Turning Base

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jeff767, Dec 20, 2020.

  1. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2018
    Messages:
    312
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jeff767
    What is the norm being taught today for turning base? Is the old 45 degrees behind the wing not being used? I seem to be increasing caught behind training flights flying engine out B52 patterns.
     
    belbert and FancyG like this.
  2. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Messages:
    1,193
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Deelee
    I was taught the ol' 45 degrees off the wing technique. Sometimes I do it sooner, sometimes later... but as a guideline, I like 45 degrees off the wing to gauge when to turn.
     
    Bill likes this.
  3. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    828
    Location:
    DuPage County IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rk911
    that's how i was taught.
     
    murphey likes this.
  4. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Messages:
    1,193
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Deelee
    To the OP's point - I have also noticed a trend toward very wiiiiiiiiiiide and looooooooong patterns. Very irritating. I would never do this, but half the time, I am pretty sure I could pull most of the power out and duck in ahead of these guys extending their downwind and flying several mile finals...
     
    Huckster79 and FancyG like this.
  5. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    15,455
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    The answer is - it varies. Some CFIs teach tight patterns and others, particularly at the puppy mills, teach B52 patterns.

    My home field has an unhealthy mix of both. I say unhealthy because there are two flight schools on the field and one tends to fly wider patterns than the other.

    I fly an f'n Beech 18 and I'll frequently find myself on downwind with a 172 ahead but twice my distance offset. It's ridiculous.

    As far as when to turn base, it depends a little on the airplane. In the Beech 18, it is around 45 degrees from the threshold. In the T6, I pull the power back abeam the numbers and then almost immediately start my turn to base. In the Waco, I pull power to idle abeam the numbers, trim the airplane for final approach speed and wait until I'm 200' below pattern altitude before I turn base.
     
  6. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    2,520
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
    I find I do longer downwinds in my hershey bar Lance than I did in my tapered Archer. If I do traditional 45 I end up a bit high and pulling too much power on final puts you behind the power curve and sinking. I prefer to bring it in with more control. But I'm not talking 5 mile finals or anything. Just a little longer than the traditional 45. Maybe 60? I'll need a protractor.
     
  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Messages:
    4,544
    Location:
    Hopewell Jct, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shepherd
    They used to teach "pull the power at the numbers, and manage your energy so you can make it to the runway". That fell out of favor at least twenty years ago. Maybe longer.
    I do agree that very long finals are a "thing" lately.
    Maybe it's a stabilized approach thing? "This is what a stabilized approach looks and feels like. Now let's try to shorten it a little every time we fly it?"
    Any instructors want to chime in?
     
  8. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,912
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    That's pretty much how I fly. The skill is in choosing the touchdown point.

    I can't figure out what the local school teaches. They are pretty inconsistent. There were (pre-covid) a couple of puppy mills around that specialized in zero to hero training for Chinese pilots. They flew big patterns and you couldn't understand a word they said on the radio.
     
    FancyG likes this.
  9. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    2,350
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    chemgeek
    Terrain permitting, I like to turn base at at point where I'm just above the PAPI glide path when rolling out on final. That will requires carrying a little power on final, and allows plenty of time to establish a proper approach speed. I don't think that's a "B-52" pattern. I'm guessing it's something like a 1/2 mile final. At my home field there are 500 foot ridges under the downwind legs (the airport is in a glacial valley), so you can't really start descending until almost on final approach course.
     
  10. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,996
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    I save time and turn base at the numbers. Don't want anyone accusing me of a B-52 pattern.
     
    FancyG and Bobanna like this.
  11. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    3,009
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoCal RV Flyer
    I tried that the other day...simulated engine out at the numbers....but my plane glides too well! I touched down around mid-field, but with plenty of runway to stop. Next time I'll experiment and cut power 1000' earlier.

    I trained at KSNA (John Wayne in SoCal), and some of the students were running REAL bomber patterns. It caught me out during a lesson, where I was on a pretty standard downwind (maybe mid-field) and tower said I was No. 2 to land. Couldn't spot No. 1, until my instructor pointed 30 degrees off the nose to the right!! Curiously, he had no tail gunner. :)
     
    rtk11 and PaulS like this.
  12. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    12,950
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    Whenever it looks most appropriate to do so.
     
