The FAA has released an advisory circular (AC) to guide pilots on the regulatory obligation to see and avoid other aircraft. AC 90-48E, “Pilots’ Role in Collision Avoidance,” alerts pilots of their potential contribution to midair collisions and near-midairs and recommends potential improvements in training, operating practices, and scanning techniques to reduce conflicts.

While not mandatory, the guidance is designed to clarify the pilots’ responsibilities under existing requirements, the agency said, adding it is considered one of the tools and advisory materials designed to reduce the risk of midair collision. Released on October 20, the AC replaces AC 90-48D CHG 1, which was dated June 28, 2016.

Included in the AC are numerous regulatory citations, along with links to available reference materials. It reminds of regulations surrounding the basic see-and-avoid requirement—“when weather conditions permit, pilots operating IFR or VFR are required to observe and maneuver to avoid other aircraft”—and points to regulations surrounding right-of-way rules, operating on or in the vicinity of an airport, operations in classes of airspace, basic and special visual flight rules (VFR) minimums, equipment requirements, and ADS-B, among others.

At the same time, though, the AC also warns of limitations of see-and-avoid, including human factors, environmental conditions, and operational distractions. It discusses technologies, communications, in-flight procedures and maneuvering, and training to protect against midairs.


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