HOLDING PROCEDURES

Holding Procedures Lesson by wifiCFI


What is a Hold?

A hold is a way for ATC to “park” airplanes in the sky if needed.

Holds can be issued by ATC for a number of reasons.

It is important for pilots to know how to properly enter/exit/and perform holding procedures.

There are different types of holds and hold entries.

Before discussing these types, we need to understand the terminology and anatomy behind a hold.

The Anatomy of a Hold

The Holding Fix

Every hold will have a “Fix.”

This is the point around which the hold is established.

A fix can be a VOR, Waypoint, Distance on a Radial, or Crossing Radials from different VOR’s.

The Inbound Leg

Every hold will have an “Inbound Leg.”

The Inbound Leg takes the pilot TO the Fix.

The Inbound Leg will be established on a radial or course.

The Outbound Leg

Every hold will have an “Outbound Leg.”

The Outbound Leg is the reciprocal of the Inbound Leg and takes the pilot AWAY from the fix.

The Outbound Leg will be established by a heading.

The Protected Side

Every hold will have a “Protected Side.”

The Protected Side of the hold is protected from terrain and obstacles.

It is important to remain on the protected side as much as possible.

Because of this, particular Hold Entries are established.

Hold Standards

Unless otherwise depicted or directed by ATC, the following Hold Standards are to be adhered to:

Standard Direction of Turns: Right Turns

Standard Leg Lengths: 1 Minute

A non-standard left turning hold would look like so…

Non-standard leg lengths can be given in min (ex. 2 min legs) or distances (ex. 5 nm legs).

Holds are also accompanied by regulatory maximum holding speeds.

These holding speeds help to ensure the pilot will not extend beyond the protected area of the hold.

Maximum Holding Speeds vary with Altitude: (AIM 5-3-7)

Surface to 6,000’ MSL: 200 KIAS

6,001’ MSL to 14,000’ MSL: 230 KIAS

14,001’ MSL and Above: 265 KIAS

Hold Instructions

Holding Instructions issued by ATC will always be given to the pilot in a standard format.

That format is as follows:

Cardinal Direction from Fix

Radial or Course for the Inbound Leg

Direction of Turns (if omitted, Right Turns are Standard)

Leg Lengths (if omitted, 1 Minute Legs are Standard)

Expect Further Clearance Time (EFC)

Example

“N736TB. Hold South of the Ogden VOR on the 180 Radial. Right Hand Turns. 1 Minute Legs. Expect Further Clearance at 1800Z.”

Hold Entries

Let’s now examine the different hold entry types.

Entry types will be determined by the direction the pilot is approaching the hold.

There are three:

Direct Entry

Parallel Entry

Teardrop

Note

Understanding hold entries will be very difficult at first.

However, if a student follows the steps provided in the next slide (without trying to envision the hold in their heads) they will perform the hold entry and procedure perfectly even if they don’t fully understand it yet.

The “Magic Number”

Before we jump into the steps associated with each hold entry type, we will discuss the “Magic Number.”

This cannot be stressed enough! If a pilot understands how to use the “Magic Number,” he/she will always perform perfect hold entries and will begin to understand holds much faster!

Here’s how it works:

The “Magic Number” will always tell the pilot which type of hold entry is appropriate for the situation.

The “Magic Number” is always the Outbound Heading when performing the hold procedure.

Figuring the “Magic Number” is simple!

You simply must ask yourself…

Does the Cardinal Direction (given in the hold clearance) match the Radial/Course (given in the hold clearance)?

If the answer to that question is YES, then the Magic Number is the Radial/Course stated in the Clearance!

If the answer is NO, then the Magic Number is the Reciprocal of the Radial/Course stated in the Clearance.

Let’s examine some examples on the next slide!

Hold Clearance Example 1

“N736TB. Hold South of the Ogden VOR on the 180 Radial. Right Hand Turns. 1 Minute Legs.”

After receiving this clearance, we will ask ourselves, does the Cardinal Direction (South) equal the Radial (180) given in the clearance?

In this example, the answer is YES! (180 is a Southerly Heading)

This means our “Magic Number” is 180!

Hold Clearance Example 2

“N736TB. Hold South of the 8 DME Fix from the Ogden VOR on the 360 Radial. Right Hand Turns. 1 Minute Legs.”

After receiving this clearance, we will ask ourselves, does the Cardinal Direction (South) equal the Radial (360) given in the clearance?

