Commonwealth Consolidated Regulations

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Right of way rules

             (1)  The pilot in command of an aircraft contravenes this subregulation if, during a flight:

                     (a)  there is a risk of collision between the aircraft and another aircraft; and

                     (b)  a circumstance mentioned in column 1 of an item in the following table exists; and

                     (c)  the pilot in command contravenes the right of way rule mentioned in column 2 of that item.


Right of way rules


Column 1

Column 2



Right of way rule


An aircraft is in an emergency and compelled to land

Any other aircraft must give way to the aircraft that is compelled to land


An aircraft is landing

Any other aircraft (whether in flight or operating on the ground or water) must give way to the aircraft that is landing


Two heavier-than-air aircraft are conducting an approach to land at an aerodrome

The following rules apply:

(a) the higher aircraft must give way to the lower aircraft;

(b) however, if the higher aircraft is in the final stages of an approach to land, the lower aircraft must not take advantage of the higher aircraft's need to comply with paragraph (a) to cut in front of the higher aircraft;

(c) despite paragraphs (a) and (b), a power-driven heavier-than-air aircraft must give way to an unpowered glider


An aircraft is overtaking another aircraft

The aircraft that is overtaking must give way to the aircraft being overtaken


Aircraft mentioned in column 2 are in the same vicinity

An aircraft mentioned in the following list must give way to an aircraft listed above it in the list:

(a) a balloon;

(b) a person descending by parachute;

(c) an unpowered glider;

(d) an airship;

(e) an aircraft that is towing something (including another aircraft);

(f) a power-driven aircraft


Two aircraft are on converging headings at approximately the same altitude

The aircraft that has the other aircraft on its right must give way to the other aircraft


             (2)  Subregulation (1) does not apply if it is necessary, in order to avoid a collision with an aircraft, not to comply with the right of way rule.

             (3)  A person commits an offence of strict liability if the person contravenes subregulation (1).

Penalty:  50 penalty units.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in subregulation (2): see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code .

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