    Huckster79 and jaxcessnadriver like this.
  13. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,942
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Larry in TN
    At the "puppy mills", you often have 12 to 15 airplanes in the pattern. You can't fly a tight pattern with that many airplanes in it.

    Those who learn where the pattern is usually very busy learn to fly those larger patterns and tend to do so even when the pattern isn't busy.
     
    woodchucker and FancyG like this.
  14. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    2,520
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
    Reminds me of when I was doing my tailwheel training in Florida and we were downwind. A guy called short final so I looked towards the numbers. I finally found him.....on about a 3 mile final.
     
    Huckster79 likes this.
  15. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    15,455
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    Yes, but the number of airplanes in the pattern should not dictate a WIDE downwind. That's just laziness/sloppy technique. If there are a lot of airplanes in the pattern it simply means you can't turn base close in. You will likely have to extend the downwind.
     
    unsafervguy likes this.
  16. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    6,102
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Part of what you are seeing is instructors telling their students to limit bank in the turn to 20 degrees instead of 30. By the time they make the turn they are out there.
     
    WannFly likes this.
  17. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,996
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Doesn't it depend on what you are flying?
     
  18. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    15,455
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    For what we are talking about, I would say no. For most airports, if you are flying an actual B-52 (or some other large turbine powered airplane) you would be flying 500' above TPA. No reason a 172 should be flying waaaaay wide.

    Again, I go back to my comment about flying in a large piston cabin class twin where I am flying half the distance from the runway as some of these flight training 172s and I don't require any steep banks to turn base and final.
     
    Huckster79 likes this.
  19. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    7,865
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cap'n Jack
    I was taught 45° off the wing too.
     
  20. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,942
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Larry in TN
    But it does end up doing exactly that because you're told to turn downwind behind someone else and you end up getting wider and wider just as upwind and downwind get extended. I spent 500+ hours instructing at PRC in the late 1980s and it was a constant battle to keep the pattern in tighter.

    Had a radio failure in a C-152 early on downwind with 12 in the pattern and three who had already called inbound to enter. That was fun. My student showed up for his next lesson asking me to quiz him on the light gun signals to show me how NOW he knew them! LOL

    Right. Tell them to aim for 20 so that when they overshoot they keep it less than 40!

    Tight patterns are nice and efficient but students grow up to be pilots and pilots take passengers flying. Tight patterns, with power-off base/final, are not comfortable for new flyers. Don't want to scare them all off after their first flight with a relatively new pilot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2020
    RyanB and FancyG like this.
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    13,589
    Location:
    high desert NM
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    I just get abeam the numbers then yank out the power and then in my best falsetto voice on the radio....''out of the way boys, I'm going to land now''.....
     
  22. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2018
    Messages:
    312
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jeff767
    The Navy long ago found that long finals do not make for better landings. The standard Navy carrier pattern has the final intercept just inside one mile with 18 seconds of flight time to touchdown.
     
    Huckster79 and FancyG like this.
  23. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Messages:
    458
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    apr911
    ^THIS.

    My local airport doesn't seem particularly busy nor is it a big mill school base but it is towered and there are pistons regularly mixing it up with the business jets coming in. I find during the busier times of year, I regularly end up flying larger patterns even at non-towered airports out of habit thanks to tower sending me all the way out to Timbuktu and back to accommodate a jet on the ILS. Usually takes me a pattern or 2 before I even realize I'm doing it. I just set up for and fly what I would normally expect at my home drome and viola, wide or long patterns.

    I imagine a student learning wide patterns would struggle even more with noticing and adapting their patterns for the trafffic.

