Holding Checklist


Some of us find it helpful to write down this stuff, and not depend on the magic in our hand or on the panel to figure it out, even if its published. We use to be able to write it on the chart, but nothing beats a pen/pencil and a paper pad.

-Slow Down: First, you need to slow down; dont forget to tell ATC. You may not want to slow to your holding speed, but otherwise youre going nowhere at cruise power.

-Holding Fix: This is pretty obvious, but it can be an airway intersection, a navaid, a GPS fix or distance/direction from a known fix.

-Direction To Hold: You need to know which side of the holding fix to use. This could be east, northwest, or some variation.

-Direction To Turn: We turn right in a standard hold. If youre cleared for left turns, then turn left. Otherwise, itll be to the right.

-Leg Length: You need to know how to plan your inbound leg, in miles or minutes. Unless otherwise specified, youre expected to roll out onto the inbound leg a minute (90 seconds when above 14,000 feet) before crossing the holding fix. Longer legs mean fewer turns in the hold. Request them.

-Whats Next? You need to know when you should expect to leave the hold, in case of communications failure, then expect further clearance time. But you also need to know or decide where youre going next, and how.


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