Close Crossing Question

On Feb 14 I thought a twin came close to our DAL Flt 6490. (ATL-HPN) Is there a way to look at this event to see how close we actually crossed?


Unless you were close enough to read the tail number, (or knew the origin/destination) it would be impossible to find the other aircraft.

And if you did, FA does not receive tracking data at a high enough resolution (1 minute between plots) to show the difference between a conflict and a safe passage.

from the FAQ:

I believe I witnessed a traffic conflict, altitude deviation, or some other anomaly. Should I report it? (Back To Top)
Please don’t. Rather, read the terms of use and understand that this data is for casual observation only and not for any operational purpose. FlightAware technology was not designed with the intent to observe safety or regulation anomalies, so please do not try to use it for that purpose.

You don’t say if you were in cruise flight or going in for a landing, but distance is incredibly deceptive even at the altitudes I fly at, so what looks close just may be quite a bit further in distance.

At the lower altitudes, seperation between IFR and VFR airplanes is a measily 500 feet in altitude.

We do put quite a bit of faith in a 30 year old encoding transponder (the age of the transponder in my plane).

Closure rates even in my small plane is incredibly quick when faced with opposing traffic.


I flew UA out of ORD one cloudy day. Just after wheels up and into the muck, ATC advised traffic 10:00 Cessna. We punched through the first layer (with a good bit of pitch for climb) and there it was, seemingly floating motionless, close enough to touch as we crusied by. I felt quite safe, but couldn’t help but think from the Cessna’s vantage point, it we looked a bit like the shark from Jaws, breaking the water, teeth bared for the kill.

1000 ft separation and closing rates over 500 kts can seem very close… but perfectly legal and safe.

Yes, airliner windows should have warnings like car mirrors…
“Objects seen through window are further away than they appear.”

Isn’t that CLOSER than they appear?

I’ve always wondered why.

Q: Why are objects in a car mirror closer than they appear? R.P.

A: Mirrors that carry the familiar warning, Objects in mirror are closer than they appear are not regular flat mirrors. They are slightly convex, meaning they bulge outward like the side of a ball.

See rest of article at

Just to make you feel better, Pat, I got the joke.

In this case, “like” equals “similar to”.