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If I ask ATC 'request direct to ABCDE waypoint and one turn holding', do they expect me to do the teardrop entry or parallel entry if I need to and fly the whole holding pattern after that?

Or teardrop or parallel are counted as one turn holding?

I looked up the textbook and handbook, but could not find it anywhere... If you could back up your opinion, that would be very appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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    – Pondlife
    Dec 27, 2021 at 15:23

3 Answers 3

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Personally I have no expectations whatsoever. Sometimes the student (or instructor) requests multiple holds and they end up only doing one, and sometimes it's the opposite. My general technique is to say "Hold over ABCDE as published and advise ready to exit the hold," which lets you tell me when you are done doing whatever you need to be doing.

If absolutely pressed, I would say that the entry to the hold—however you do it—does not count for the "one turn holding;" the "one turn" starts once you are over the holding fix and aligned in the proper direction.

Source: Students request holds every so often in my airspace. It doesn't happen daily but it does happen.

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The first time you pass over the holding fix is the entry. Each additional time you pass over the holding fix completes one turn.

The first turn is often not a complete racetrack, e.g. a teardrop or parallel entry, but it still counts as a turn. Most importantly, such a turn qualifies as a hold for maintaining currency or for checkrides (per my DPE). You do not need to fly even one complete racetrack unless you did a direct entry; a course reversal is enough.

That said, I never requested “one turn” during training. I would request to hold as published at an IAF, and unless there was traffic (typically another student doing the same thing) ATC would simply tell me to advise when I was inbound. I could do as many or as few turns as my CFII desired.

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If you ask ATC to do one turn in holding, as you say in your question, to my knowledge there is no specific guidance (in the ATC Order 7110.65 or the AIM, etc.) identifying pilot or controller expectations. So, in the absence of clear and unambiguous information, I would recommend telling them exactly what you want to do (i.e., just the entry or the entry plus one full turn).

Otherwise, it's just a guessing game without a definitive answer.

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