In this example, the answer is NO! (360 is a not Southerly Heading)

This means our “Magic Number” is 180! (the reciprocal of 360)

The “Magic Number”

Now that we know how to figure the “Magic Number,” what do we do with it?

Remember, the magic number will tell us which hold entry we need to perform.

Let’s examine how to do this from the instruments in the cockpit

We need to understand how to break up the HSI or Heading Indicator based on the Direction of Turns in the Hold.

Before breaking the HSI into sections, we need to make sure we are on a Direct Course to the Holding Fix.

After Establishing the Direct Course to the Holding Fix, we will break the HSI into Entry Sections as shown on the following slide.

Direct Entry Hold - Steps

Memorize these steps and follow them exactly!

Even if you don’t understand the hold, you will fly it perfectly with the steps below!

A: Proceed Direct to the Holding Fix

B: Figure the “Magic Number”

C: Use “Magic Number” to Determine Entry Type

D: Cross the Fix

The 7 “T’s” of Performing a Direct Entry Hold

T: Turn to the “Magic Number” in the Hold Direction

If Right Turns, Turn Right to the “Magic Number”

If Left Turns, Turn Left to the “Magic Number”

T: Time

Start Timer for 1 Minute or more if Leg Lengths are Longer than 1 Minute

If Leg Lengths are given as a distance, you will not start a timer

T: Twist

Twist the TAIL of the HSI Needle to the “Magic Number”

Do NOT twist the HEAD of the HSI Needle to the “Magic Number”

T: Throttle

Adjust throttle for Maximum Holding Speeds

T: Talk

Advise ATC that you have entered the Hold

T: Turn to Intercept the HEAD of the HSI Needle in the Hold Direction

If Right Turns, Turn Right to Intercept HEAD of HSI Needle

If Left Turns, Turn Left to Intercept HEAD of HSI Needle

Direct Entry Hold Example

“N736TB. Hold South of the Ogden VOR on the 180 Radial.”

Steps:

A: Proceed Direct to the Holding Fix

B: Figure the “Magic Number”

“Magic Number” = 180

C: Determine Entry Type

DIRECT Entry

D: Cross the Holding Fix

The 6 “T’s”:

Turn Right to the “Magic Number”

Time

Twist Tail of Needle to “Magic Number”

Throttle Adjusted

Talk to ATC

Turn Right to Intercept Head of Needle

Parallel Entry Hold - Steps

Memorize these steps and follow them exactly!

Even if you don’t understand the hold, you will fly it perfectly with the steps below!

A: Proceed Direct to the Holding Fix

B: Figure the “Magic Number”

C: Use “Magic Number” to Determine Entry Type

D: Cross the Fix

The 7 “T’s” of Perfoming a Parallel Entry Hold

T: Turn to the “Magic Number” Opposite Hold Direction

If Right Turns, Turn Left to the “Magic Number”

If Left Turns, Turn Right to the “Magic Number”

T: Time

Start Timer for 1 Minute or more if Leg Lengths are Longer than 1 Minute

If Leg Lengths are given as a distance, you will not start a timer

T: Twist

Twist the TAIL of the HSI Needle to the “Magic Number”

Do NOT twist the HEAD of the HSI Needle to the “Magic Number”

T: Throttle

Adjust throttle for Maximum Holding Speeds

T: Talk

Advise ATC that you have entered the Hold

T: Turn to Intercept the HEAD of the HSI Needle Opposite Hold Direction

If Right Turns, Turn Left to Intercept HEAD of HSI Needle (with a 45 degree intercept angle)

If Left Turns, Turn Right to Intercept HEAD of HSI Needle (with a 45 degree intercept angle)

Parallel Entry Hold Example

“N736TB. Hold South of the Ogden VOR on the 180 Radial.”

Steps:

A: Proceed Direct to the Holding Fix

B: Figure the “Magic Number”

“Magic Number” = 180

C: Determine Entry Type

PARALLEL Entry

D: Cross the Holding Fix

The 7 “T’s”:

Turn Left (opposite) to the “Magic Number”

Time

Twist Tail of Needle to “Magic Number”

Throttle Adjusted

Talk to ATC

Turn Left (opposite) to Intercept Head of Needle

With a 45 Degree Intercept Angle

Teardrop Entry Hold - Steps

Memorize these steps and follow them exactly!

Even if you don’t understand the hold, you will fly it perfectly with the steps below!

