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Standardized Traffic Pattern & Stablized Approach

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FAA Regulations, General Aviation, Private Pilot

I'd like to fly a standardized traffic pattern to help enable a stablized approach but here is my question:  If an 800' TPA is published for either a controlled or uncontrolled field, can a 1000' altitude be legally flown?  

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1 Answers



  1. Mark Kolber on Mar 03, 2013

    AFAIK, published TPAs are advisory, not regulatory, although ATC at towered airports have been know to call it out.

    But, cosider:

    1. If you’re thinking that “stabilized approach” means flying the same altitudes and pattern at every single airport everywhere, you’re making a mistake. There are airports wehere terrain required extensive modification of location and altitude. At towered airports, you may be asked to do anything from a long straight in to a base leg entry to “direct to the numbers” from just about anywhere, to circles and S-Turns and short apporaches, and everything in between. Instrument pilots may have to fly a pattern at 600 AGL to keep visual on the intended runway. The ability to fly a stabilized approach in any and all of these cases is still recommended (anf the ability to do so even more important).

    2. If everyone else in or entering or leaving the pattern is expecting to see other aircraft at 800 AGL, where will they be looking for you? Doesn’t it increase the likelihood of a problem? At a non-towered airport I’ve seen two airplanes on final one just above the other.

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