Why do CFIs discourage midfield crosswind?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by hish747, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. hish747

    hish747 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For the last couple of years, CFIs I've flown with (instrument, commercial and IFR currency flights) seem to have the same response when I announce that I'm going to cross at midfield to join the left downwind. Without fail they proclaim some variant of "it's probably better to just join a regular crosswind instead of midfield". When I press them about why, they usually say "it's just a better practice" or they really don't know why but it's what they were taught.

    To me this makes no sense at all. It would seem clearly better to cross at midfield where departing traffic is less likely to be climbing through my altitude. Flying a regular crosswind puts me right in the path of departing traffic. Are they worried about landing traffic making a go around?

    I would appreciate thoughts from all but especially CFIs that hold this opinion.
     
  2. Old97

    Old97 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My personal opinion: you are less likely to have a mishap with traffic if you are expected to be where you are. In other words, be predictable. Turning crosswind midfield is not the pinnacle of expected behavior.
     
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  3. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Because they're not stupid and they don't think saving 20...30 seconds is worth the extra risk? Maybe?

    Are you planning to fly over midfield at 500' above (the highest) TPA and then a right turning teardrop into a 45 for downwind as is recommended?

    Do you really think departing traffic will be at your altitude if your flying a "regular crosswind" as long as you're not flying 747 patterns? And, even if they are, would you not be looking for departing traffic, which would be quite obvious, when flying a "regular crosswind anyway?"
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  4. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    It seems better because you don't bother looking for traffic in the easiest place to see it?
     
  5. hish747

    hish747 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It has nothing to do with saving time. My point it there is no traffic at midfield but flying a crosswind from the opposite side puts you right in the path of departing traffic while climbing and may not have a good forward view.
     
  6. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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  7. hish747

    hish747 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have no idea why you would jump to that conclusion. Is it just that you give such little thought to things that you assume the other person must be doing something wrong?
     
  8. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Pattern entry... now this is something we haven’t discussed in a while
     
  9. John221us

    John221us En-Route

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    Depends, if you have an RV, you could try an overhead break and roll out on downwind ;)
    Are you crossing at TPA or 500 feet above? I was taught 500 feet above, but subsequently advised that turbine traffic uses that altitude. Perhaps that is the reason?
     
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  10. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    The other day I came in at a 45 for downwind and then remembered I forgot to lock my hangar door.
     
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  11. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    I might suggest instead of crossing over the runway midfield at pattern altitude, you just turn 45 and fly an opposite direction pattern. This would also keep you out of the way of departing traffic (and all other traffic for that matter) and thus is far safer!
     
  12. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    CFIs discourage a lot of things...some of it they can back up, but usually it’s simply because if they were taught that way, it must be the only correct way.

    Personally, I was taught to do midfield crosswinds...so it must be the only correct way. ;)
     
  13. falconkidding

    falconkidding Line Up and Wait

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    I love the midfield cross. Lets me see everybody easily and lets me angle slightly left or right to get in front or behind someone. I dont do that overhead teardrop crap. Just what i wanna do put my back to the field and head on for someones version of a 45 entry...
     
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  14. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    Straight Ins eliminate the issues here
     
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  15. asicer

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  16. dmspilot

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    I didn't jump to any conclusions. I asked a question, albeit a rhetorical one. And my answer to yours is that I have given it more thought than you have, obviously.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  17. sarangan

    sarangan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Midfield crosswind entry is a perfectly acceptable method, and I actually prefer it compared to a crosswind entry. I prefer it even more compared to making a descending 270 (which never made any sense to me why so much twisty turns near the traffic pattern was actually a recommended method).
     
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  18. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    There is no single entry that is perfect. All have their positive and negative aspects. I'll enter on any leg as long as it's appropriate for the circumstances. If there are multiple aircraft in the pattern, I'll probably enter on the 45. Otherwise, it depends. If I'm not familiar with the field and local traffic, I'll probably enter on the 45. My gripe is pilots who are so regimented that they think their entry is the only safe one and it's the only one they use regardless of what's going on around them. Entering on a midfield xwind with aircraft announcing on the 45 is probably not a wise choice as you are both converging on the same point in space and may be unable to see each other in the turn onto the downwind. Descending into the pattern is not a good idea anytime. I don't particularly like the overflying the airfield 500 above the pattern with a descending teardrop onto a 45--but that's just me-- I like keeping the airfield in front of me and I don't like turning descents to tpa anywhere near an airfield.
     
  19. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Why do y’all jump on people? Reminds me of that other board that has no participants now.

    I was told you can enter mid-field at pattern altitude, but I’d suggest reading/following the AIM. Recommended, but if everyone follows it . . .
     
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  20. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Because they are self righteous buttholes.
     
  21. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    ^^^Bingo! The "alternate" entry IS just another tool in the toolbag. When used cautiously, it is perfectly safe. And, in some cases, it may be preferable to the "preferred" method.
     
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  22. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    If you aren't wearing horse blinders, I don't see that as a problem. I do see as a problem approaching another aircraft at a high closure rate with small frontal areas projecting from each plane. Here's a sketch of a blue plane and red plane approaching a runway and heading for a like colored pattern. The winds are calm, one or the other plane has no radio or is on the wrong frequency or has mistakenly announced its position. In this country, radio is not required. Both pilots are looking for traffic on the downwind, taking off and maybe trying to find the windsock. I'd prefer to go around the end of the runway and merge with departing traffic showing me the top of its wing and side of its fuselage and converging at a slower speed.

