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Pre-Solo Training Program

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1 Pre-Solo Training Program
Flight Briefing: Lesson 3 The Traffic Pattern In cooperation with Mid Island Air Service, Inc. Brookhaven, NY (Michael Bellenir, CFI)

2 Lesson 3 Objectives During this briefing, you will learn more about runway numbers and markings, the traffic pattern, and explore takeoffs and landings. Upon completion of this briefing, you will practice flying in the traffic pattern. You will apply the basic flight maneuvers you have learned in your previous lessons, and fly a precise traffic pattern. Your instructor will assist with takeoffs and landings.

3 Runway Notation Runways are numbered according to their magnetic direction, with the last digit eliminated. The aircraft’s magnetic compass should thus agree with the runway number when taking off or landing. Lock Haven’s runways run east and west. Thus, our main runway is Runway 27 when approaching it from the east, or Runway 09 when approaching it from the west. Parallel runways are designated as Left, Right, or Center. Because our grass runway runs parallel to, and to the south of, our paved runway, Lock Haven’s paved runways are numbered 27R and 09L. The grass runways are designated 27L and 09R.

4 Lock Haven Runway Diagram

5 Traffic Pattern The traffic pattern is an organized flow of aircraft around an airport. It is designed to maximize the pilot’s visibility of the airport/runway environment and other aircraft around the airport. The traffic pattern enhances safety by keeping aircraft in close proximity to the airport as they prepare for landing and by increasing the predictability of the locations of other aircraft. The traffic pattern also provides a means for aircraft to depart the airport area, operate at the airport, and enter the airport area with minimal interference with each other. If pattern procedures are followed correctly, conflicts and collision hazards are reduced.

6 Traffic Pattern The traffic pattern is shaped like a rectangle, with one of the long edges of the rectangle being the runway. In a standard traffic pattern, all turns are made to the left, and the pattern is flown so that the pilot sees the airport on the left side of the aircraft. This maximizes the pilot’s visibility of the airport. At some airports, local terrain requires making all traffic pattern turns to the right. This is called flying “right traffic,” and is not standard (but will be documented for the airport). Lock Haven uses right traffic for Runways 27R and 27L, and standard (left) traffic for Runways 9L and 9R.

7 Traffic Pattern Traffic patterns are to be flown at a specific altitude, typically 1,000 AGL for small aircraft. Flying at pattern altitude is important to maximize your visibility of other aircraft as well as to make yourself most visible to other pilots. The traffic pattern consists of several different parts or legs: upwind, crosswind, downwind, base, and final. There are also corridors for entering and departing the pattern.

8 The Traffic Pattern Pattern Entry Downwind Base Crosswind
Left traffic for Runway 9 Final Upwind Pattern Departure

9 The Traffic Pattern Pattern Entry Downwind Crosswind Base
Right traffic for Runway 27 Upwind Final Pattern Departure

10 Upwind The upwind leg is the leg of the traffic pattern flown typically after a takeoff. It is flown in line with the runway on the upwind side of the runway (takeoff performed into the wind). The upwind is used to climb to a safe altitude before making any turns. If staying in the pattern, it is recommended to climb to at least 500 feet AGL before turning crosswind. If you are departing the traffic pattern, it is recommended you fly the upwind to at least 1,000 feet AGL.

11 Crosswind The crosswind leg lets the pilot set the desired distance between the downwind leg and the runway. It also typically provides enough time to complete a climb to traffic pattern altitude. On the crosswind, be sure to look for other aircraft that may be entering the pattern. If necessary adjust your speed or pattern to accommodate other traffic.

12 Downwind The downwind should be flown parallel to the runway opposite the direction of takeoff and landing. The pattern should be flown at a constant speed, which is established on downwind. (We will use 60 knots.) Pre-landing checks should also be completed while on the downwind leg. It may be necessary to turn slightly into the wind to maintain a parallel track with the runway if there is a crosswind. Pay attention to the distance between you and the runway and turn slightly if required to maintain a parallel ground track with the runway. The downwind should be flown at a distance of 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile away from the runway. The runway at Lock Haven is about ¾ of a mile long. Imagine flying parallel to the runway, displaced from the runway by about half the runway’s length.