    I'd disagree with this. A wide downwind that is 2.5NM off the centerline is never going to be more than 2.5NM off the runway. Assuming a typical final of ~1.5NM (3 degree glideslope with a 600' base to final turn is about 1.8NM but I know most of us are turning inside of that) downwind that gets extended resulting in an extra NM past the threshold is going to be 2.5NM or more from the runway. If my engine were to quit in the pattern, I'd much rather have to manage a 180 degree power-off descent to land from 2.5NM off and 1000' ft vs a 90 degree power-off descent to land from at least 2.5NM and probably both further out and lower altitude.

    Also consider that most are taught to try and maintain a stable, almost-continuous descent from the moment they start descending abeam the numbers on downwind and suddenly you might find yourself not only further out with no power but at a lower altitude too.

    I also got railed in my CFI checkride for exactly this when I extended my downwind for landing IFR traffic vs other options (a 360, slowing to approach speed early or a wider pattern). After the DPE signed off of my ride, he and I had a long discussion about the merits of each and which would be the best solution. I felt extending downwind was the better option for a student because it doesn't require as much thought and planning and would work even in busier airspace (and is an instruction tower would often give), hence I flew the pattern as I would teach it to a beginning pilot. I felt a 360 wasn't a good call even though the pattern on this particular day was dead because it doesn't work when there's another plane or 2 or 3 behind you and I felt similarly about slowing to approach speed early, especially since this is often done without a radio call out and could result in a plane behind you gaining on you too quickly and causing a mid-air plus the added risk of the student not managing the backside of the power curve well and stalling in the pattern at low altitude.

    After much discussion, I agreed a wider pattern solution would work. It would help mitigate the DPE's perceived risk of the student landing short of the runway and/or trying to extend their glide into a stall on final, especially in an engine out scenario, while also providing for the necessary spacing to allow the incoming traffic to land without compromising the spacing with aircraft behind you in the pattern.

    As I do with teaching other non-standard patterns (straight-ins, joining on base, etc), I still teach extending downwind as my default technique but I teach it with the caveat that there are other options available, with a discussion on what some of those options might look like, and you should request and/or do what you are comfortable with, especially as you gain proficiency as a pilot and are better able to assess the risks...

    In my area there are plenty of roads, highways and even fields to land in if the worst were to happen and help is never far away so I fly a bit differently than when I'm out in the mountains or rural areas or extremely congested cities or over gator infested swamp lands... Most of us do, even if its subconscious.

    While there are many wrong ways of doing things, there is rarely one right way of doing things in aviation and its up to the pilot to be aware of the risks and choose the one that works best for them and the situation they are in. I view my job as a instructor not just to give the student the skills they need to execute but the mentality to consider the options available to them and make their own decisions from there as its unlikely I'll be in the cockpit with them to assist with most scenarios.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
    Crashnburn, farangutan and FancyG like this.
  24. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    387
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    My instructor had me flying a wide, long pattern at first so I had enough time to mentally run through things and stay at least a second ahead of the plane. As I got more comfy with it and faster/better at it, we tightened up quite a bit, and now I always turn base when the runway is 45* or sometimes even a little sooner. It's a lot easier to lose altitude than gain it in the event of an engine failure...plus, it's just more efficient if you're trying to get in as much landing practice as you can! :)
     
    PaulS likes this.
  25. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    6,201
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    To avoid all these confusions and arguments.... i fly straight ins :p
     
    farangutan and Zeldman like this.
  26. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    15,455
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    And then finish it off with an overhead break!
     
    unsafervguy and WannFly like this.
  27. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    15,455
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    I hear what you are saying, but I'm talking about yahoos flying downwinds three miles off the runway at non-towered airports (I'm not exaggerating). There is no reason to do that and it can end up creating a hazard for people trying to fly a more standard pattern.
     
  28. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,996
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    No, I get that, but I certainly wouldn't expect a plane going 100 knots in the pattern to be tracking behind a 172, nor your twin to track the 100 knot plane in the pattern.

    My experience is that instructors take students on bigger patterns to get them from being behind the airplane. That in turn puts a faster airplane on even a bigger pattern to safely pass the 172 on downwind, then to give enough space so as to not run them over when you end up on final. It's just part of the game.

    I'm flying a Cirrus, if I'm running down a slower plane that I know is there it's generally because I've messed up. I'm used to it, I fly out of a delta with a lot of training going on, sometimes when they tell me they'll call my final, it's quite a way downwind. Makes it interesting.
     
