Is a holding pattern always counter-clockwise? Or is it dependent upon the controlling airspace?

  • $\begingroup$ Right turns are standard for ICAO. In PANS-OPS (Doc 8168), Procedures for Air Navigation Services, section 4, chapter 1: "If no operational considerations prevail, right turns holding patterns should be established. For left turns holding patterns, the corresponding entry and holding procedures are symmetrical with respect to the inbound holding track" $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 23, 2017 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


No. The holding pattern can have any inbound course, and any direction. The holding pattern course/direction, depends on departing/arriving traffic, and many other factors. London Heathrow has a clockwise and counterclockwise hold on the fix LYDD. Thanks to Pondlife for pointing LYDD out!

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A better example from your image might be the holds at LYDD: one uses right turns and the other uses left turns. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Oct 23, 2017 at 15:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You could use both patterns, do a figure-8 and not get dizzy! :) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Oct 23, 2017 at 17:56

You must log in to answer this question.

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