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6 Answers

Holding Pattern Speed

Asked by: 5141 views Airspace, FAA Regulations

Scenario: An airplane is holding at 5000 feet MSL  with IAS 200. However, due to strong tailwinds ground speed is 230 knots.   Question: I know the max airspeed for holding is 200 IAS below 6000 feet MSL but what do you do if you are maintaining 200 IAS but ground speed is say 230 knots? At 230 knots I am guessing this speed (230) would put you outside the TERPS protected area?   Thank you for the feedback.    

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6 Answers



  1. John D Collins on Sep 29, 2013

    No, winds are accounted for in the TERPS.

    2-4. EFFECT OF WIND. Analysis of winds recorded at various levels over a five-year period led to the adoption of a scale of velocities beginning with 50 knots at 4,000′ MSL and increasing at a rate of 3 knots for each additional 2,000′ of altitude to a maximum of 120 knots.

    Speed of aircraft are also based on TAS which changes with altitude. If the rule is to maintain a given speed in IAS,. you can bet your life that the TERPS are written to take everything into account and then some as a safety factor. They are pretty smart people.

    You need to download the TERPS and study them. Your assignment is to get back with a book report detailing everything in the following documents.

    http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/7130.3A.pdf

    http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/orders_notices/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentid/11698

    http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/8260.19E.pdf

    http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/8260.58.pdf

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  2. Dan Chitty on Sep 29, 2013

    Thank you John for the feedback. Much appreciated.

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  3. Bob Watson on Oct 07, 2013

    I haven’t done a hold for quite a while, but I remember in my training that you need to take the effect of wind into account when flying the hold. The goal begin to adjust the time on the non-holding side of the loop so that it’s about the same length as the holding side so the resulting track is somewhat symmetrical. For example, if your holding course is into the wind, you would shorten the time on the non-holding side. Likewise, if your holding course is with the wind, you’d spend more time on the non-holding side.

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  4. Mark Kolber on Oct 07, 2013

    Bob,

    You are correct that you need to take the wind into consideration. But the goals are 2-fold: First, to time the outbound leg so that you get the target 1-minute inbound leg (or whatever the other applicable inbound timing or distance is). Second, to be able to get onto the inbound course to begin with.

    Your example covers the first goal.

    An example of the second goal is the need to crab sufficiently into a crosswind blowing you toward the holding course that you don’t overshoot the inbound course or require an unusually steep turn to get onto it. The general recommendation is to take the inbound wind correction angle and triple it for the outbound (perhaps obviously, estimated for the first outbound unless your course to the holding fix also happens to be the inbound course) .

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  5. Bob Watson on Oct 07, 2013

    Thanks for rounding out my answer.

    Basically, the way I imagine the goal is to adjust your heading and timing to try to get your actual track as close to a no-wind pattern as you can under the conditions. If you can do that, (e.g. by using the techniques in the preceding posts), you won’t have to worry about going outside of the holding area, which was what I read as the original poster’s concern.

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  6. Bob Watson on Oct 07, 2013

    The other thing that I recall from holding-pattern training that touches on the original poster’s concern was to fly the holding pattern at max-endurance power/speed. The logic being, if you’re going nowhere, what’s the rush?

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