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Features October 2019 Issue

Spotting Traffic

Most midair collisions occur in good VMC, strongly suggesting that we’re not doing our job in seeing and avoiding.

Spotting Traffic

At first, we solely relied on our eyeballs to keep us from hitting other aircraft. With technology advancements, we now have various electronic supplements to help.

TCAS II is the most comprehensive form of TCAS, but its range depends on what it is asked to do. Overall pulse detection range is 30 NM for Mode S transponders and 14 NM for Mode A/C units. Surveillance must be reliable within 14 NM, but TCAS II will only assess threats within 12 NM as possible RAs. TCAS II guarantees system reliability within at least 4.5 NM. Two TCAS II systems can coordinate RAs to maximize vertical separation, typically 300-700 feet. There is even a reverse RA if one aircraft fails to respond correctly in the latest version 7.1 software.

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