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When you know there is traffic very close but you cannot see it...

Hard to know what to do. I have the active TAS/TCAS system and frequently it shows someone close but usually they are not spotted visually. In the past I have usually climbed (the thinking being that I can climb faster than most; even the +1000fpm during climb is better than most “club” types) and sometimes simultaneously turned to the left because I can see there.

It is obviously better to react before somebody gets this close but sometimes you don’t get an earlier warning, perhaps due to a weak transmitter on their plane or maybe even because they have only just then turned their transponder on.

I got a really nasty one climbing out of Zell am See, where they force you to climb up over the lake and fly close to the mountain, through the arrival path from the north, and I was pretty sure the other plane was underneath so I climbed even steeper, but he was climbing too at the same speed, and didn’t diverge until a minute or two later, eventually dropping behind. I got a similar thing at Shoreham which was almost certainly a glider, also climbing at +1000fpm but only fairly briefly. At least we was responsible enough to be Mode C; the battery issue is not a problem at all and the weight is much less than the weight difference between two people.

Those who have no TAS device live in peaceful happiness

That video in post #4 needs to be watched. It shows that you don’t necessarily see forward, even during the low pitch angle during a descent, if the other one is slightly below.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

When I see gliders close by, I try keeping the course unchanged (to be as predictible as possible for the glider) and turn on all lights available. Also, I would consider keeping a larger separation from the cloud base as I assume they are trying to get as close as possible below the cloud base….

Switzerland

That video is sobering… underlines the importance of good radio calls. I bet at least one of these two didn’t talk. Sad outcome.

In general, gliders are scary, as they are extremely hard to see, at least IME. A glider head-on is nigh invisible because of the small cross-section and the sleek wings. I don’t think changing course is a good idea, unless of course you see a whole lot of them ahead in a thermal. Rocking the wings to be more conspicuous makes more sense to me.

I sometimes fly to an uncontrolled airfield (Tehachapi) that is only a couple of miles from a glider field. I make sure I listen in on the glider frequency, turn on all the lights I have and communicate with the tow plane(s).

HBadger wrote:

Cruising along at 6,500 feet, scattered clouds about 1,000 feet above me.

Why cruising below scattered clouds? Visibility on top is better, less turbulance, less VFR-traffic, thinner air gives often a better Ground Speed.
I feel much safer on top, scattered clouds are even good for VFR-pilots only. But obviously it depends on the length of the flight.

Berlin, Germany

Xtophe wrote:

Do you have a classic Flarm or a PowerFlarm? Because Flarm to Flarm you should have directions and height difference.

I have classic Flarm, like this one: http://www.air-store.eu/11510001

Other than rocking the wings, I think choosing a different altitude makes sense. Next time I could try climbing above the scattered clouds, up to FL100 is uncontrolled airspace (Echo) in Germany, so why not. Just have to be more alert to not miss the opportunity to get below again.

Peter wrote:

In the past I have usually climbed (the thinking being that I can climb faster than most; even the +1000fpm during climb is better than most “club” types) and sometimes simultaneously turned to the left because I can see there.

Hmm, I see what you are saying, left turns giving you a better view than right turns… but then again standard avoidance procedure would be to turn right, so what if you are on a collision course head-on and he turns right and you turn left? Maybe more prudent to turn right by default?

Also, by default I fly in full “Christmas tree mode”: landing lights on, strobes on, nav lights on. Don’t see any reason not to, other than maybe maintenance cost.

It’s a bit unfortunate that those strategies are not taught more during PPL training. During PPL, 95% of the time I was flying 3500-4500 ft and below the clouds, even if they were few or scattered.

Switzerland

but then again standard avoidance procedure would be to turn right, so what if you are on a collision course head-on and he turns right and you turn left? Maybe more prudent to turn right by default?

That would be true for a head-on situation but I would normally get an earlier warning then. Not the 15nm quoted by Avidyne which is probably never achieved with “light GA” targets but perhaps 2nm. The installation I have has the upper antenna in a bad place for the head-on warning, hence only say 2nm. But 2nm is quite a bit of time…

The situation described here is when something has popped out of nowhere, with no apparent history, and is showing at your position.

I fly with the landing and taxi lights on because they are LED so no price to pay.

I bet at least one of these two didn’t talk

Or mis-reported his position, perhaps hoping to get priority. I see this frequently.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

That video is sobering… underlines the importance of good radio calls. I bet at least one of these two didn’t talk. Sad outcome.

Agree. It’s in the circuit this is dangerous. But nothing that radio and circuit discipline cannot solve.

Here, probably none of them talked. If only one had talked, then the other would know where he was. Then again, both of them could have mistaken the other for being the one doing a low approach, use the wrong frequency etc.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

If stuff is getting very close to you then I think the priority should be a height deconfliction – FLARM will give you an above / below so I would go with that and try and increase the separation. A big (vast?)majority of GA will be below 3000ft and gliders will be up new clodbase, so if I think it’s GA I would go up and if it’s glider down low as a preference.

Now retired from forums best wishes

Thanks airborne again for the explanation. Makes sense. I will try and get my StratuX unit to display flarm traffic…should be possible.

EASA CB IR Training
Europe/Austria

The hard case is when you see a zero difference in relative altitude

The other plane could be right above or right below.

I reckon turning hard to the left is the best option – because you can see there (IF you are low wing).

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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