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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8
votes
1answer
654 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?
2
votes
1answer
575 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
518 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
11k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you hold at a non-towered airport?

Let's say, hypothetically, that you enter the pattern for a small, non-towered airport (my local one, 3DW, may be a good example.) But as you get into the pattern you find out that the runway is ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Why have different pattern altitudes for different aircraft?

In the FAA AFD for Santa Rosa airport (KSTS), the pattern altitude is given as 1,000’ AGL for small aircraft, and 1,500’ AGL for large aircraft. Why do these altitudes differ? Doesn’t it compromise ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

When to turn base at towered airport?

When at a towered airport and instructed to make "left pattern for runway 3," am I supposed to wait for the base leg turn until tower clears me for landing? This seems to be the norm, but I can't ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Where should I enter the pattern when instructed to report a 2-mile left base?

Say I'm flying heading 275 and am headed in to land on runway 16 at a towered airport in Class D airspace. I'm 8 miles to the east and have been cleared: "report 2 mile left base runway 16". Should I ...
10
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1answer
3k views

Why is it called “base” leg?

When flying a circuit, the leg after downwind and before final is called base. Where does this name come from?
10
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2answers
6k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
28
votes
7answers
27k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

In a Cessna 172 flying VFR on long final, when do I extend flaps to 10, 20, and 30 degrees?

At the pilot-controlled airfield I use most frequently, we fly a standard rectangular pattern. The normal-landing C172 flap sequence goes Downwind: 10 degrees past the “abeam point” and airspeed in ...
6
votes
1answer
422 views

Which FAR/AIM addresses Shortest Turn to Assigned Heading vs Runway Traffic Pattern?

Today I was in a simulator on runway 20R at KSNA. ATC gave me a VFR clearance and told me to fly heading 080 on departure. The runway has right traffic. I turned right and was told by ATC I should ...
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Is there a good iPhone app for tracking commercial aircraft? [duplicate]

I can see many airplanes circling around to land at KORD. I am wondering if there is a good real-time website or application to track these planes with 30-second accuracy or better. Any ideas?
13
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2answers
11k views

What is the difference between “closed traffic” vs “stay in the pattern” request?

My instructor made "request right closed traffic..." call before practicing a series of landings. Just wondering, what is the difference between this request and a "stay in the pattern..." request? ...
18
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...

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