13 Downwind On downwind, maintain traffic pattern altitude and stay alert for other aircraft in the area. If you are following traffic, it may be necessary to slow down slightly so you don’t get too far away from the airport. It may also be necessary to adjust your speed to accommodate other aircraft entering the pattern.

14 Downwind Toward the end of the downwind leg it will be necessary to start reducing power, continue looking around, and establishing a descending glide to prepare the aircraft for landing. You may also decide to partially extend the wing flaps at the end of the downwind leg. Exactly when to start reducing power is a judgment determination that depends on several factors. As you gain experience with the aircraft, you will become better able to determine when to reduce power and how much power to reduce. You will also learn when it is appropriate to use flaps, and how much.

15 Base Turn base when the runway is approximately 45° behind the aircraft. The base leg is flown on a ground track perpendicular to the runway, and allows the pilot time to slow down, descend, and configure the aircraft for landing. Usually, it is required to turn the aircraft toward the airport slightly to compensate for wind drift. With experience, you will learn to determine if the aircraft will be high/low or fast/slow on the approach. When you learn how to determine this, you will be able to start making corrections on the base leg.

16 Base It is sometimes necessary to delay turning base at the desired time because of other traffic in the pattern. If it is necessary to delay turning base to follow another aircraft, be sure to maintain safe altitude and airspeed until a normal landing is assured. When following another aircraft, waiting until that aircraft passes behind your wingtip will typically provide adequate spacing. While on base, make sure the final approach is clear of other traffic. Look both ways! If you accidentally turn inside another aircraft or cut someone off, it may be necessary for you to go around.

17 Final Final approach to the airport is where the pilot makes the final adjustments to prepare the aircraft for landing. The final approach should be stabilized, meaning the aircraft is at the proper approach airspeed, the glide-path is set for a touchdown within the first third of the runway, and the aircraft is lined up with the centerline. If the approach is not properly stabilized on final approach, it will be difficult for the pilot to make a successful landing, and a go-around should be considered. We don’t charge extra for go-arounds!

18 Pattern Entry You are expected to enter the traffic pattern at a 45 degree angle to the downwind, and at pattern altitude. Entering the pattern from “the 45” gives you the maximum visibility of other aircraft in the pattern. It also places you in a predictable location so that other pilots can best see you. Pattern Entry is similar to merging onto a highway. As you get closer to the downwind leg, try to observe the positions of other aircraft in the pattern and adjust your speed as necessary to merge into the flow of traffic without disrupting the flight paths of other aircraft.

19 Pattern Departure When departing the traffic pattern, fly the upwind straight ahead to 1,000 feet AGL before making any turns. At 1,000 feet AGL either continue straight out, or start a turn up to 45 degrees to runway heading, in the direction toward the downwind leg. Continue climbing to at least 500 feet above the traffic pattern. Once you are more than 500 feet above the traffic pattern, you may proceed on course. But, be very careful to look out for other traffic, and try to avoid flying through the flight paths of other aircraft that might be entering the pattern. This procedure will keep you clear of other aircraft both entering and already in the pattern. Avoid turning out of the traffic pattern in the direction opposite the downwind leg. Faster aircraft may be passing you on that side.

20 The Traffic Pattern Pattern Entry Downwind Crosswind Base
Runway in use Upwind Final Pattern Departure

21 Traffic Pattern Traffic patterns may be modified to suit the needs of a specific location. As already mentioned, in some places (such as Lock Haven), the pattern might be flown with right turns instead of left turns (“right traffic”). In others, a non-standard traffic pattern altitude might be in use. In some areas, such as mountainous terrain, it might not be possible to fly a normal rectangular course for the pattern. Check the traffic pattern procedures for any airports you are planning to visit before you take off. If non-standard airport arrival and departure procedures are used, they will be described in the Airport/Facilities Directory (A/FD).

