(a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the
operation of an aircraft on water.
(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of
whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual
flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an
aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this
section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way
to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well
(c) In distress. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way
over all other air traffic.
(d) Converging. When aircraft of the same category are
converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly
so), the aircraft to the other's right has the right-of-way. If the
aircraft are of different categories --
(1) A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft;
(2) A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, airplane, or
(3) An airship has the right-of-way over an airplane or rotorcraft.
However, an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the
right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.
(e) Approaching head-on. When aircraft are approaching each
other head-on, or nearly so, each pilot of each aircraft shall alter
course to the right.
(f) Overtaking. Each aircraft that is being overtaken has the
right-of-way and each pilot of an overtaking aircraft shall alter course
to the right to pass well clear.
(g) Landing. Aircraft, while on final approach to land or while
landing, have the right-of-way over other aircraft in flight or operating
on the surface, except that they shall not take advantage of this rule to
force an aircraft off the runway surface which has already landed and is
attempting to make way for an aircraft on final approach. When two or more
aircraft are approaching an airport for the purpose of landing, the
aircraft at the lower altitude has the right-of-way, but it shall not take
advantage of this rule to cut in front of another which is on final
approach to land or to overtake that aircraft.