45/180 Procedure Turn

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The 45/180 procedure, also known as the rule of 45 or the 45-degree rule, is a standard procedure used in aviation to reduce the risk of a mid-air collision between two aircraft. This procedure is recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and is used by pilots worldwide.

In this blog post, we will discuss the 45/180 procedure step by step and explain its importance in aviation safety.

What is the 45/180 procedure?

The 45/180 procedure is a maneuver that pilots use to avoid a potential collision with another aircraft. It involves turning 45 degrees to the left or right, then flying straight for 180 seconds before turning back onto the original course.

The purpose of this maneuver is to create a visual separation between two aircraft that may be on a converging course. By turning away from each other, the pilots create a larger angle between the two aircraft, making it easier for them to see each other and avoid a collision.

Step by Step Procedure

The 45/180 procedure is a simple maneuver that pilots can execute quickly and easily. Here is a step-by-step guide to the procedure:

Step 1: Identify a potential collision threat

The first step in executing the 45/180 procedure is to identify a potential collision threat. Pilots should be constantly scanning the sky for other aircraft and monitoring their instruments for any alerts or warnings.

Step 2: Communicate with air traffic control

If a potential collision threat is identified, the pilot should communicate with air traffic control (ATC) immediately. The pilot should inform ATC of the situation and request permission to execute the 45/180 procedure.

Step 3: Turn 45 degrees

Once the pilot has received clearance from ATC, they should turn the aircraft 45 degrees to the left or right. The direction of the turn will depend on the location of the other aircraft.

Step 4: Fly straight for 180 seconds

After turning, the pilot should fly straight for 180 seconds. During this time, the pilot should continue to monitor the other aircraft and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

Step 5: Turn back onto the original course

After 180 seconds, the pilot should turn the aircraft back onto the original course. The pilot should continue to monitor the other aircraft and maintain a safe distance until the threat has passed.

Why is the 45/180 procedure important?

The 45/180 procedure is important because it helps to reduce the risk of mid-air collisions between two aircraft. By creating a visual separation between the aircraft, pilots can more easily see and avoid each other.

In addition to reducing the risk of collision, the 45/180 procedure also helps to increase situational awareness for both pilots. By communicating with ATC and executing the procedure, pilots are able to maintain a high level of awareness of their surroundings and potential threats.

What are some other procedures used to prevent mid-air collisions?

In addition to the 45/180 procedure, there are several other procedures used to prevent mid-air collisions. These include:

  1. Standard separation procedures – these procedures are used by ATC to keep aircraft at a safe distance from each other.
  2. Traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS) – TCAS is a technology that uses radar to detect other aircraft and provides pilots with alerts and instructions to avoid a collision.
  3. Visual scanning – pilots should be constantly scanning the sky for other aircraft and maintaining a high level of situational awareness.
  4. Reporting procedures – pilots should report any potential collision threats to ATC immediately.
  5. Standard phraseology – using standard phraseology in radio communications helps to ensure clear and concise communication between pilots and ATC.

What are some common causes of mid-air collisions?

Mid-air collisions can occur for a variety of reasons. Some common causes include:

  1. Failure to see and avoid other aircraft – pilots may not see other aircraft due to weather conditions, cockpit distractions, or other factors.
  2. Miscommunication – misunderstandings between pilots and ATC can lead to confusion and increase the risk of a collision.
  3. Instrument failure – if a critical instrument fails, such as a radar or transponder, the pilot may not be aware of nearby aircraft.
  4. Pilot error – mistakes made by the pilot, such as incorrect navigation or incorrect altitude, can lead to a collision.
  5. System malfunction – malfunctions of aircraft systems, such as engine failure or loss of control, can also lead to a collision.

How often do mid-air collisions occur?

Mid-air collisions are rare, but they do occur. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were 94 reported mid-air collisions in the United States between 2000 and 2019, resulting in 124 fatalities.

However, it is worth noting that the number of mid-air collisions has been decreasing over time due to improvements in technology, training, and procedures.

Who uses the 45/180 procedure?

The 45/180 procedure is used by pilots worldwide, regardless of the type of aircraft they are flying or their location. The procedure is recommended by the ICAO and is part of the standard operating procedures for many airlines and aviation organizations.

Is the 45/180 procedure mandatory?

The 45/180 procedure is not mandatory, but it is recommended by the ICAO and is part of the standard operating procedures for many airlines and aviation organizations. Pilots are encouraged to use the procedure whenever a potential collision threat is identified.

Can the 45/180 procedure be used in all situations?

The 45/180 procedure may not be suitable for all situations. For example, if the other aircraft is flying at a high speed or is on a collision course, a more aggressive maneuver may be required. Pilots should always use their best judgment and follow established procedures to avoid a collision.

What should I do if I see two aircraft executing the 45/180 procedure?

If you see two aircraft executing the 45/180 procedure, it is important to maintain a safe distance and continue to monitor the situation. Avoid flying near the two aircraft and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

Can the 45/180 procedure be used by drones?

The 45/180 procedure can be used by drone pilots to avoid a potential collision with other aircraft. However, drone pilots should be aware of any regulations or restrictions in their area and follow established procedures to ensure safe operation of their drone.

What other safety procedures should pilots be aware of?

In addition to the 45/180 procedure, pilots should be aware of other safety procedures, such as emergency procedures, weather avoidance procedures, and standard operating procedures for their specific aircraft. Pilots should also receive regular training and stay up to date with the latest safety regulations and procedures.

How can passengers help prevent mid-air collisions?

Passengers can also play a role in preventing mid-air collisions by following the instructions of the flight crew and avoiding distracting the pilots. Passengers should also report any suspicious behavior or activity to the flight crew.

What should I do if I witness a mid-air collision?

If you witness a mid-air collision, it is important to remain calm and call emergency services immediately. Do not attempt to approach the crash site or interfere with any ongoing rescue or investigation efforts.

The 45/180 procedure is a simple yet effective maneuver that pilots use to avoid mid-air collisions. By turning away from each other and flying straight for 180 seconds, pilots create a visual separation between their aircraft and reduce the risk of collision.

While mid-air collisions are rare, they can have devastating consequences. Pilots should be aware of the 45/180 procedure and other safety procedures to ensure the safety of their passengers and other aircraft in the sky.


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