General resources


Rules for prevention of collision

Right of way

Right of way CAR 161

An aircraft that is required to keep out of the way of another aircraft must avoid passing over or under the other, or crossing ahead of it, unless passing well clear.

An aircraft that has the right of way must maintain its heading and speed, but nothing in the rules shall relieve the pilot in command of an aircraft from the responsibility of taking such action as will best avert collision.



When two aircraft are on converging headings at approximately the same height, the aircraft that has the other on its right must give way, except that (CAR 162):

  • power-driven heavier-than-air aircraft shall give way to airships, gliders and balloons
  • airships shall give way to gliders and balloons
  • gliders shall give way to balloons
  • power-driven aircraft shall give way to aircraft that are seen to be towing other aircraft or objects.

When two aircraft are approaching head-on (or approximately so) and there is danger of collision, each shall alter its heading to the right.



An aircraft that is being overtaken has the right-of-way and the overtaking aircraft, whether climbing, descending, or in horizontal flight, shall keep out of the way of the other aircraft by altering its heading to the right, and no subsequent change in the relative positions of the two aircraft shall absolve the overtaking aircraft from this obligation until it is entirely past and clear.


An overtaking aircraft shall not pass the aircraft that it is overtaking by diving or climbing.

An aircraft in flight, or operating on the ground or water, shall give way to other aircraft landing or on final approach to land.

When two or more heavier-than-air aircraft are approaching an aerodrome for the purpose of landing, aircraft at the greater height shall give way to aircraft at the lesser height, but the latter shall not take advantage of this rule to cut in front of another that is on final approach to land, or overtake that aircraft.

Notwithstanding anything contained in the paragraph above, power-driven heavier- than-air aircraft shall give way to gliders.

An aircraft that is about to take off shall not attempt to do so until there is no apparent risk of collision with other aircraft.

An aircraft that is aware that another aircraft is compelled to land shall give way to that aircraft.

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New rules come into effect from 2 December 2021 that cover the general operating and flight rules. We are currently updating this guide to reflect the new rules. A new version will be available to download from 2 December.
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