Saturday, June 23, 2012

ALERT! Federal aviation regulation requirement to operate on the airway center line may contribute to threat of mid air collisions!

"§ 91.181   Course to be flown.
Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft within controlled airspace under IFR except as follows:
(a) On an ATS route, along the centerline of that airway.
(b) On any other route, along the direct course between the navigational aids or fixes defining that route. However, this section does not prohibit maneuvering the aircraft to pass well clear of other air traffic or the maneuvering of the aircraft in VFR conditions to clear the intended flight path both before and during climb or descent."

The current Federal Aviation Administration regulation 91.181 requires pilots to operate their flights along the course centerline of their cleared routing.  I would like to suggest this may actually enhance the possibility  of a mid air collision occurring.  The reason for this is the recent availability of Wide Area Augmentation Systems for the Global Navigation Satellite System.  In addition, the European Geostationary Navigational Overlay System obtained fully operational status making the same accuracy of navigation available in European airspace.The accuracy of both these systems is plus or minus one meter, never worse than two meters.

An article written more than 50 years ago that appears in Wikipedia is entitled "The Paradox of Navigation," The author concludes that the "more accurately we navigate, the more likely mid air collisions will occur."

Also see a previous post on this Blog entitled "Randomness is Good!"