We’ll begin a flight of takeoff and landing practice (closed traffic) in the runup area at the end of … (2) Airplane, powered parachute, or weight-shift-control aircraft. Standard pattern altitude is 1,000 feet agl. The option on the left shows how you would fly at an altitude 500′ above the posted pattern altitude (pattern altitudes are typically posted between 600′-1000′ above field elevation) to cross over “midfield” giving you the opportunity to both look down at the windsock and see what is going on down there on the ground in terms of wind and traffic, and also it should keep you 500′ above all other traffic in the pattern in case someone isn’t talking on the radio (remember: radios are not required to be installed in airplanes when flying in Class G or E airspace (non-towered airports)). While this may seem easier, what I don’t like about it is that now you are searching for traffic that would be approaching from your right when you are joining the downwind instead of off your left, and in many airplanes there can be a blind spot for the pilot off of your right shoulder. Traffic patterns are left turns by standard, unless ATC or the Chart Supplement U.S. states otherwise, as shown in Meadows Field below, under RWY 30R and 12R with the text "Rgt tfc" Wind conditions affect all airplanes in varying degrees. Airport Traffic Patterns. Turns are normally made to the left. Instead, when a downwind leg entry is not logical, consider entering on a 45-degree angle to the upwind, crosswind, or even the base leg as a better, safer solution, all while announcing your position and intentions to other traffic. He has been an active Gold Seal flight instructor since 1972. quick dive to the ground to be like “Haha, now I’m lower, move out of my way”, we frown upon this in aviation). In this topic, we’ll cover the standard airport traffic pattern, how to stay in the airport traffic pattern without going out to the practice area, as well as how to re-enter the traffic pattern when returning from the practice area or coming back from another airport. Another serious faux pas to avoid is nonstandard maneuvering—such as an unexpected 360-degree turn or S-turning in the pattern—unless specifically directed or authorized by a tower controller. 3/13/2018. For towered airports, the tower controller will specify how you will enter the traffic pattern. FAA Advisory Circular 90-66b. First watch the video above, and check out the diagrams below to get a good basic understanding of how you would approach the airport. Please login below for an enhanced experience. AIM paragraph 4-3-3, Traffic Patterns, was updated March 29, 2018, to expand on pattern operations. However, do not assume that just because you don’t hear other traffic that you are truly alone. The first thing to consider is whether your destination airport is towered or nontowered. REMEMBER, the aircraft that is established on final and is lower has the right of way (since they are somewhat more “committed” to landing than an airplane that is higher), but this is not to be taken advantage of to gain right of way (i.e. Remember that you are entering an active traffic pattern, so preference should be given to existing traffic while you merge into their traffic pattern. Traffic pattern entry information is advisory, provided by using this AC or by referring to the AIM and the PHAK. Flying the Traffic Pattern: In this topic, we’ll cover the standard airport traffic pattern, how to stay in the airport traffic pattern without going out to the practice area, as well as how to re-enter the traffic pattern when returning from the practice area or coming back from another airport. 9.1 Left Traffic.Use of standard traffic patterns (left turns) for all aircraft and CTAF procedures by radio-equipped aircraft are required at all airports without operating control towers unless indicated otherwise by visual markings, light gun signals, airport publications, or published approach procedure.