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Home > Fear of Flying > Should I be afraid when I see those planes so close to us?
Should I be afraid when I see those planes so close to us?
Flying - Fear of Flying
Tuesday, 05 June 2007 06:37


Dear Captain Lim,

I was on a flight yesterday from London Heathrow to Washington Dulles and while we were over the ocean, I clearly saw three large commercial planes flying in the opposite direction. Two of them were together, the first one was higher and in front of the lower one, however out of my little window I could see both planes and a lot of blue sky suggesting to me that those planes were close to me and close to each other. About half an hour later, I saw a BA flight slightly above me. The fact that I could see what airlines the planes were, suggested how close they were and for the rest of the flight I was constantly looking out of the window in fear.

I have looked at FAQ on your websites but did not see that there was a set amount of ft. that must be present between two planes and I wondered if there was a minimum amount set? I am pretty sure that the planes I saw were not more than 1000/1500ft away from me. My plane did not make any sudden movements and the two planes I saw first seemed to be going in a straight, level direction.

Incidentally, my maiden name was Lim, and I felt that I had found the right site and decided to write to you.

Joanna Trayhan

Hi Joanna,


Yes, I wrote about this topic under RVSM rule. It stands for Reduced Vertical Separation Minima.

RVSM rule has allowed many planes to flying across the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere. Only special pilots with the required training and airplanes that have very accurate altimeters are permitted to fly under the RVSM airspace.

So, not to worry! The advance of Science has benefited many travelers when airplanes can safely fly at a vertical separation of 1000 feet!

Have a pleasant flight! (Long lost relative? :-))

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