September 2001 Issue

Parallel, Teardrop, Direct, huh?

Holding pattern entries donít need to be rocket science, just get the job done

Just for fun, ask an instrument student to describe the single most confusing part of learning to fly instruments. Then ask a veteran instrument pilot to describe the single most confusing maneuver involved with instrument flight. Odds are youíll get the same answer: holding pattern entries.

Holding patterns just donít get any respect, which isnít surprising considering theyíre a last-ditch effort to salvage a route thatís in jeopardy because of traffic or weather. Controllers donít like stacking up airplanes, and pilots certainly donít like droning around in circles for $100 an hour.

Sometimes holding is a necessary evil, but many instrument pilots secretly quake at the thought of t...

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