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Airplane Flying Handbook
Airport Traffic Patterns
Standard Airport Traffic Patterns

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures



The upwind leg is also the transitional part of the traffic
pattern when on the final approach and a go-around
is initiated and climb attitude is established. When a
safe altitude is attained, the pilot should commence a
shallow bank turn to the upwind side of the airport.
This will allow better visibility of the runway for
departing aircraft.

The departure leg of the rectangular pattern is a
straight course aligned with, and leading from, the
takeoff runway. This leg begins at the point the airplane
leaves the ground and continues until the 90°
turn onto the crosswind leg is started.

On the departure leg after takeoff, the pilot should continue
climbing straight ahead, and, if remaining in the
traffic pattern, commence a turn to the crosswind leg
beyond the departure end of the runway within 300 feet
of pattern altitude. If departing the traffic pattern, continue
straight out or exit with a 45° turn (to the left
when in a left-hand traffic pattern; to the right when in
a right-hand traffic pattern) beyond the departure end
of the runway after reaching pattern altitude.

The crosswind leg is the part of the rectangular pattern
that is horizontally perpendicular to the extended centerline
of the takeoff runway and is entered by making
approximately a 90° turn from the upwind leg. On the
crosswind leg, the airplane proceeds to the downwind
leg position.

Since in most cases the takeoff is made into the wind,
the wind will now be approximately perpendicular to
the airplane's flightpath. As a result, the airplane will
have to be turned or headed slightly into the wind
while on the crosswind leg to maintain a ground track
that is perpendicular to the runway centerline extension.
Additional information on airport operations can be
found in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).