Flying across departure/upwind leg

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by GreatLakesFlying, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    OK, I need to vent some steam about the following.

    Last Saturday, after the mini-fly-in at KJVL, my friend and I got into the Archer to fly back to 06C. We asked for FF, were handed off to RDF approach, and finally to Chicago approach. There was another aircraft on FF at the time, approaching 06C from the northeast.

    About 10-11 miles out of 06C ATC terminated radar services for both of us, and directed us to CTAF. By that time I had obtained AWOS and I was planning to overfly the field and enter left downwind for 29.

    I announced position and intentions on CTAF and then the other aircraft did the same, only he said he was planning to enter left base for 11. I made a note to keep an extra eye out for him and I announced my next position, overflying midfield 1800 for left crosswind 29. The other guy says he is about to enter left base for 11.

    Someone on the ground about to depart on rwy 29, told the other aircraft that winds favor 29. OK, says the other guy, and announces he will be joining left downwind 29. While he is on 11's left base, ie, he will be flying across the departure path of 29, with traffic taking off!

    At that point I am in my teardrop, I have the other guy in sight, my copilot keeps an eye on him, we are safely separated, I am talking to him (I'll be #2 for 29), and we are fine.

    But I can't help thinking about it: how safe was it for him to cut in front of the active runway's departure path? Maybe he was startled when he was told that 29 was the active runway and he made a last-minute decision to join the downwind from his position. Would it have been better if he entered a right 360-ish, to overfly the field and do a teardrop entry into the left downwind for 29? Did he not copy AWOS reporting 30007KT? (Which, really is closer to 30012KT because at 06C I think the anemometer is in the basement).

    Anyway, not a big issue for me as I was aware of the other aircraft's position and trajectory and I was talking with him -- he was actually very nice -- but I got a bit concerned about the departing traffic at the time.


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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  2. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait

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    Did you say he was right base for 11?
     
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  3. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    maybe I'm wrong but you're saying the other aircraft called right base for 11 but your drawing shows a left intended base.

    dang, clue beat me to it
     
  4. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The other right, the other right. Thanks for catching it. I have edited the original post. He was on left base for 11.
     
  5. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thank you both for catching the error. I meant to type "left base" and I have edited the OP accordingly.
     
  6. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    You said the other guy was going to enter on a right base. The diagram shows him entering on a left base for 11 before extending to the downwind for 29. I don't like teardrops where the action is behind me when I'm descending and turning right around the point most pilots enter the pattern. I generally will enter on a crosswind over the airport and turn directly downwind when approaching from the opposite side of the traffic pattern. Apparently the other guy did much like I do except I'm over the airport and yes, I'm at tpa.
     
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  7. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Edited OP to show "left base" for the other way. Sorry for the confusion.
     
  8. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    My thumbs don't type as fast as you guys:)
     
  9. jaymark6655

    jaymark6655 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Another forum that I am on has a feature that I am surprised isn't internet wide. When you type out a reply and hit post, it looks for other post that occurred between you loading the thread and hitting the post button. If any occur, it notifies you and lets you read them to see if you still want to post or edit based on the new post.

    I was taught the tear drop after mid-field, not sure how I feel about it. Guess crossing the end might not be too different from side stepping into a go-around and then crossing the departure end.
     
  10. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I wasn't going to mention the teardrop entry (that I never do) because I didn't want to derail the thread in typical fashion. however in this case the teardrop entry seems to add to the danger element, and looks like it reduces the spacing even more. based on Leo's description, he said he saw the traffic slightly behind him. the teardrop essentially eliminates any spacing between the two aircraft, as opposed to just crossing midfield and entering the downwind, keeping the same spacing the whole way. however, the OPs question isn't about that, it's about xwind on the departure path, which yeah, sounds like it's not the best option. I've heard of people doing xwind over the departure numbers, and I've done that once or twice, OR I've heard of maneuvering all the way around to join the downwind but I would think people do that far enough away from the departure path. also, don't listen to me, as I don't have a clue. except please don't do teardrop entries WUUZZUUUPPP. seriously.
     
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  11. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    If you teardrop in you are supposed to be 2nm from the airport at which point it’s probsbly safe. To me the best entry is crossing at pattern altitude on a 45 turning into the down wind leg. Crossing the departure end isn’t that big of a deal at most airports and most GA aircraft as they will not be at pattern altitude by the end of the runway.

    Any time I’m in the vicinity of an airport for landing I want to be at most pattern altitude. It’s much easier to see aircraft at your altitude or slightly higher than to spot them looking down.
     
  12. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    this one does, that's how I knew just as I was about to hit 'post' on my first reply that I had just typed the same thought as clue did, but at that point I had invested too much time and energy so I just hit post anyways.
     
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  13. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I probably would’a just entered straight in. Keep things simple.
     
  14. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Landing on taxiway C? Lol
     
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  15. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait

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    My instructor always suggested when crossing midfield that I actually cross over closer to the numbers at pattern altitude. So if the other pilot crossed over the numbers at pattern altitude, I don't think he ran that big a risk. Now if he's 1-2 miles off the departure end, that would more likely put him in the path of departing aircraft.
     
  16. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    My home base (non-towered) is so busy, with so many different types of aircraft and pilot proficiency levels, I just assume every take off and landing is going to be fur-ball. I don't even comment on it. Except, when someone brings it up, I'll usually comment that I doubt many pilots have actually pulled out AC90-66B and really tried to understand the design and purpose of each leg of the recommended pattern, or the recommended proper entry and departure procedures.

