I’m going to try and point you guys to a free ground lesson every week, and it seems like the AOPA Air Safety Institute will be the source of most of these. If you don’t have your AOPA membership yet, just get it now. The Flight Training magazine alone is worth it.

Also, I may comment on some of these classes, please keep in mind that I am not a CFI, so don’t listen to me at all, ever.  If I publish something wrong, please contact me or comment on the post and I will fix it right away.

Now that we got the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on to the free lesson.

I found out about this mid air collision avoidance video in the April edition of AOPA’s Flight Training magazine.  It was only 8 minutes long and I definitely learned some things.  The thing that made me happiest is the fact that there are only about 10 midair collisions a year in the US, so it’s not too common.  But 10 is still about 10 too many, and I’d really love if you never crash into me, so I am excited about sharing this one.

The video is pretty much broken into two parts, where and when mid air collisions are likely to occur, and what pilots can do to prevent it.  So if you don’t have 8 minutes to spare,  here are the highlights.

When and where they happen:

  • More than half of midair collisions happen within 5 miles of an airport.
  • More than 95% of them happen at 3,000ft AGL and below, during the day.
  • VORs, and fixes for instrument approach are typical locations as well, especially in class e space.

So, close to airports and nav aids, at low altitude, during the day is when you should be super vigilant and not crash into other aircraft.

Now, how to help prevent a collision:

  • Keep looking – keep your eyes out of the plane as much as practical.
  • Take advantage of ATC, they will try to share with you info on any traffic in your vicinity. Do keep in mind that ATC has limitations, and that pilots are responsible for keeping a safe distance from other aircraft.
  • Do everything you can to make yourself visible to others. Use your lights when approaching airports, and make radio calls at 10 and 5 miles out from airports, when entering the pattern, and during turns.
  • Assume others can’t see you!
  • Listen – check the AWOS and tune in to the CTAF at least 15 miles out from non-towered fields
  • Assume other aircraft aren’t communicating and that they may be giving inaccurate position reports
  • Consider using an electronic traffic detection system. You can find the latest versions of these at Sporty’s pilot shop and some older versions on Amazon.  Be sure to do your research though, make sure any device you purchase is compatible with the applications you use in the cockpit.

Here are some other interesting facts the video mentions:

  • Less than 10% of mid air collisions are head on
  • In about half of mid air collisions one pilot has no chance to avoid it because it’s from behind (again please don’t crash into me, or any other pilots)
  • About 40% are side impacts

The video goes over how to handle some situations at night as well.  So go check it out.   Here is the link.

Comment, correct me, share your tips that I or the video may have missed.

And remember I’m not a CFI, so if you have questions – talk to a CFI!