July 1999 Issue

Making An Entrance

Joining the traffic pattern isnít the hardest task a pilot has, but itís the one most often done poorly

Success at a social function is judged by your entrance. If you stumble over the doorstep and land face first in the guacamole, youíll definitely get noticed but probably not invited back.

Entering a traffic pattern requires the same donít-trip-over-your-joystick finesse. Unfortunately, there is no Emily Post guide for pattern etiquette, and it shows. Monitor the Unicom at any busy uncontrolled airport and youíll hear pilots announcing ďmodifiedĒ downwinds (with no hint of what that modification is), the cursing that results from one pilot cutting another one off and multiple runways in use, even if thereís only one strip of pavement.

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