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3 Answers

What does a _____ mile base mean?

Asked by: 560 views Airspace

Sounds like a stupid question. Let's say tower says to make a 3 mile base. Not that it makes a huge difference, but does that mean to make a base leg that is 3 miles long or 3 miles away from the runway? If it's to make a 3 mile long base leg, I would have to join the base leg early on, but if it means the latter, I could just make a short, square base leg that is just 3 miles away from the runway.

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3 Answers



  1. John D Collins on Apr 03, 2017

    I would take it to mean to turn from downwind to base after 3 miles past the point you were abeam the numbers.

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  2. Dave M on Apr 03, 2017

    If unsure, you may want to ask them to clarify:
    “Did you mean I should extend downwind by 3 miles?”

    It never hurts to be sure.

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  3. QOL on Apr 03, 2017

    I should have added that this is in the context of flying inbound to the airport for the first time, not while established in the pattern. I doubt it would make a huge difference either way.

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