View Full Version : Scanning technique
17th Jun 2004, 08:28
No, not the small radio type, I'm on about the looking out the window type.
On my way past Filton/Bristol, over Bath, Bristol were giving me a FIS, but kindly advised me of one ahead, about one mile in my eleven o'clock. Did I see him? No. Bristol again advised, that I was now 100 metres (yards, I can't recall). Still didn't see it. Only when he was abeam (I'd estimate 150 metres or more, and slightly lower than me but not much!) did I see him. Of course, he wasn't in contact with Bristol!
So, obviously my scanning technique has taken a dive recently, what is your method, and do you find it effective? (I.e. do they still take you by surprise?)
17th Jun 2004, 08:43
Aeroplanes below you are notoriously more difficult to see than those above.
Bit surprised they did not offer any guidance on avoidance.
17th Jun 2004, 08:56
The controller couldn't tell (when we were 100 m apart) whether the other plane was higher or lower than myself. Depends on the type of radar they use as to whether it gives height information, and also as to what resolution it can do this.
I had only asked for FIS, perhaps my fault for not converting to RAS, as there was no weather to interfere with any advice (I'm VFR only).
Also, my hearing isn't the best, and perhaps he did offer advice. His lowish pitched voice didn't help me understand everything he was saying. Mostly because I didn't really expect anyone to talk to me after the initial call until handed off, and was caught by surprise each time. That was your callsign Richy, pay attention. By which time, he's already said half of what he was telling me.
17th Jun 2004, 09:01
If you ask for a FIS but then don't listen out you may as well not bother.
But going back to the original question, flying around with something which has traffic information you learn very quickly that the amount of traffic you see is only a small proportion of the the traffic that is around you!
Scary or what.
RIS, I think you mean. RAS is only for IFR dudes.
High Wing Drifter
17th Jun 2004, 09:12
The scanning technique as described in Safety Sense 13 (SSL13) is pretty spot on. It is hard to get used to though and easy to forget. But pays off when you do stick to it. Both in terms of lookout and staying level and on heading.
In fact all the leaflets are essential reading :ok:
17th Jun 2004, 09:20
HF: good idea to re-read. Doing it now (well, after this post).
FD: It's just that it's really the first time that I've had such a situation. My usual experience of FIS is to say hello and goodbye, and listen to everyone else doing the same, thus getting an idea of who is about... No, I lie. London once told me about a Cessna they knew about travelling in the same direction as me, but I spotted him ages before I caught up. He was higher than me, going with your theory of they're more difficult to spot when low.
Genghis the Engineer
17th Jun 2004, 09:20
I can repeat what I was taught on scanning (by my first instructor, who was an ex-fighter pilot) and has worked well ever since, except when I get sidetracked and forget to do it regularly.
The big issues are (1) for the purpose, peripheral vision is generally much better than direct (ever watch a good martial artist training? - they stare straight into the opponents face, never look at arms and legs, and that's not just to spook them), and (2) anything on a conflicting course will get bigger in your field of view, but won't move much - which makes it all much more difficult (but impossible if your eyes aren't still, at-least for a moment).
So, based upon that the approach I've been using for years is...
- Straight ahead (on horizon and/or instruments as applicable)
- Head quickly left to 9 O'clock level, pause, absorb the view
- Head forward and up to 12 O'clock high, same again
- Head right and down to 3 O'clock level, same again.
(If the aircraft permits, then a brief look behind).
- Head back to 12 O'clock level, same again.
- Resume normal flying by attitude.
30 seconds or so later repeat, continue until in IMC or the circuit.
I'm not saying I've never been surprised by another aeroplane, but it's usually when I allow my lookout discipline to slip and pretty rare when I stick to this pattern.