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3 Answers

Teardrop? Parallel? Direct? without GPS

Asked by: 6087 views Instrument Rating

Teardrop? Parallel? Direct? without GPS

The book seems to make this overly complicated to me...

Lets say IB radial to airport is 270 and OB is 090..

It seem to me, if your coming from the western half you can can do a teardrop or parallel of your choice. Depending on how is the best way to make wind corrections.

As long as you stay on the protected side and within 10 miles.

If your coming from the eastern half. make a direct entry.

As long as you stay on the protected side and within 10 miles.

Why does the books and instructors do all 20 degrees off set from a 90 degree stuff and even complicate things with parallell or teardrop? Seems like common sense to me... you don't need to make more than a 90 degrees turn to intercept.

What am I missing?

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3 Answers



  1. John D. Collins on Jan 27, 2013

    The standard entries are based on the optimum containment at the highest permitted speed and the worst case winds anticipated by the designers of the hold. There is a discussion paper that is written by the FAA describing how they determined the 70/110/180 degree segments. Flying a slower airplane provides more options. I have never had a problem with using the recommended options. Pilot’s seem to prefer the tear drop over the parallel entry, but my experience is that without good visualization skills or a moving map, the tear drop entry is the most difficult to learn, as it is the only entry where math has to be used to determine the entry heading and direction of turn. For all entry types, once you know the outbound heading of the hold, everything is straight forward, especially for the direct and parallel entries after crossing the hold fix for the first time.

    Direct entry – turn the normal way to the OB heading (right hand pattern – turn right), fly the outbound leg, turn the normal way to intercept the IB heading.

    Parallel entry – turn the opposite way to the OB heading (right hand pattern – turn left), fly the outbound leg (on the non holding side) and make a second turn the opposite direction for 225 degrees to intercept the inbound leg.

    In other words, for a right hand pattern, direct entry – fly two right hand turns and for a parallel entry – fly two left hand turns. First turn is always to the outbound heading, second turn is always to intercept the inbound course.

    A teardrop requires, you subtract 30 degrees from the OB heading for a right hand pattern and add 30 degrees for a left hand pattern. The initial turn can be to the left or right or straight ahead. The second turn is 210 degrees to the right for a standard pattern to intercept the inbound course.

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  2. Bill Trussell on Jan 27, 2013

    I have boiled it down even further than John has done. When visualizing the pattern to be flown either on the chart or by making your own diagram ask yourself “what entry would I fly to make the least amount of turn in the outbound direction?” Say your visualization says ” well to make a teardrop entry would involve a turn of 20 degrees” then that is your answer, the first turn on the entry is 20 degrees. Same for “well I can cross the fix and turn right into the holding pattern outbound” then the answer is direct. If ” a left turn of 30 degrees puts me on the outbound heading for the hold but I need to turn around inside the hold to get on course” then a parallel entry is the one for you in that situation.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Jan 28, 2013

    I like Bill’s answer. The methods commonly used for training holds makes it far more complicated than it is. I could even make it one step simpler than Bill did – if you can effectively visualize the holding pattern and your relation to it, the “correct” entry becomes obvious.

    The key is to be able to “effectively” visualize. That’s where I think training sometimes fails. There are all sorts of tricks and tips out there (from drawing the hold to placing fingers, pencils and other things on the DG) but not all of them will work for everyone. This is one of those areas where a one-on-one ground lesson can be very effective – to simply the understanding of holds and to find the visualization technique that works for the specific student.

    Jim, if you’ve found the technique that works for you, great. I had a student who could do the visualization completely mentally, no matter what holding instructions I threw at him (I hate people like that!!!). My favorite was a hold at a DME distance to which he responded within a few seconds, “That doesn’t work.” He was right; I screwed up the instruction and he saw it immediately!

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