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Holding Pattern Distances

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I'm looking at a departure plan that has the following step:-----------------All aircraft climb direct SEA VORTAC, then climb in SEA holding pattern (E, left turns, 290

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Excellent quesions.As I understand the departure procedure you've described, you proceed direct to the SEA VORTAC. A VORTAC or other holding fix is a point, not a line, so you can't fly perpendicular to the fix.At station passage, turn EAST to a heading of 110 degrees for one minute (90 seconds above 14,000'), then turn inbound and intercept the 110 degrees radial and track it inbount (this would be a 290 degree bearing to the VORTAC). You adjust the time spent flying outbound (depending on the wind) that will result in a 1 minute inbound leg.Sometimes a hold will specifiy DME leg lengths, BTW.Holding instructions always provide a cardinal direction from a fix. The E means EAST, the general direction of your outbound turn. You can enter a hold from any direction, but the direction from which to hold from the fix is constant.Here's a good reference on holding patterns: that helps,John

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