Traffic Patterns ...

Pro Member Trainee
CTBlankenship Trainee

The instructions in the book talk about a left traffic pattern and a right traffic pattern. Left and right in relation to what ... the tower ... the pilot or the active runway. Say there is an airport with numbers (Lake Norman) ... runways 14/32 and the ATC (even though this is an uncontrolled airport) says enter left traffic pattern or enter right traffic pattern ... which is right and which is left? Is it based on the active runway ... left of 32 or right of 32 ... or left of 14 or left of 14 (based on air sock direction anyway). Thank you all very much.

2 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
Tailhook Chief Captain

CTBlankenship wrote:

Left and right in relation to what ...

In relation to the runway. I wouldn't rely on the windsock... especially during a hurricane 😛

Pro Member Trainee
teamo Trainee

Using a standard traffic pattern there are three parts.
1. downwind
2. base leg
3 final approach
A left pattern in the case of rwy 32 is to fly downwind on a heading of 140 degrees. Turn left 90 degrees to base leg and another 90 degree left turn to final approach on a heading of 320 degrees. The left or right pattern refers to whether you are on the right or left side of the runway on the downwind as you face the runway heading. Also the runway heading does not always match exactly so runway 32 could actually be a heading of 321 so you will have to adjust your downwind and base leg headings as appropriate. Runway information is published in great detail on the approach plates for a particular airport.

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