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Reporting traffic in sight during multi-crew operations.


New member
If ATC asks you if you have the traffic while flying in a multi-crew cockpit, do both pilots have to see the traffic, the PF, or just one?

Here is an example of a script:

MSP_APP: SKW3945, traffic 12 o'clock, 4 miles, a Piper Arrow descending through 4,700, report in sight.

Both pilots look for the traffic, and one of them finds it.
The Pilot Flying (PF) looks for the traffic and finds it.
Both pilots look for the traffic, and both have to find it.

SKW3945: Traffic in sight, SKW3945.


Active member
I don't know about the airlines but in GA planes as long as one pilot spots it, and whoever spots it will point it out to the other pilot too.

However, I was told to be careful with reporting traffic in sight because once you tell ATC, it becomes your responsibility to maintain visual separation.


Active member
When I flew as a right-seat observer, whoever spotted the traffic would say, "Traffic in sight, no factor." and then the other pilot would not necessarily need to see it him or herself.

If it were a possible traffic conflict then whoever spotted it would leave the "no factor" part out.

It's entirely possible that certain outfits/airlines have their own rule about this.


Active member
I would argue that pointing traffic out to the other person in the cockpit is a good safety practice.
Definitely, but often times the other pilot was busy chasing the other aircraft, so if the traffic was not at all a factor, no point in breaking their concentration on what they're doing.