope?

All questions to ponder. BL is, Even when IFR, when you're VMC, see and avoid is the name of the game.
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
Whew! A lot of questions I could not answer right away. We were under MSP class B and flying from one feeder apt KFCM to another KMIC. I now have some investigating to do for my own knowledge.
 

bluelake

Well-Known Member
yeah.. and when a Class D tower HAS radar, I believe their responsibility is STILL sequence.. not seperate. I am willing to be wrong on this..
 

sigmanu499

New Member
The tower has to be certified to seperate traffic not just have the radar.
Anyways, if you were in VMC, then you need to see and avoid.
ATC can screw up just as anyone else so dont always put your life in their hands.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
ATC's responsibility is to keep IFR traffic separate from IFR traffic and the ground. All else is on an work-load permitting basis. For all practical purposes the controllers will do their absolute best to keep anyone from running into anyone else, but their primary requirement is to keep the IFR's apart.

Anytime you're VMC (even on an IFR flight plan), it's your responsibility to see and avoid. You can easily be on an IFR flight plan in an area with NORDO planes, and chances are that ATC will never even see 'em, much less have a chance to warn you about them.

Remember, also, that unless ATC is talking to the other plane and has verified their Mode C altitude readout (if they even have it), the controller cannot assume that the altitude he is seeing is correct. Then, if the controller is busier than all get-out already, don't be suprised if he/she doesn't call traffic on a CAVU day.

Keepa yous peepers open, heah?
 

viper548

Well-Known Member
Steve's right. They only have to seperate IFR traffic from other IFR traffic. Scary thought?? From my experience they will do their best, but VFR guys can climb, descend, turn, etc. as they please. A plane that might not have been a factor while talking to approach may become a huge problem after you switch over to tower.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
Steve's right. If you go through the AIM you'll see the difference between (required) separation services in different airspace comes down to:

All controlled airspace: IFR traffic is separated from IFR traffic (3-2-1.c.) The only three major differences are
Class B - all aircraft separated, including VFR from VFR (3-2-3.e.)
Class C - VFR traffic is separated from IFR traffic (3-2-4.f.)
Class D - Some towers have the responsibility to separate IFR traffic from IFR traffic. (4-1-2)
 

SEAN

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

All controlled airspace: IFR traffic is separated from IFR traffic (3-2-1.c.) The only three major differences are
Class B - all aircraft separated, including VFR from VFR (3-2-3.e.)
Class C - VFR traffic is separated from IFR traffic (3-2-4.f.)
Class D - Some towers have the responsibility to separate IFR traffic from IFR traffic. (4-1-2)

[/ QUOTE ]

Can you explain what those number mean, ie 3-2-3.
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
they refer to the section,sub-subsection, etc... of the book that they are in. I believe these were from the AIM.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Can you explain what those number mean, ie 3-2-3.

[/ QUOTE ]Guess you missed the part of my post that said, "If you go through the AIM ..."
 
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