What are some examples of holding instructions and how to enter them? I understand entry with direct, teardrop, and parallel. Just having a hard time coming up with formulating the procedure. Example; C172 hold south of ABC VORTAC. Does that mean race track is the 360 radial and holding south of the vortac?

  • $\begingroup$ FYI, from my experience you will always hold at some fix as depicted. I have never had ATC just assign me a random hold somewhere. There are plenty of charted holds to choose from. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Jul 27 '20 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ Closely related, maybe a dupe? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jul 27 '20 at 15:50

A holding instruction will usually include:

  • A fix,
  • A bearing or radial on which to travel for your inbound leg,
  • A turn instruction (if the turn is not the standard right turn)
  • A time or distance to travel on your inbound leg.
  • A cardinal direction of disambiguation for redundancy to keep you on the correct side of the fix.
  • An Expect Further Clearance time.

In GA flight, I have never received a non-published hold from ATC. Although, I have requested and received clearance plenty of non-published holds during training as well as my checkride.

Research AIM 5-3-8 for further details.

  • $\begingroup$ Non published hold clearances are usually for holds at some fix requested by the pilot to deal with a situation. Without an FMS, or a GA GPS system with FMS features that let you set up holds at any waypoint, almost unheard of. If a controller wants you to hold somewhere at a random fix for his/her own purpose, they will give you lots of advance warning to be ready to write down the clearance. $\endgroup$ – John K Jul 27 '20 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK - Agreed. Though, in training (and on my Checkride), non-published holds we’re done without an FMS or GPS (deemed inop by CFII and DPE for demonstration purposes). We did non-published holds with either two VORs determining the waypoint or one VOR and DME determining the waypoint. Each time, the holds were requested from ATC mid-flight along our IFR route. Usually it was done right before canceling the IFR clearance in order to divert to a nearby IAP for a surprise (to me) approach. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Jul 27 '20 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah. I had to do holds at an ADF fix! Where you have to guess the drift correction, fly with the needle offset, and you know you're good because the offset needle doesn't move when inbound. All kinds of stuff done in training that you'll never see in the real world, at least in this day and age. The workload on that sort of thing is pretty high, and I would say, dangerous when single pilot. $\endgroup$ – John K Jul 27 '20 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK - By the way, take a look at the other hold question. Am I missing something here? Or, is the OP way off? I haven’t done a hold since COVID-19. aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/79852/… $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Jul 27 '20 at 17:27

Remember, radials come from a fix. You cannot hold south of a VOR on the 360 radial in the same way that you could not hold east on a 270 radial using the VOR as the holding fix.

You could hold south on a 360 radial, but the fix would have to be somewhere away from the VOR. For example, if you're told to hold south of the 10DME on the 360 radial, that could be done.

What that would mean is that your fix, for the purposes of the inbound course, would be the 360 radial of the VOR at the 10 DME distance. So your racetrack pattern would be south of the point 10 miles north of the VOR (per the compass rose's north).


enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Spot on, Ryan. You may want to clarify that the fixes that have radials originating from them are VORs. You can have a non-VOR fix located along a radial of a VOR identified by the DME distance from the VOR, or triangulating with a second VOR. Any directions from or to a non-VOR fix would be called a bearing. A local DPE in this area has a trick question on the checkride where he gives holds either based on whether he says radial (from the Maverick, Ranger or Cowboy VOR) or bearing (from the fix). His reasoning? “Words mean something. Use the correct ones.” $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Jul 28 '20 at 21:20

Published holding us easier for both the pilot and ATC, but sometimes impossible due to a weather system impacting arrival routes. Plenty of non-standard holding is issued as published patterns are covered by convective activity.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation. The original question is a bit unclear to me, and I'm really unclear as to how this answers it. Please edit your question to provide some more details. If you'll take the tour you'll get a feel for how this site differs from "regular" discussion forums, and if you'll read the help center on "answering" you'll get a pretty good idea of the kind of authoritative and detailed answers we're looking for here. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Jul 27 '20 at 16:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.