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A Burning Balloon And A Flaming Plane Are On Final - Who Goes First?

How well do you know your right-of-way rules? Test your mettle with this quiz - and see how you stack up against other pilots!


  1. 1) You're on fire! There's a tow plane and glider lifting off, and a balloon landing. Who has the right-of-way?
    Right Of Way - Question 1

    Awesome!

    The burning plane, of course! According to FAR 91.113c, "An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all air traffic." In short, if you see a flaming plane approaching the airport to land, stay away! 

    1. Answer Balloon
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    2. Answer Glider
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    3. Answer Plane Flames Final
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  2. 2) Which of these aircraft have the right-of-way? (They're converging at roughly the same altitude and at the same phase of flight.)

    Awesome!

    The refueling aircraft! According to FAR 91.113d, "An aircraft towing or refueling another aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft."

  3. 3) Two Cessna 172s are approaching each other head on at the same altitude. What should the pilots do?
    172 Head On Course

    Awesome!

    Both should alter course to the right! According to FAR 91.113e, "When aircraft are approaching each other head-on, or nearly so, each pilot shall alter course to the right."

    1. The pilot who sees the other aircraft first has the right-of-way
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    2. The pilot on a heading of 0-179 degrees must give way
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    1. The pilot on a heading of 180-359 degrees must give way
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    2. Both aircraft should alter course to the right
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  4. 4) Which aircraft has the right-of-way over all of the others? (They're converging at roughly the same altitude and at the same phase of flight)

    Awesome!

    The balloon! According to FAR 91.113c, "A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft."

  5. 5) In this video, two aircraft approach the same runway at the same time. Who has the right-of-way?

    Awesome!

    The plane taking the video! According to FAR 91.113g, under landing rules, the aircraft on final approach and at a lower altitude has right-of-way. Did the pilot make the correct decision to go around? Absolutely! The other aircraft shouldn't have cut them off, but scraping paint is never a good idea!

    1. The plane taking the video
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    2. The plane shown on the right
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  6. 6) Which aircraft has the right-of-way? (They're converging at roughly the same altitude and at the same phase of flight)

    Awesome!

    The glider! According to FAR 91.113d, "A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, powered parachute, weight-shift controlled aircraft, airplane, or rotorcraft."

  7. 7) A flaming balloon and burning airplane are on final approach to the same runway. Who has the right-of-way? (If you're having a real bad day, it could happen...)
    Balloon Plane Flames

    The FARs really don't address this one. Just try not to trade paint with the balloon...

    1. Answer Balloon Flames
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    2. Answer Plane Flames
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    3. Really?!? Just Land!
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Your Right-Of-Way Knowledge: Student Pilot

You scored % Spend some time reading FAR 91.113 and you'll be a pro in no time. Think you know more than your friends? Click share and find out!

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Your Right-Of-Way Knowledge: Private Pilot

You scored % Think you know more than your friends? Click share and find out!

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Your Right-Of-Way Knowledge: Flight Instructor

You scored % You can navigate the crowded skies without getting in anyone's way! Think you know more than your friends? Click share and find out!

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Your Right-Of-Way Knowledge Level: Chuck Yeager

Whoa - you scored % You dodge burning balloons and towplanes with gliders like a champ! Well done! Think you know more than your friends? Click share and find out!

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Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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