  29. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,912
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    Exactly. If you're on downwind, I'm looking for you a half, maybe a mile offset from the centerline. If you're 2 miles out there, I'll never see you.
     
  30. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    2,869
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    BrianATL
    Same here and that's what I do.
     
    Cap'n Jack likes this.
  31. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    4,219
    Location:
    NorthEast Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc
    I think it’s a matter of practicing with the plane you're flying. In my little taildragger, I fly a tight pattern and make at least 30 degree bank turns. The Mooney is a different animal in which I do a wider pattern with standard rate turns. A little experimentation will reveal how to gauge distance from runway on downwind which will effect the point for base leg turn. 45 is easy to identify so it might be a good place to start. Your results will vary.
     
  32. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,990
    Location:
    CT & NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dana
    When I learned to fly (Parks College, one of the puppy mills of its day), it was the runway bisecting the wing strut on downwind, whatever that was on a C-150, chop the power abeam the numbers, turn base at 45°. But I was lucky, my instructor was in his 50s, not a recent graduate building hours. Nowadays in the Hatz (think Cub speeds with a steeper glide) my downwind is about a half mile out or slightly more, still 45°, chop power as I turn base. I don't strive for a stabilized approach, I plan to be high on final with engine at idle and slip as appropriate to hit the numbers... until I get behind somebody flying a bomber pattern... grrrr...
     
  33. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    1,607
    Location:
    Atlanta / KRYY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    WDD
    Funny - I actually do better with stable approach, etc. when my pattern is shorter. Some of my better landings were when the CFI pulled the power for a simulated engine out in the pattern. Less time for over thinking, more concentrated flying, etc. I fly from a towered field, and landings are harder when the tower tells me to extend downwind.
     
  34. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Messages:
    3,770
    Location:
    North Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lindberg
    Isn't a "normal" downwind like half a mile from the runway?
     
  35. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    4,219
    Location:
    NorthEast Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc
    I never got the memo cancelling the power chop abeam the numbers and glide it in. I still do that in the taildragger. It’s a great way to stay in tune with how the plane glides in when the engine quits. I can’t see anything wrong with it. If I’m in the pattern with it, no one here would be complaining about my pattern being too wide. Actually I do that with the Mooney when I’m not flying an approach just to stay in tune with what it feels like if the fan stops.

    My basic flight training was in 1992 by a hard core old instructor that pulled the power seemingly all the time. I don’t think I ever went up with him when he didn’t do it more than once. He taught power chop abeam the threshold as part of that training regiment. I glided into low altitude over more grain fields than I care to remember. It’s difficult for me to argue with those training methods. Since after my earliest training with him I can’t remember ever having a simulated emergency landing that I failed to set up well enough that I couldn't have walked away from. When I did transition training in my first Mooney he chopped the power on downwind and I glided it in and set it on the numbers. He was extremely complimentary about my ability to do so and he does Mooney transition trading full time with emergency procedures a requirement for every pilot. I am not claiming to be super pilot, because I am anything but a super pilot. I am claiming that there is merit in chopping the power abeam the threshold and gliding it in. This is not good procedure for all planes, but I think it works nicely in a trainer.

    Maybe I’m just a worry wart, but I believe emergency landing practice is kind of important. Silly me.
     
    jpskies, Howard Wilson, Dana and 3 others like this.
  36. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    4,219
    Location:
    NorthEast Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc
    Yes, even in the Mooney I can fly a semi tight pattern with standard rate turns. In the Mooney community there seems to be a lot of attention regarding stall in the pattern accidents.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2020
  37. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    1,103
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    Don't forget to add, "Caution - wake turbulence" to your radio calls ...
     
    WannFly likes this.
  38. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,282
    Location:
    Copperas Cove, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    LNXGUY
    Make the power reduction abeam the numbers, slow to approach speed while applying flaps and holding altitude, then count to "one banana, two banana," and turn base.
     
