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9 Ways To Avoid Traffic At Congested Airports

Thanks to Bose for making this story possible. Check out the full series here. And if you want to know why we fly with Bose, learn more about their headsets here.

1) Keep scanning

You should never let your guard down in the air. Divide your field of vision up into 10 degree increments, and scan each area for 2-3 seconds before moving onto the next one.


2) ADS-B

Starting in 2020, the FAA will require aircraft going into most airspace to have ADS-B. This allows you to see other aircraft from a display in your cockpit. It shows their altitude above or below you, as well as their position in relation to you.

Corey Komarec

3) Request ATC services

Workload permitting, most terminal areas will provide flight following or traffic advisories while you fly through busy airspace. It doesn't relieve you of your see and avoid responsibilities, but another set of eyes is always helpful.


4) Plan ahead

If you're approaching a busy non-towered airport, make sure you don't wait until 3 miles out to start making radio calls. Start announcing your position at least 10 NM from the airport. Give yourself time to coordinate with other traffic before you enter the traffic pattern.


5) Use your resources

You don't need to be a pilot to spot other air traffic. If you're flying with passengers, let them know that if they see any traffic during the flight, to let you know immediately.


6) Make yourself visible

Use your aircraft lights when approaching or departing an airport, day or night. Make sure other traffic can spot you before it becomes an issue.


7) Slow down

There's no need to be at excessive airspeeds when approaching an airport, especially a busy one. Slowing down will allow you more time to spot aircraft and react to conflicting traffic.


8) Know your right-of-way rules

FAR 91.113 covers the right-of-way rules for aircraft. Make sure you know them.


9) Maintain recommended altitudes an routes

Most major airports have procedures for traffic to bypass the congested area, and you can find them on the back of terminal area charts. Make sure you're familiar with the routes before you fly.

How else do you avoid traffic at busy airports? Tell us about your procedures in the comments below.

Want to learn more about Bose aviation headsets? We think Bose A20s are some of the most comfortable headsets out there. And we're not the only ones who think that, read reviews about the Bose A20 here.

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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