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EGLL LHR Heathrow holding - anyone know a little more than me?

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Hi chapsWas flying in from SIN yesterday (in FS that is) and decided to do a hold or two. I know that LHR has "descending" holding stacks where you enter the hold at a certain flight level and circle around in your hold descending as you go, for example LAM Lambourne.My questions were, if anyone knows:1) How do ATC define the descent? Do you reckon it's in feet per minute? Or do they just say lose a certain amount of altitude in each "circle"?2) Do you reckon V/S mode would be the best way? I imagine FLCH or VNAV will be a bit steep?3) What sort of typical altitudes would you start in a holding stack? I believe you generally descend down to about 7000' before getting vectors to the runway.I realise these may be reasonably arcane questions, but I thought I'd just see...sorry of they are a bit tedious/boring, or maybe even simple for some!CheersRudy


Rudy Fidao

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Hey Rudy, my reply will probably get shot down for being inaccurate, but my understanding based on very limited flight sim experience is that ALL holding patterns are defined at a FIXED altitude, such that the holding patterns at EGLL to which you refer may simply be a SEQUENCE of holding patterns that are located at progressively lower altitudes so that incoming flights can be "stacked" in holding patterns when traffic is heavy.This is just a wild guess, which might simply be wrong.Tony


Best regards from Tony, at the helm of the flying desk.

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>Hey Rudy, my reply will probably get shot down for being>inaccurate, but my understanding based on very limited flight>sim experience is that ALL holding patterns are defined at a>FIXED altitude, such that the holding patterns at EGLL to>which you refer may simply be a SEQUENCE of holding patterns>that are located at progressively lower altitudes so that>incoming flights can be "stacked" in holding patterns when>traffic is heavy.>AFAIK this is basically true, but there are cases like the arrival (can't remember the name) at LOWI where you have to hold going down in order to avoid surrounding mountains. I find difficult to believe this applies to London as well, but someone more informed will let us know.Cheers

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Every Hold has a minimum and maximum holding level (marked on the charts) and you will be instructed to enter it 1 Flight Level above the current top aircraft. So, if min-stack is at FL80 and there two aircraft already in it they'll be at FL80 and FL90, you'll get FL100. As the bottom a/c is vectored out of the Hold then the 2nd aircraft will be told to descend to FL80, then the third told to descend to FL90 to replace them.You usually only get descents of 1 FL at a time when holding so you can descend by any method provided you hold your speed, it's not far to go down. Holds also have speed limits, in the UK it's usually about 210KIAS or 220KIAS with one minute legs (below FL140).


Bill Casey

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The latest version (2004) of the charts for Heathrow's Lambourne STAR (LAM3A) that I have shows holds being available at:LOGAN - altitude controlled via ATCSABER - as above but with a max of FL170BRASO - as above with MHA of FL180 with a max of FL240and LAM, again controlled by ATC with a limit of 7,000 and then as directed.All holds are shown left hand circuits (anti-clock).All holds are shown with the message that 'actual altitudes will be as directed by ATC'.Something in the distant parts of my memory tells me that each circuit of the hold included a descent of 1,000 feet, but I may be wrong.Hope this helps.Rick

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Thanks a lot guys - that clears matters up nicely. I was thinking (strangely) of some continuous descent, but what you have said makes much more sense.Cheers!Rudy


Rudy Fidao

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