    Midfield downwind entry.jpg
     
  23. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    What cracks me up is that the "preferred" and "alternate" methods are spelled out as the "recommended" entry methods. Yet, we argue about other types of entries being better. Yet, if someone were to say "cross-wind entries are dangerous" there'll be 10 posts about how its not against the law and all that AIM stuff is just "recommended".

    I'm more worried about the Cirrus on the 2 mile wide, 100kt downwind coming down on top of me because he was too busy describing every nuance of his approach on CTAF and fiddling with his gadgets to hear or see me doing touch and goes in the pattern.
     
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  24. hish747

    hish747 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In your sketch there is no default calm wind runway, or there is but one of the planes is choosing the wrong runway, correct?
     
  25. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    A midfield +500' pattern entry would give you less time to get your trim/airspeed/altitude squared away before starting your landing than a normal crosswind entry especially at a shorter field. That shouldn't be a problem for an experienced pilot but for a nervous student who only recently soloed it would probably help.

    Personally I don't really care what pattern entry people use as long as they tell me where they are/what they're doing on the radio and don't cut me off or anything. Just approach the airport, listen to the radio for a bit to see if there are any other aircraft/what they're doing, and do something that makes sense for the situation. It isn't that big of a deal.
     
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  26. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    I had a new experience yesterday about dinnertime. The pattern was quite busy [by the time I was able to cross the runway, finish taxi and takeoff, 3 planes had landed and I was #4 in the pattern], two planes radioed in "on the 45 to downwind" for the same runway, one was 2 miles out in the 45 and the other one was 5 miles out on the 45 . . . . What kind of craziness is being taught now????
     
  27. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    It's always the pilot's prerogative, right?
     
  28. Skymac

    Skymac Pre-Flight

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    I’m a CFI and I’ll cross midfield every time if I need to, not a big deal. It’s all about listening to the traffic, sequencing yourself and looking!
     
  29. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's my normal entry when on the opposite side of the pattern. I feel it is such safer because I can see the whole pattern before entering it. Same reason for the 45 when on the pattern side.

    My normal entries:
    When aligned to runway, fly straight in
    When opposite runway, sidestep and fly 45 to the downwind
    When on the pattern side, enter 45 to downwind
    When opposite the pattern, midfield crosswind
     
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  30. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    I have ranted about this too many times and I can't find the link to discussion.

    It is my belief that crossing the runway at pattern altitude and entering the pattern from the inside is unsafe and I will never do it. I've seen it done many times and many more on YouTube...:eek:

    This was unthinkable when I was learning to fly and instructing full time. Now it is even published in the Airplane Flight Manual.

    I have had two near midair collisions because of pilots doing this at night. I consider it an unexpected maneuver.

    It has been an accepted pattern entry in Canada for a while, so I guess we just followed them...

    You all can do whatever you want. I won't do it. I'm not saying get off my lawn, so let your conscience be your guide...:p
     
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  31. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    It is not accepted in Canada at the same airports that allow 45° entries to downwind unless all participating aircraft are equipped and use two-way radios for communication. Maybe we should mandate that here too? But that still doesn't increase frontal area. Maybe we could require everybody to have radial engines? And burn oil for smoke? And make everybody slow down and fly at 1.3 vso while approaching and departing airports? With flaps extended to see better over the nose?
     
  32. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    I’ve used the midfield crosswind plenty of times, have taught it, and used it on my CFI checkride with the FSDO which I passed on the first go.

    That said. I’ve had this argument countless times on this board, so I don’t think I’m going to engage in it again :)
     
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  33. G-force

    G-force Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What I don't like about the 270 turn to downwind is in a high wing, thats a 270 deg blind turn. Sure your "clearing" your turn as your crossing over the runway but as soon as you drop that wing, your not going to see the Rocket or Cirius screaming in to the downwind.
     
  34. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Then cross at pattern altitude and join the downwind.
     
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  35. TheFB

    TheFB Pre-Flight

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    Interesting. I do something not mentioned here. I join the crosswind at the departure end of the runway to make left traffic. I am still a bit new and joining downwind at midfield causes me to rush as I am at point of touchdown quickly after joining. I absolutely cannot quote any documentation, it just seems a safe option (if listening to traffic and looking) as no planes are reaching pattern altitude at the end of a 4000’ runway.

    I’m sure I’m about to get murdered but I announce that I “am joining crosswind at departure end of runway 23 and making left traffic for 23”... Again, head on a swivel and listening.
     
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  36. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    The midfield crosswind was the first pattern entry I was taught when I started taking lessons almost 30 years ago. It was standard at the airport where I first trained. I was thrilled to see the FAA finally acknowledge it as legit.

    I always felt uncomfortable with the FAA-recommended blind descending turn on the traffic side of the pattern. Although the procedure says to fly beyond the pattern before making the descending turn, I saw in reality a potentially disastrous combination of pilots making the blind descending turn too close to the airport and pilots in the pattern flying 737 wide downwinds. I used it when traffic conditions made it a better choice (and taught it as the FAA standard), but always flew well beyond the airport, treating it as an away-from-the-airport course reversal to set up for a 45 degree entry into the pattern rather than as a method of pattern entry in its own right.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019 at 3:03 AM
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  37. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    You are not the only one who does that variation at shorter runways.
     
  38. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    Hmmmm ... I thought RVs were eligible for the ten-mile straight-in approach.
     
  39. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    :rolleyes:
     
  40. Skymac

    Skymac Pre-Flight

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