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When the pilot of the C421 requested the change to IFR, both pilots were still responsible for seeing and avoiding the other aircraft until the controller could establish a separation standard. The controller issued the pilot of the C421 with a radar heading, even though the C421, as an aircraft operating under the VFR in Class E airspace, was not subject to radar control and was not provided with an airways clearance. The AIP stated that the only radar services available to aircraft operating under the VFR within radar coverage in Class E airspace, were traffic information about other radar observed traffic on request, position information, and navigation assistance. It would have been difficult for the pilot of the C421 to assume responsibility for separation with the 737 while being radar vectored by ATC. However, the controller had issued instructions that had been acknowledged by the 737 crew, that established a 500 ft buffer between the two aircraft. The 737 crew had identified the C421 on their TCAS display and saw it during this period. A third aircraft, a Raytheon Beechcraft King Air 200, was part of the air traffic control sequence, but was not a factor in the reported occurrence.

Prior to the 27 November changes, both aircraft would have required an airways clearance and would have been provided with a separation standard. In this occurrence, all aircraft were in Class E airspace and there was no prescribed separation standard applicable, therefore there was no infringement of separation standards.

The circumstances of this occurrence constituted a non-serious airprox occurrence.


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