22 Traffic Pattern These procedures we are teaching you are the ones recommended by the FAA for use at non-towered airports. Following these procedures is recommended by the FAA for safe and efficient operations. However it is not considered regulatory for aircraft to follow these procedures. Most pilots will follow these procedures or at least most of them. Always be alert for pilots inventing their own methods for flying a pattern. Approaching the runway straight-in is a common (though dangerous!) practice at non-towered airports.

23 Common Pattern Modifications
Among the common ways some pilots (but not you!) modify the FAA recommended procedures are: Entering pattern on the crosswind rather than a 45 degree angle. Exiting the pattern from the downwind leg. Flying a straight-in approach Making right turn outs or right hand traffic, at airports where left traffic is expected. (While other pattern modifications are legally OK, right turns in a traffic pattern might actually be illegal depending on where you are. Check the A/FD!)

24 Common Pattern Modifications
Some airplanes have to modify the normal pattern because of specific operational limitations or concerns. For example: Large or turbine powered aircraft often fly their patterns at 1,500 feet AGL. Faster aircraft may need to fly wider than normal patterns. High performance aircraft may enter the pattern on the upwind instead of the downwind. (overhead approach) Aircraft practicing engine-failure procedures may abbreviate the last part of the pattern to simulate landing with an engine failure.

25 Rectangular Course Fly the traffic pattern so that the ground track of the airplane is a rectangular course over the ground. You may need to point the airplane into the wind to make the ground track correct. The amount of correction angle required depends on the wind. You will learn how to determine the required angle as you are flying.

26 Rectangular Course

27 Rectangular Course

28 Takeoff Basics Use firm but gentle rudder pressure to stay on centerline (right rudder will be required) If not airborne by halfway down the runway, abort the takeoff and try again. (And again. And again…) Use a constant airspeed climb (with zero flaps, best climb airspeed in the SportStar is near 60 knots indicated)

29 Landing Basics Fly a stabilized approach Track down the centerline
Maintain a constant airspeed descent (60 knots) Always land in the first 1/3 of the runway If it’s not working out, don’t worry. Go around and try again. (And again. And again. Every approach should be considered an opportunity to do a go-around. They’re fun!)

30 Calculating Takeoff / Landing Distance
It is important to know how much runway you will need for both takeoffs and landings! Calculate the takeoff and landing distances from graphs and tables in the SportStar AOI (shown on next slides). Taking off from grass will require more runway than you would need on a paved surface. Remember that weight and weather affect takeoff and landing performance.

31 Calculating Takeoff Distance

32 Calculating Takeoff Distance

33 Calculating Takeoff Distance

34 Calculating Landing Distance

35 Calculating Landing Distance

36 Calculating Landing Distance

37 Review Questions Name the legs of the traffic pattern, in order from takeoff to landing. What is the direction of turns in a standard traffic pattern? What is the direction of turns taking off from Lock Haven Runway 27? Why? What is the compass heading for landing on Runway 18? At what speed should you fly a stabilized approach in the SportStar? Write down your answers before continuing to next slide

38 Review Answers Name the legs of the traffic pattern, in order from takeoff to landing. Upwind, crosswind, downwind, base, final What is the direction of turns in a standard traffic pattern? Left What is the direction of turns taking off from Lock Haven Runway 27? Why? Right turns, because of higher terrain to the South What is the compass heading for landing on Runway 18? South (180 degrees) At what speed should you fly a stabilized approach in the SportStar? 60 knots Review any missed questions before continuing to today’s flight.

39 On Today’s Flight Try to fly the traffic pattern correctly.
Say the name of each leg out loud as you fly it. Practice good control on the upwind leg. Practice setting up a stabilized approach. Practice a go around. Don’t worry about actual takeoffs and landings just yet! Your instructor will help you, and they will improve with time. Thanks to Mid Island Air Service, Inc. Brookhaven, NY (Michael Bellenir, CFI)

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