Please describe and define the following terms:

  • Homing
  • 0 degree relative bearing
  • Tracking
  • Hold
  • Entry
  • Holding pattern
    • What are its uses and purposes?

Any one to suggest a thorough instrument book as well.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your book question may be covered here. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Consider the AIM (Airmans Information Manual) they exist online and cover most of these topics in clear written document form. I believe it's an FAA document infact.... also available in print form at your local airport FBO! -Brendan $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 4:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The FAA'S Instrument Flying Handbook covers all those terms and more, but of course if you're not in the US then you should be careful to check that there no significant differences with the rules wherever you are $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


Homing & 0° relative bearing

Homing is a technique used with ADF/NDB navigation, where you point the ADF needle at relative bearing, which means that your nose is directly pointed at the navigational aid you are trying to reach. The same technique can crudely be used with VORs and GPS, where homing onto a VOR would be changing the inbound radial every few minutes to establish a new heading to the VOR or using GPS GOTO every few minutes.

This is considered a poor navigational technique, as it purposely neglects wind correction and this the aircraft can get blown off track significantly. You also increase the leg time with this, as you take longer to reach the navaid than with wind correction applied.

enter image description here
(Image Source: navfltsim)

relative bearing refers to your longitudinal axis being in line with a navaid, mostly NDB. If something was straigh at your 3 o'clock, it would have a relative bearing of 90°, irrespective of your current magnetic heading.


Tracking is technically the same as Homing, however wind correction is applied. Simplified, you account for wind direction and speed and correct your magnetic heading by the wind correction factor, giving you a new corrected heading, which allows you to track to the navaid you are trying to reach.

enter image description here
(Image Source: www.avstop.com)

Hold, Hold pattern and Hold entry

A hold or hold pattern is a racetrack defined by inbound course to a fix, a turn direction and turn time, usually given in minutes. A standard hold will usually be right turns with a timing of 4min for the racetrack, which is 1min for each 180° turn and 1min for each straight legs. Depending on from where you are trying to enter a hold, there will be different hold entry techniques.

enter image description here
(Image Source: www.americanflyers.net)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .