Rules of the Road in the Sky

Posted on July 13, 2020 in Aviation

  1. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.
  2. When aircraft of the same category are converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly so), the aircraft to the other’s right has the right-of-way. If the aircraft are of different categories:
    • A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft;
    • A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.
    • An airship has the right-of-way over a powered parachute, weight-shift-control aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft.
  3. An aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.
  4. When aircraft are approaching each other head-on the pilot of each aircraft shall alter course to the right.
  5. Any aircraft being overtaken has the right-of-way and the pilot of an overtaking aircraft must alter course to the right to pass well clear of the aircraft being overtaken.
  6. Aircraft on final approach to land or while landing have the right-of-way over other aircraft in flight or operating on the ground, except that they shall not take advantage of this rule to force an aircraft off the runway which has already landed and is attempting to make way for an aircraft on final approach.
  7. When two or more aircraft are approaching an airport for the purpose of landing the aircraft at the lower altitude has the right-of-way, but it shall not take advantage of this rule to cut in front of another that is on final approach to land or to overtake that aircraft.

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