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Timing on a holding course

Asked by: 3284 views Instrument Rating

Question on timing the inbound leg of a holding course. Let's suppose we're holding north of the XYZ VOR, such that the inbound course is the 360 radial of the VOR (with us flying heading 180 to the station) and the outbound course is heading 360.

In a perfect world, after we've flown outbound for a minute, we'd begin our standard rate turn, and as we roll out on our inbound heading the CDI would center perfectly on the 360 radial with a from indication. In the real world, with wind and imperfect turning technique, we may roll out early, with the CDI deflected a couple degrees away from center. Or we may roll out after flying through the inbound course. In this situation, we may be established inbound much sooner than we center the CDI.

Early in my IFR training, I'd hold and not start timing until the needle centered. By this point I had already flown inbound (+/- 10 degrees or so) for a while to get established, so I'd pass the fix very shortly after starting the timer. Didn't seem to make sense.

As a general rule of thumb, would you start your timing inbound once you're on your inbound heading? Or if you're dealing with a stiff cross wind, would you start once you establish some kind of intercept to get the inbound course (say 20 degrees). This would seem like a good rule of thumb (especailly since holding is as much an art as a science it seems to me) but I want to ask what others think. Thanks!


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2 Answers

  1. John D. Collins on Feb 03, 2013

    I wouldn’t wait until the CDI centered, you are considered established inbound anytime the CDI is at half full scale or lower. An important purpose for the inbound timing is to be able to correct for a headwind or tailwind and crosswind on the outbound leg. A heading of +/- 10 degrees isn’t going to effect the timing for the purposes of establishing a one minute inbound leg. The first time or so around the pattern, you are adjusting to compensate for the wind so that you end up on subsequent circuits of the pattern completing the turn on heading and course with the objective of achieving the one minute leg inbound while holding the CDI centered.

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  2. Chris on Feb 09, 2013

    What I’ll recommend you is to intercept the hold and star timing, remember inbound you time when you intercept the hold or wings levels, whichever comes FIRST, and now keep watching the needle because during the inbound leg is the only time that you have to figure out where does the wind is coming from. Then when you pass the station, or fix, start turning and when wings levels o or abeam the point whichever comes LAST, star time outbound.

    Most of the CFI, multiplies by 3 the correction inbound for the outbound, let say 5*inbound so you move 15* outbound I’m direction to the wind.

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