  39. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Messages:
    458
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    apr911
    2.5NM is probably a bit of an exaggeration for how far out I'd teach my students. I kind of borrowed 2.5NM from one of comments about a someone calling "short final" 3NM out but agreed that seemed a bit far even for the the point I was trying to make so I split the difference between what the calculator says a wings level at 500-600AGL, 3 degree glideslope "normal" final should be and that, ending up with 2.5NM. In reality 2NM is probably about the widest I'd be willing to tolerate from even a beginning student without a darn good reason (e.g. traffic ahead).

    Ignoring the actual distance involved for a moment, understand that I was trying to illustrate the point that in high traffic scenarios with many planes in the pattern, a wider pattern with normal final distance isn't lazy but rather good judgement compared with flying a normal tight pattern and having to extend way long of the runway.

    Again I was trying to sufficiently illustrate the point while not getting stuck in the weeds about what constituted a wide/long pattern vs a tight pattern. Clearly I failed to do that since we're still discussing exactly that... I blame any ambiguity on the OP for not defining what he considers an "engine-out B52 pattern" which is somewhat contradictory while complaining about long patterns... I kid I kid. Seriously though, read through the comments and its clear there is no "accepted" distance to fly your pattern and what constitutes wide or long or both for one person might be normal for someone else. About as close as I think we can get for guidance is the circling radius of 1.3-1.4NM for a CAT A approach.




    Regarding the specifics of a "normal downwind" being 1/2 mile from the runway? I'd say it could be depending on your plane but I'd say that's probably really tight for most GA. At 30 degree bank and 70kts, a 180-degree downwind to final turn will take you 1500ft or 0.25NM... Which leaves about 10 seconds for base with no wind.

    I'm usually a decent bit faster on downwind (90) and base (80) which increases the turn radius/diameter and that's still assuming your 30 degree turns are "tight" and on point going right to 30 degrees and holding it there to the 90 degree point in your turn. If you roll into it more slowly and/or roll out of it slowly with maybe a lift of the wing to check your position in the turn, you'll eat up more of that time... Which does not leave a lot of time to level, take in the site picture, reconfigure (2nd notch of flaps, trim, airspeed), descend another 200-300ft (somewhere around 40-45 seconds at 70kts and 3-degree glideslope) and make a radio call out, even as a competent pilot, let alone a student pilot.

    Sure you can do some of this in the turn or more aggressively (a 6-degree glideslope at 70kts is a 700fpm descent which puts you right around that 10-15 second base mark) but its still tight.

    Its been awhile so I'm having a hard time picturing the TLAR sight picture I look for and its not like I have some hard and fast rule of "I fly a pattern x miles from the runway" but looking at my track logs for my last couple of flights in which I did pattern work in PA28's and measuring the distance, my typical base leg was somewhere around 0.7 and 1 NM between downwind/final tracks depending on the wind. I did not have any significantly shorter than than 4000ft (0.66NM) with my widest pattern being around 1.1-1.2NM. Most of those were practice power-off 180-descents for my CPL too; not that having power should change my pattern but if there were ever a time you were going to cheat inward towards a tighter pattern, it'd be when you know a power failure is coming...

    That being said, I'd say planes and airport particulars matter too. The pattern and landmarks I used to fly in the Citabria at my local drome when I lived out in California is permanently etched in my memory and was a good bit tighter than what I usually fly. I was coming wings level on final at 0.25NM from the runway threshold, my base leg would be 0.5-0.6NM from the runway threshold and my downwind was between 0.25 and 0.5NM from the runway centerline... There were geographical, obstacle and noise abatement reasons for the higher, tighter pattern and of course efficiency was the name of that game as a tailwheel, somewhat remarkably (sarcasm), flies almost exactly as a trike in the air so it was takeoff and landings we needed. In that plane there were no flaps, no transition to manage, a super simple though coarse trim control and we were pretty much chopping power close to mid-field and then adding power back in to manage descent rate once we got the airspeed dialed in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
  40. mandm

    mandm Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2020
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Chicago
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Michael
    I usually just pick a landmark on the ground that I like and use that. Especially if a highway/road leads up to it.