    I swear, every time I arrive and call the 45, I get bounced by someone else doing something weird or not being where they claimed to be. The next guy that calls up as says he's "at initial, for the overhead break" I'm gonna respond, "negative ghost rider, the pattern is full!"
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  17. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    As far as I know, the FAA recommended pattern entries are:

    45 at pattern altitude to downwind (preferred)

    mid-field crosswind to downwind at pattern altitude (alternate)

    mid-field crosswind at pattern altitude +500, descending teardrop to 45 entry to downwind (alternate)


    These are recommended. When no one is around, or when traffic is very light, my opinion here - a non recommended entry is not going to ruffle any feathers, compromise safety, and it is not illegal. You can be the judge if that was the case.

    I can't say for sure what I would have done in the same situation as the other pilot. There have been instances when I have aborted joining a busy pattern due to lack of situational awareness, maneuvered a few miles out to set myself up for a standard entry, and come back in again. Or when joining the pattern and there are other AC in the pattern, and confusion about which runway is active. Sometimes it is a good idea to just bail out and come back in on a standard entry when things are sorted out.

    You are correct, flying the crosswind entry at mid-field does give you clearance from landing or departing traffic. Flying it out over the departure end of the runway puts you in potential conflict for a departing airplane. A light, high performance airplane can get pretty close to pattern altitude by the end of the runway. The other reason for flying these entries as published, is simply because that is what the FAA wants us to do. By standardizing this, everyone knows where to look and what to expect when someone calls a mid-field crosswind entry.

    https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_90-66B.pdf
     
  18. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That doesn’t work, ask Maverick.
     
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  19. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, but it'll make me feel better. And, that's whats important!
     
  20. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    If Other Guy was already established on the left base and close to the runway, and suddenly realized what was going on ("sudden acute brain fart reversal"), he probably felt he didn't have a whole lot of options that wouldn't put him in someone else's path, and probably just figured he best thing was to book it across the approach path as soon as possible before the Departing Guy took off. Hard to say from here in this armchair I'm sitting in.
     
  21. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sounds to me like everything worked out.
     
  22. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Guess so if you're on a 10000' runway...
     
  23. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Over a 10000' runway, flying a mid-field crossing puts you in potential conflict too.
     
  24. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’d have to know where the other guy was when the departure said the winds favored 29 and he changed to 29. Maybe he just naturally would be across the extended centerline before the departure got to a confliction point. Do you know if the departure passed in front of or behind the guy who turned his left base for 11 into a crosswind for 29?
     
  25. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    OmniGraffle Pro (an OSX app only).
     
  26. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    @luvflyin, I was recording video at the time, so I have a precise record of the situation. The pilot on the ground departed when the other aircraft was 2-3 NM from 29's extended centerline. At that time I had just crossed midfield.

    Seeing some of the comments above about the teardrop entry, got me thinking though. What would have been a better approach for me, to join left downwind for 29, coming from the northwest?

    Lateral separation is not a concern at 06C but vertical is. TPA is 1600 and O'Hare's Bravo starts at 1900. Crossing midfield and then flying 300' above downwind -- at best -- as I fly a teardrop, may not go down in the annals of safe flying. This is something I need to modify. But how?

    I could have flown a bit further south, to the north edge of KDPA's Delta, even talking with the tower there, then entering left downwind 29, via the 45. That might have been a safer approach for me and I'll try it next time.

    Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 11.10.35.png
     
  27. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    Something not mentioned is that departing traffic is on the runway and easy to spot so it’s very likely the other guy had him in sight and knew that what he was doing was okay.
     
  28. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    10/10, excellent grammar and wonderful diagram. :cool:
     
  29. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    That guy was on a base, and the aircraft on the ground was in communication. So to continue crosswind I don’t see a big deal. Now if he would have turned final, that would be a big deal.
     
  30. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    To be honest, if it was just the three of you, you were all communicating, and a right base for 29 is not explicitly forbidden, I probably would have just done that with an extended downwind to make sure the other guy is in sight and has space. Maybe I’m wrong in that, educate me if so.

    But I personally don’t see anything wrong with what happened provided he announced his intentions and the guy departing knew where the traffic was.
     
  31. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    On your question of was it wise for the arrival from the Northeast to just turn his base for 11 into a crosswind for 29, I'll just say that the 29 departure is who advised the arrival that everyone was using 29 and the arrival made his intentions clear. They were communicating with each other. Neither one of them would have been a surprise to each other. Based on what I know from what's here in this thread, I don't see an unsafe situation between those two. On the 'over the airport, teardrop entry to downwind' I've always had reservations about that becoming a so called 'procedure.' First I heard of that was within the last couple years. I don't really like it either, like others here. What I had been doing when coming towards the airport from the 'other side' would be fly overhead, well above TPA, to the other side, far enough to reverse course and set myself up for a 45 from that side. Yeah, I'd end up flying a few more miles than just starting a 270 into downwind right after crossing overhead.
    That being said about arriving from 'the wrong side,' just setting yourself up to arrive from 'the right side' would be a solution. Wouldn't have been more than a few, if any, miles more
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  32. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    You don't have the option at an untowered field of flying a right hand pattern unless a right hand pattern is published for that airfield. Similarly, if a right hand pattern is designated for a particular runway, flying a left base would be frowned upon by the FAA.
    re: 91.126
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018