Standard Crosswind Pattern Entry

Video Tip: How to enter the traffic pattern at a nontowered airport

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The FAA recommends standard traffic pattern flows at nontowered airports in an effort to maintain order and a safe environment for aircraft arrivals and departures. You’ll start by learning the basics of the crosswind, downwind, base and final legs, for the times you plan to stay “in the traffic pattern” when practicing multiple takeoffs and landings. You’ll also learn early on how to enter back into the pattern after spending some time practicing maneuvers at a higher altitude away from the airport.

This week’s video tip illustrates several methods to do this, depending on the direction from which you’re approaching the airport, in an effort to get established on the downwind leg at the published traffic pattern altitude.

The video clip is from Sporty’s 2024 Learn to Fly Course

Bret Koebbe
2 replies
  1. John says:

    Nothing said about the distance of the downwind leg from the runway. The Airplane Flying Handbook says 0.5 – 1.0 miles but I routinely see aircraft flying the downwind 2-4 miles from the runway.

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