Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

5 Answers

Holding Entries

Asked by: 16093 views Instrument Rating

My first CFI for my IFR training had a very practical approach to teaching holding entries.  Unfortuneatly he went away to fly big buses and my current one is not nearly as easy to follow.  He's teaching this NDBTOP thing for both the written exam and for flying and it just doesn't make any sense.  Can anyone provide any guidance, specifically for the knowledge test?

Ace Any FAA Written Test!
Dauntless Aviation's GroundSchool series of apps are the smart pilot's choice for fast and effective FAA knowledge test prep.
Actual, up-to-date FAA questions Polished user experience
Best explanations in the business Free lifetime updates!
Private Pilot IFR Commercial Pilot CFI ATP Sport Pilot Sport Pilot Instructor Parachute Rigger Aviation Mechanic (A&P)
You can get the app now and be studying right away. Available for PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android.

5 Answers

  1. Jakob Darczyca on Jun 28, 2012

    Thanks for the explanation and video Lucas … now that makes sense.  I appreciate your answer and took a look at your view demo for your program – looks easy and informative.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  2. John D. Collins on Jun 28, 2012

    I haven’t heard of the acronym your instructor is using, but the FAA guidance on entering a hold is covered in section 5-3-8 j.3. in the AIM and uses figure 5-3-4.  Three entry procedures are recommended depending on which sector you arrive at the holding fix.  A direct entry consists of turning directly to the outbound heading in the same direction as the hold, flying the outbound heading for one minute for a timed hold or to the specified DME/GPS distance and then continuing with a turn back to intercept the inbound course to the holding fix, again in the direction of the hold (IOW for a standard right hand hold, all turns are to the right).  A parallel entry consists of two turns in the opposite direction of the hold, the first turn is to the outbound heading and the second turn is more than 180 degrees (I teach 225 degrees) back to intercept the inbound course to the holding fix and track it to the fix. IOW for a standard RH hold, both turns are to the left.  If the hold requires a teardrop entry, once you arrive at the holding fix for the first time, you turn if needed to the outbound heading – 30 degrees for a RH holding pattern or + 30 degrees for a LH holding pattern. This heading is flown for one minute and then a 210 degree turn is made in the same direction as the hold to intercept the inbound course and track it into the holding fix.


    The teardrop is a sector that is 70 degrees wide for arriving at the holding fix from the non holding side of the pattern and generally in the opposite direction on  a course from +70 to +180 degrees of the pattern inbound course , the parallel is a sector that is 110 degrees wide and is mostly on an opposite direction from +180 degrees to -110 degrees of the inbound course, but on the holding side of the pattern, and the direct entry sector is 180 degrees wide, and mostly in the same direction within +70 to -110 degrees of the inbound course for a standard RH pattern.


    To determine what sector you are in, either draw it on a chart, or visualize the hold on a moving map, or use your DG/HSI to visualize the sector.  If I can’t draw the hold or see it on a moving map, I visualize it by first determining the outbound heading for the holding pattern.  I use a technique with a DH/HSI called the right thumb right pattern method (or for a left hand pattern it is left thumb, left pattern).  I place my thumb on the DG at approximately the ninety degree point where my thumb nail covers up about 20 degrees above this point (this leaves about 70 degrees uncovered to the top of the DG.  I mentally draw a line from the top of my thumb through the center of the DG to the other side of the DG.  This is approximately 110 degrees below the top heading on the DG. Now I find the outbound heading on my DG. If the outbound heading is between the top of my thumb and my current heading at the top of the DG, I know this requires a teardrop entry.  If it falls on the opposite side of the DG, but above the 110 degree point of the mental line I constructed, then the entry will be a parallel entry.  Otherwise, it is a direct entry.  If the pattern is a left hand pattern, then I place my left thumb on the left side of the DG and everything is reversed. This is easier to show than explain in words.


    If you end up being totally confused, then locate the outbound heading on your DG, turn the shortest way to the outbound heading, go for one minute, turn back to the holding fix the shortest way on the holding side.  

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  3. Christos E. Flagkakis on Nov 03, 2012

    Which way would you turn if you are over the fix and no clearance limit for the hold has been received yet? In less words you don’t know which radial to hold on. What do you do in that situation? It happened to me couple of days ago.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  4. Christos E. Flagkakis on Nov 04, 2012

    Well basic you hold as published if there is a published holding at that fix or if there isn’t any then you hold on your inbound course. Meaning, if your inbound course to the station before you receive any holding instructions is 270 degrees, then you will need to make a direct entry and hold on 090 radial from that fix or station using right turns. Also there are three things you will need to report entering a holding that are, Altitude, Time and Entering. If anyone has any more questions on holdings, please do not hesitate to message me at any time.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  5. Jake on Nov 21, 2017


    Tbis is referencing what kind of entry to use depending on where your plane ends up after crossing the fix.

    NOSE= Direct
    BODY= Teardrop

    I.e. if you’re inside the body of the hold after crossing the fix, you do a teardrop entry.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

The following terms have been auto-detected the question above and any answers or discussion provided. Click on a term to see its definition from the Dauntless Aviation JargonBuster Glossary.

Answer Question

Our sincere thanks to all who contribute constructively to this forum in answering flight training questions. If you are a flight instructor or represent a flight school / FBO offering flight instruction, you are welcome to include links to your site and related contact information as it pertains to offering local flight instruction in a specific geographic area. Additionally, direct links to FAA and related official government sources of information are welcome. However we thank you for your understanding that links to other sites or text that may be construed as explicit or implicit advertising of other business, sites, or goods/services are not permitted even if such links nominally are relevant to the question asked.