Crossing planes [Planes at different heights]

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
This is a fairly complete general explanation of separation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_(air_traffic_control)

However, its possible these flights are at RVSM altiude, where other rules apply:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced_Vertical_Separation_Minima

Its also possible that there was a violation.

A photogrammatic analysis could possibly tell you more, if done carefully:
https://www.metabunk.org/posts/306

One hint that the planes are not so close is lack of wake vortex effects on the contrails, but since they weren't persistent, it is hard to tell.
Jay
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It's pretty much impossible to tell a difference of a few thousand feet from the ground, and certainly not from a low resolution video.

So long as there's 1000 feet vertically between them, then it's fine, and in fact happens relatively frequently.

This si what it looks like from the cockpit:



And here's one with THREE planes crossing the path of another. All perfectly legal and safe:

 
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