A: Proceed Direct to the Holding Fix

B: Figure the “Magic Number”

C: Use “Magic Number” to Determine Entry Type

D: Cross the Fix

The 7 “T’s” of Perfoming a Teardrop Entry Hold

T: Turn

Count 30 Degrees Opposite Hold Direction from “Magic Number”

Then turn to that Heading

If right hand turns, start at “Magic Number” and count 30 Degrees to the left. Then turn to that number.

If left hand turns, start at “Magic Number” and count 30 Degrees to the right. Then turn to that number.

T: Time

Start Timer for 1 Minute or more if Leg Lengths are Longer than 1 Minute

If Leg Lengths are given as a distance, you will not start a timer

T: Twist

Twist the TAIL of the HSI Needle to the “Magic Number”

Do NOT twist the HEAD of the HSI Needle to the “Magic Number”

T: Throttle

Adjust throttle for Maximum Holding Speeds

T: Talk

Advise ATC that you have entered the Hold

T: Turn to Intercept the HEAD of the HSI Needle in Hold Direction.

If Right Turns, Turn Right to Intercept HEAD of HSI Needle

If Left Turns, Turn Left to Intercept HEAD of HSI Needle

Teardrop Entry Hold Example

“N736TB. Hold South of the Ogden VOR on the 180 Radial.”

Steps:

A: Proceed Direct to the Holding Fix

B: Figure the “Magic Number”

“Magic Number” = 180

C: Determine Entry Type

TEARDROP Entry

D: Cross the Holding Fix

The 7 “T’s”:

Turn

Count 30 Degrees left of “Magic Number”

Then turn to that Heading (150)

Time

Twist Tail of Needle to “Magic Number”

Throttle Adjusted

Talk to ATC

Turn Right to Intercept Head of Needle

Distance Holds

All of the Hold Examples we have practiced up to this point have been Holds Directly over a VOR.

However, Holds can also been done from a distance off a VOR Radial.

They are executed the same exact way as Holds done over the VOR but the Hold Clearance from ATC may sound different.

Distance Hold Clearance Example

“N736TB. Hold North of the 8 DME Fix from the Ogden VOR on the 180 Radial. Right Hand Turns. 1 Minute Legs.”

In this example, the Holding Fix is no longer the VOR.

It is at the 8 DME on the 180 Radial from the VOR.

From the Hold Clearance we know the hold should be North of the 8 DME Fix.

The Hold is for Right Hand Turns.

Hence, the Hold will look as depicted on wifiCFI.

Adjusting For Winds

Adjusting Timing for a Headwind

Timing of the Outbound Leg should be adjusted for Headwinds and Tailwinds in a Hold.

A Headwind will slow the airplanes ground speed and will therefore, travel a shorter distance across the ground.

If timing is used in the hold and is NOT adjusted for wind, we would experience the situation below.

Timing should be adjusted on the Outbound Leg in order to make the Inbound Leg 1 minute (or whatever ATC assigns).

Let’s assume we time our Inbound Leg and it takes 1:30 to cross the fix.

A pilot should take the excess 30 seconds and divide it by 2 to get 15 seconds.

The Outbound Leg should then be shortened by 15 seconds (45 seconds total) to make the Inbound Leg 1 minute.

Adjusting Timing for a Tailwind

Timing should be adjusted on the Outbound Leg in order to make the Inbound Leg 1 minute (or whatever ATC assigns).

Let’s assume we time our Inbound Leg and it takes 0:50 seconds to cross the fix.

A pilot should take the insufficient 10 seconds and multiply it by 2 to get 20 seconds.

The Outbound Leg should then be lengthened by 20 seconds (1:20 total) to make the Inbound Leg 1 minute.

Adjusting Heading for a Crosswind

What would happen if our pilot did not adjust crab angle for a crosswind situation?

When adjusting Heading for a Crosswind, the pilot should note the amount of Wind Correction needed to maintain course on the Inbound Leg.

The pilot should then triple that wind correction amount and apply it to the Outbound Leg.

Instrument Rating ACS Standards

Explain and select the proper entry procedure for the hold to be performed.

Establish an appropriate holding speed.

Initiate the proper entry procedure for the hold to be performed.

Maintain airspeed +/- 10 KIAS.

Maintain altitude +/- 100’.

Maintain proper headings +/- 10 degrees.

Maintain less than ¾ scale CDI deflection on Inbound Course.

Use proper wind correction procedures.

Comply with ATC reporting procedures.

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91

Aeronautical Information Manual

Instrument Flying Handbook

Instrument Rating Airmen Certification Standards (ACS)

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