Basic rules of the air

As in all aspects of life there are rules and regulations that affect flying. Some rules are just good common sense practices while others are habits acquired through specific training. All of these rules exist because safety in the skies is the most important consideration of all.

There are some basic flying common sense rules in which all pilots and air traffic controllers are trained. Some are given below.

  • Spend 70% of pilot time scanning the skies using a series of short, regularly spaced eye movements in 10° sections alternately looking both near and far, horizontally and vertically.
  • If there is no apparent motion between the aircraft you are piloting and another aircraft, then both are probably on a collision course.
  • Be aware of your aircraft's blind spots.
  • Before beginning a manoeuvre, make clearing turns while carefully scanning the area for other aircraft.
  • When faced with an aircraft approaching head-on, both aircraft are required to alter the course to the right.
  • When overtaking another aircraft flying in the same direction and on the same course, the aircraft being overtaken has the right-of-way, therefore pass well clear of it on the right.
  • When two aircraft are converging or approaching from the side, the aircraft to the left must give way to the aircraft on the right.
  • A general right-of-way rule states that the least manoeuvrable aircraft has the right-of-way.
  • Over congested areas (city or metropolitan area), aircraft are required to fly 1,000 feet above any obstruction (tall building, for example) within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of that aircraft.
  • Over uncongested areas (rural land, not open water), aircraft are required to fly at least 500 feet above the surface.

For most small aircraft flying outside controlled airspace in good weather, the pilots are responsible for maintaining a safe distance from other aircraft. This is the "see and be seen" principle otherwise known as VFR or Visual Flight Rules. In this mode of operation, a pilot must keep a continual watch for other aircraft in the sky. When flying above 3,000 feet above ground level (AGL), the pilot must follow VFR cruising altitudes given below (or east/west cruising altitudes).

  • Flying a magnetic course of 0° - 179°, fly at odd thousands plus 500 feet. For example, 3,500; 5,500; 7,500.
  • Flying a magnetic course of 18° - 359°, fly at even thousands plus 500 feet. For example, 4,500; 6,500; 8,500.

For jetliners flying inside controlled airspace, pilots are still responsible for maintaining a safe distance from other aircraft. They also must strictly follow IFR or Instrument Flight Rules. In this mode of operation, pilots are flying under reduced visibility and must depend on their instruments for additional guidance and information. Though rules of separation vary depending on the airspace in which a jetliner is flying, in general, air traffic controllers and pilots are required to maintain a horizontal distance of 5 nautical miles between 2 aircraft flying at the same altitude. For altitudes at and below 29,000 feet, vertical separation must be maintained at a minimum 1,000 feet. For altitudes above 29,000 feet vertical separation must be maintained at a minimum of 2,000 feet.

Rules of the Air

*Please check DOA AIP for updated amendments - Nok Aviation cannot be held responsible for information listed below.

Pre-Flight     

Royal Flights and other navigation warnings and NOTAM s from flight briefing office at Bangkok or Chiangmai International Airports .

For airfield information and rules of the air refer to Thai AIP

Thai Information Service available en-route from Thai military 127.0 (North) (callsign Fantasia) can supply information on a wide range of subjects in flight.

All
flights require a Flight Plan. From non-ATC airfields this can be done by telephone to the nearest control centre normally 1 hours notice required.

Customs & Excise . Flights from Thailand to foreign destinations must clear customs at designated airfields.

PPR .  Many Thai airfields are Prior Permission Required (PPR) and should be telephoned prior to take-off to ensure availability on arrival. It is advisable at some large airfields (Eg Bangkok International) that a handling agent to be arranged in advance. (use SGA)

Restricted/Prohibited areas include all Royal Palaces , designated military areas and some border control areas.

VMC Minima     

Location

Airspace Class

Flight Visibility

Distance from Cloud

AT & ABOVE FL100

B,D,E,F,G

8km

1500m Horizontally & 1000' vertically

BELOW FL100

D,E,F,G

5km

1500m Horizontally & 1000' vertically

AT OR BELOW 3000'

F,G

As above or :

 

 

 

 

 

at speeds greater than 140 kts

 

5km

Clear of cloud and in sight of the surface

at speeds 140 kts or less

 

1500m

Clear of cloud and in sight of the surface

SPECIAL VFR (SVFR)     

Only available in CONTROL ZONES
.
Clearance must be obtained and followed

The pilot must remain clear of cloud and in sight of the surface and with a minimum flight visibility of 10km. Will not be issued when visibility is less than 1500m or ceiling less than 600'.

Pilot absolved from remaining 1500' above the highest fixed obstacle within 600m, but must still be able to glide clear following an engine failure.

Night Flying

Flight at night must be in accordance with IFR (or special VFR if in a control zone). 

Rules of the Air     

Note: Thailand 's Rules of the Air and operating procedures are (with a few exceptions) based upon ICAO FAA regulations. ATC is in English with (usually) very helpful controllers.

LOW-FLYING

Not closer than 500' to any person, vehicle, vessel or structure , except for T/O and landing

Over built-up or congested areas : not lower than 1500' above the highest fixed object within 600m (except under SVFR) OR at  a height from which a landing can be made without danger to people or property on the surface if an engine fails .   Whichever is higher.

Not over or closer than 1 000 m to an assembly of more than 1000 persons in the open air.  

En-Route     

Cruising Levels

For flight outside controlled airspace above 3000' and below FL245 it is recommended that the following quadrantal cruising levels be adopted:

Mag Trk 000-179 deg:

Odds + 500

FL35, FL55 etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mag Trk 180-359 deg:

Evens +500'

FL45, FL65 etc

For IFR flight within controlled airspace, semicircular levels will be assigned.

Altimeter Setting     

The usual transition altitude is 10,000' although in some areas, it may differ.

Regional QNH may be used en-route.   Available from many ATC centres .

Most light aircraft in Thailand use QNH . QFE is rarely available.  

Transponders     

Conspicuity code (normal VFR operations) is A7000   - It is usual for each flying club aircraft to be allocated a specific transponder setting.

Recency

  • SEP (Single engine Piston) Class Rating:  Valid for 2 years.  For revalidation, pilot must have flown 12 hours in the second year, of which 6 must be P1, and 12 take-offs and landings, and complete a minimum 1 hour training flight with an instructor. Alternatively, a proficiency check with an examiner may be flown in the last 3 months of rating validity.  Should the rating lapse, a skills test must be flown with an examiner. If operating on a foreign licence with a Thai endorsement then validation is dependent upon medical expiry date.
  • MEP (Multi engine Piston) Class Rating:  Valid for 12 months. For revalidation, pilot must have flown 10 sectors of minimum 15 min cruise, and fly a proficiency check with an examiner.  Should the rating lapse, a skills test must be flown with an examiner.
  • Day/Night VFR solo - none.
  • Day VFR with passengers -  3 T/O & landings within 90 days.
  • Night VFR with passengers - 3 T/O & landings within 90 days , of which one must be at night.  Touch and go landings are acceptable.