Looking & Scanning for Other Air Traffic


Proof that you can never stop looking for other aircraft.

During a lesson today at Eagle Airport as we were taxing back to the ramp a completely unannounced aircraft suddenenly appeared on short final and proceeded to do touch-and-go’s.  Consider that Eagle Airport is a tower controlled airport with as many as 1000 operations per day.  Eagle airport serves a variety of military, airline, corporate, and general aviation aircraft.

The unannouced aircraft was obviously confused about their position, as they probably thought they were in Rifle instead.  This incident illustrates the necessity for the pilot to continuously look for traffic in all situations and all types of airspace.  Even at controlled airports there is the possibility for controller and pilot mistakes that could put at risk your aircraft.

The pilot should continuously scan the sky in 10 degree increments.  In addition, there are obvious places to look for traffic that presents specific hazards.  When changing heading look in the direction of the turn and behind for aircraft that may collide from behind and the side.  Before taking the runway for takeoff look at the approach course to each end of that runway.  On final consider the possiblity of aircraft below or above your aircraft.