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Guest franksalot

Flying a Holding Pattern

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How do you fly a Holding Pattern when requested by ATC? On my PSS A321 a holding Pattern is built into the FMC; however my Fokker 70 does not have that feature. If I start 'wandering' about the sky at the Mayfield VOR someone is going to get very upset . I just wondered if the Holding Pattern has a set routine written down somewhere, or if you are meant to go to a quiet place and practice for a month or two?Now that SB3 is out I'm thinking about going Online again; I remember back along ATC requested my to fly a HP, as I had no idea how to do it - I just hit the 'P' key and waited!!! - my Controller was quite upset (rightly so) and I haven't flown Online since. Thought I'd better do some 'homework' first this time.KenSomerset, Englandwizard01

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You can either be told to hold as published (if a hold is published) or you will be given specific holding instructions. These instructions include direction off the navaid to hold on (radial or direction), right turns are standard and unless you are told left turns you make right ones, also time or distance for legs (usually 1 or 1.5 minute legs depending on altitude). As part of the holding instructions you are usually cleared direct to the holding point (unless you are on a published route heading to a published hold). You then have to figure out how to enter the hold (direct, teardrop, and parallel are the three entry types). Explaining how to know which entry type and then how to fly the entry is a bit more than I want to try and write! Perhaps someone here knows a good web source.

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Holds are procedures that ATC uses to help delay traffic (if necessary for weather or other reasons) or to help ensure spacing between aircraft.Holds are racetrack shaped patterns anchored over a navigation fix. This point is called the holding fix. The holding fix can be any point identifiable using radio navigation: over a VOR, an NDB, a GPS waypoint, an intersection, or a DME point off of a radial are some examples.The pattern is flown by having the aircraft head towards the navigation fix tracking a heading, bearing, or radial specified by ATC. This is called the inbound leg. Immediately passing the holding fix, the aircraft then makes a 180 degree, standard rate turn (usually to the right) to head outbound on a reciprocol heading. This leg is called the outbound leg. The outbound leg is flown either for a certain amount of time or a specific DME distance, at which point the aircraft again makes a 180 degree, standard rate turn in the same direction to intercept the inbound radial, course or bearing.A standard rate turn is a turn where heading changes at a rate of 3 degrees per second. In aircraft equipped with a turn coordinator we can tell a standard rate turn when the tip of the minature aircaft is aligned with the white index mark. In high performance aircraft, turning at 3 degrees per second would require a steep bank angle, so standard rate turns are somewhat less. High performance aircaft such as jets make standard rate turns at 30 degrees of bank, or in aircraft equipped with a flight director whatever angle the flight director commands.Viewed from above, the holding pattern looks like a racetrack pattern. If turns are made to the right, then side to the right of the aircraft as the airplane tracks inbound to the holding fix is called the holding side. The side opposite the holding side is called the non-holding side. Obstacle clearance on the holding side is guaranteed when ATC gives a holding clearance to an aircraft. Obstacle clearance is not guaranteed on the non-holding side.ATC uses holds to delay traffic, so the pilot flys holds in a way that kills time. This means that aircraft fly holds at speeds below typical cruise speeds. The maximum allowable speed in a hold varies with the altitude at which the hold is being flown. From the minimum enroute altitude (MEA) up to 6000' MSL, the maximum speed in a hold is 200 KIAS. From 6000 to 14000 MSL the maximum speed is 230 KIAS and greater than 14000 MSL the maximum speed is 265 KIAS. In some cases a published hold (that is a hold depicted on a low altitude enroute chart or an approach plate) will specify a different maximum holding airspeed. A C-172 will fly a holding pattern at 90 KIAS, for example. The pilot slows to holding speed approximately 3 miles before crossing the holding fix.The outbound leg, if timed, can vary in duration. The pilot adjusts the duration of the outbound leg, correcting for wind, in such a way that the inbound leg is one minute in duration. Inbound legs are one minute in duration if the altitude is between MEA and 14000 MSL; holding legs are 1.5 minutes in duration at altitudes above 14000 MSL.Holding clearances issued by ATC contain all of the information a pilot needs to know in order to be able to enter and fly the hold as requested. Clearances follow the following pattern: Location | Fix | Holding course -------------------------------------------------------- Leg time/altitude | Turn direction | Expect Frthr ClrncExample: ATC will say this:"...Cessna 1234, hold east of Calverton VOR on the 090 radial, 1 minute leg, left turn, expect further clearance 10 minutes after the hour, time now 5 minutes after the hour"The holding fix is the calverton VOR (CCC). The inbound leg is 090 radial. That means that, on the inbound leg, the airplane would be flying a course of 270 towards CCC tracking the 090 radial. The outbound leg is the reciprocol heading, or 090. The duration of the outbound leg is adjusted so that the inbound leg is one minute in duration. Turns are made to the left in this example - that means the holding side, the area where obstacle clearance is guaranteed, is just off to the left of the aircraft. Finally expect further clearance is a critical component of the holding clearance - this tells the pilot that he/she should expect some additional communication for ATC at that time - if none is received, there may be a loss of communications and the pilot may need to execute procedures for flying IFR without radio communication. Some information in a clearance is omitted - for example, the duration may be omitted from the clearance, and if so that means the pilot flys one minute legs. If the turn direction is omitted from the clearance, then right turns are required. - End of part I

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What a great response- I have printed it out and am waiting patiently for any other parts you may post! Thanks.Andy.

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Hi,Thank you everyone,what can I say? I never expected such a detailed response, once I have digested all the information I should have no qualms about flying a Holding Pattern.Special thanks to Rudi and Don; I'm looking forward to the rest of Rudi's Document. The link from Don to the Tutorial named Hold It! by Hal Stoen is brillient, his style of writing kept my attention so I was sorry to get to the final page. Good reading for anyone, even if you are not interested in Holding Patterns.:)KenSomerset, England

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