Operating Near Other Aircraft


  • No person may operate an aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard
  • No person may operate an aircraft in formation flight except by arrangement with the pilot in command of each aircraft in the formation
  • No person may operate an aircraft, carrying passengers for hire, in formation flight

  • Providing airborne assistance to another aircraft may involve flying in very close proximity to that aircraft
  • Most pilots receive little, if any, formal training or instruction in this type of flying activity
  • Close proximity flying without sufficient time to plan (i.e., in an emergency situation), coupled with the stress involved in a perceived emergency can be hazardous
  • The pilot in the best position to assess the situation should take the responsibility of coordinating the airborne intercept and inspection, and take into account the unique flight characteristics and differences of the category(s) of aircraft involved

Safety Considerations:

  • Area, direction and speed of the intercept;
  • Aerodynamic effects (i.e., rotor-craft down-wash);
  • Minimum safe separation distances;
  • Communications requirements, lost communications procedures, coordination with ATC;
  • Suitability of diverting the distressed aircraft to the nearest safe airport; and
  • Emergency actions to terminate the intercept


  • Close proximity, in-flight inspection of another aircraft is uniquely hazardous
  • The pilot-in-command of the aircraft experiencing the problem/emergency must not relinquish control of the situation and/or jeopardize the safety of their aircraft
  • The maneuver must be accomplished with minimum risk to both aircraft