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entering holding patterns...a question!
A Question for the forum: As a student of instrument flying some years ago I was befuddled by the seemingly complicated methods taught to determine holding pattern entry. I struggled with it quite a bit then it occurred to me that it was really incredibly simple. Upon reaching the holding fix always simply make a turn right or left to the outbound heading. The direction of the turn is important and requires thought for you must turn into the protected airspace of the hold and will typically be the shortest turn on the compass. Once outbound you are either already in a direct entry outbound and your next turn will be a right or left turn back to the holding fix OR you are in the initial phase of a parallel or teardrop entry paralleling the inbound course outbound, whereupon you make a 45 degree turn right or left into the protected airspace, make a procedure turn back to the inbound course establishing yourself on the inbound course to the fix ready for your first outbound turn. So, all you need remember at the fix is the direction of turn and the outbound heading Can anyone see a situation where this violates holding airspace? I've practiced it on a sim a few dozen times and I've not found a situation where it violates a rule and it is simple to remember? .
h escalona
h escalona's picture
Holding pattern entry...
When you ask about something that might "violate holding airspace" the initial question might be why a violation? If you are in controlled airspace, and about to hold on a fix, you need to be aware of more than the direction of turn and the outbound heading. The first awareness that I sugest is being aware of the fact that changes brought by instructions from a controller can occur at any time prior to reaching the fix, while crossing the fix, or even after holding on that fix for a while. Controllers manage traffic so much that adjustments of airspeed, altitude, and heading can occur at any time to any aircraft when safe separation has the most importance. The controller has the responsibility to issue "complete" holding instructions except when the holding pattern is on the charts. Complete also means an "expect further clearance" time, and an estimate if there is an additional enroute delay possible. I can't mention this without explaining that when this has happened to me the first automatic thought when receiving that call was fuel. The possible total time of the delay against the amount of fuel onboard. Additionally the call comming from ATC can be shorter if the holding pattern is published on a chart. They can give you the holding direction, then simply "as published', and the estimated time of your next call. If we are following instructions from ATC, controlling the aircraft with the correct results of airspeed, heading, and altitude, my first thought of a violation is when we make-up an excusse for a change ATC has called about. There is a reason why it is called "controlled" airspace, and sometimes even an old guy like me needs to remember that we don't own the sky.

HE 21 Blackhawk years 35 Playing guitar years

Stick this in your E-6B
Stick this in your E-6B folder. Flip it for a hold of the opposite direction. http://stoenworks.com/images/Hold%20it%20images/pattern%20entry.gif
dustinromrell's picture
Holding Pattern Entries
A Reply for the forum: I find that many people struggle with how to enter holds. Although the way that you described to enter a holding pattern may work, AIM 5-3-7 j3(d) reads "While other entry procedures may enable the aircraft to enter the holding pattern and remain within protected airspace, the parallel, teardrop, and direct entries are the procedures for entry and holding recommended by the FAA." A very simple and fast method for determining which entry to use is "The Magic Number." I use this method and have found it very effective while in the cockpit. This you-tube channel has several videos describing the magic number (along with other great IFR flight training videos). http://www.youtube.com/miianwilson Fly safe and keep the blue side up,
Holding Pattern Entries

In Canada, it is right in the AIM that Direct, Parallel, and Offset(same thing as Teardrop) is to be used. I think it is simply a matter of repetition. Do it a whole bunch of times and eventually you just have it and it won't take much thinking to determine your entry and have the correct situational awareness "picture" in your mind.


See link below. Practice practice practice. Get X-Plane/Flight Sim, practice practice practice. Not sure about the states but in Canada, among other things, you need a min. of 40hrs total IFR, max 20 can be sim. Practice practice practice.


Holding Quiz

Confirm flaps up, set climb power, after takeoff checks.

"Protected" Airspace

I've always found it curious that the area inside the holding pattern is called "protected" airspace; radar services provide separation of aircraft regardless of position or intention. Even if an aircraft ventured outside the racetrack, would the airspace be less protected? Look forward to comments on this.

How to download skyvectors to a computer or tablet

How to download skyvectors to a computer or tablet