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Questions tagged [traffic-pattern]

The standard pattern that traffic follows when landing at or taking off from an airport, or when performing touch-and-goes. The pattern - or circuit - can use either right-hand or left-hand turns and has five segments: upwind, crosswind, downwind, base, and final.

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19 votes
1 answer
8k views

What is a two- or three-mile base exactly?

I frequently hear the tower instruction Report a two mile base for runway 5 What is the intention of that instruction? I realize that under these circumstances that we're not looking for pinpoint ...
falstro's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do some airports have a non standard traffic pattern altitude?

Some airports have a non-standard traffic pattern altitude. For example KGXY is 800 feet. Why is this?
ABC123's user avatar
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28 votes
1 answer
3k views

At a non-towered airport in the US, what should I do if I hear a medevac flight waiting to take off while I'm turning base?

I'm in the left downwind at my favorite non-towered airport. Just while I'm making the turn to base, I hear a radio call on CTAF: "Such-and-such Traffic, Medevac 123, holding short runway 31." They ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
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16 votes
6 answers
6k views

Is a full traffic pattern required when there is no traffic at an untowered airport?

If there seems to be very little traffic at an untowered airport, and no one's replied to any of your radio calls, is it acceptable to just fly a straight-in approach to the runway, or should you ...
Qantas 94 Heavy's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
10k views

How can I find traffic patterns that pass over my house?

I live in Atlanta, GA well north of the airport and typically there is very few large, commercial aircraft that pass overhead. But there is an on-going security issue at the airport today and there ...
tpg2114's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Does a pilot need clearance to enter the traffic pattern?

In one video, I saw a Cessna that got its instructions to enter the pattern along with landing clearance, but I saw another where the pilot just flew in and got clearance somewhere around late-...
James Davis's user avatar
29 votes
7 answers
34k views

How to join a traffic pattern when passing overhead?

I can't seem to find a definite answer to the question on how to enter a traffic pattern when joining from the opposite end of the pattern. No matter who I ask, I'm getting a different answer every ...
Philippe Leybaert's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
10k views

What is the correct traffic pattern at a towered airport?

When flying into a towered airport in VFR, is the pilot expected to enter a standard traffic pattern, or should the plane be flown in the most direct route to final as practical? For example, if ...
Eric's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is it "cutting off" in the pattern when I go before a plane that is going faster than I am but let me in first?

While turning from the 45˚ to the downwind leg for a downwind pattern landing in a Cessna 182, a Cheyenne was calling 5 miles out on a GPS approach for a straight in landing. Clear day, both flying ...
WildFlyer's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
1k views

If I'm cleared to land without any specific instructions on how to enter the pattern, what should I do?

I learned at an uncontrolled airport. I thought I had controlled communications down pretty well, but I upset the tower controller today. Situation: I was coming from the southeast, and tower told me “...
EddieG's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
864 views

Why is the VFR traffic pattern area at some airports different from its IFR circling approach area?

Take Half Moon Bay Airport (KHAF) as an example. Under VFR, the traffic pattern is right pattern for RWY 30 and left pattern for RWY 12. This implies the downwind leg is to the EAST of the RWY 12-30,...
CrepuscularV's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What made 800 feet and later 1,000 feet attractive as the standard traffic pattern altitude?

The value of a commonly understood traffic pattern altitude is obvious, but what is the history behind TPA of eight hundred feet in particular? Why not 700 or 900? Was the later move to 1,000 AGL ...
Greg Bacon's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Do commercial jets ever make 360 in the pattern for separation?

It's not uncommon for GA aircraft to circle in the pattern for separation purposes. Does that ever happen to big commercial jets? Imagine an airliner were cleared for a visual yet forced to execute ...
lemonincider's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
535 views

How will the lack of ground stations affect navigation?

VOR's and NDB beacons are getting closed day by day and they were used for making and then referencing the holding patterns and the entry procedures and how they were named. So How will we make ...
Delta Oscar Uniform's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

How can I stop being too high or low when on base and final?

I'm a student pilot having trouble with landings, and problems are occurring in the pattern on base and on final; I am either too high or too low. As a result, I feel I have lost confidence. I feel ...
Mike's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
22k views

What does the ATC instruction "Make left traffic, runway 19L" mean?

I'm playing Prepar3D and when coming in for a landing I'm usually told something like Make left traffic, runway 19L. I'm not sure how to interpret this because I'm ...
Stefan Dimeski's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the purpose of a Traffic Pattern?

I always see images with a runway and a rectangular flight path over it and ask myself why do the pilots take off, fly around the runway and get back and land, what is the purpose of doing that: take ...
user13197's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
289 views

How is the VOR-A approach at KVCB meant to be flown?

This is the VOR-A approach into KVCB: The plate indicates that "Circling NA west of Rwy 2-20." But runway 2 is left traffic and runway 20 is right traffic. How is one meant to avoid the ...
Chris's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
799 views

How do pilots in the US identify the circuit (pattern) height? [duplicate]

In the UK, aerodrome weather information includes not only QNH (the air pressure at mean sea level), but also QFE, the air pressure at runway level. To arrive at an aerodrome, normally one obtains and ...
Dan Hulme's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
853 views

How is a traffic pattern oriented, entered and exited?

If you've received traffic entry instructions from Heathrow Tower (sim) to fly left downwind for runway 9L, does that mean to be to the left of runway 9L (for a right-turning traffic pattern, where ...
Rich Jenks's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

What is the purposes of grid-like pattern route for small aircraft? [duplicate]

In these days, I see small aircraft like P68 fly with a very accurate "grid-like" pattern. I'm sorry but I don't know the correct word. Here a couple of examples, grabbed today at the same time: and ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 293
0 votes
2 answers
297 views

Is it normal to choose a left or right pattern based on the wind direction? [duplicate]

I fly at Las Cruces International (KLRU) which is in an area with high winds (20 knots or more). My flight instructor wants me to fly the traffic pattern according to the crosswind direction on ...
DLH's user avatar
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