When your designated to land at airport and runway is there anyway to map out the landing pattern without using the nav aid landing rectangles that can be used to help you find your way. I can never seem to navigate the pattern entry and landing pattern. I have asked for airport direction but points me back to the pattern entry, i thought once you entered the pattern there would be direction arrow to give you an idea of the landing pattern.
Find the charts for the airport. Navigraph is great for that.
moved to #student-pilots:basic-gameplay-help
Doing the in game tutorials will also help you figure out the pattern. I’m sure there are good youtube resources as well.
Basically if ATC assigns a “Left” pattern then all of your turns will be to the left.
(With “base leg” your final turn to line up with the assigned runway)
Practice at a small airport with a single runway after going through the tutorials using the 152 or 172.
High wings provide good visibility.
As a couple others mentioned, the charts for airports can be a big help. If I’m flying into an unfamiliar one, I’ll pull up the charts and approach info on FltPlan Go on my iPad and give it a quick look to get a little familiar.
I’ll keep it on my iPad while I’m flying and give it a good check over again when I’m getting ready to call the tower or announce my approach to traffic.
I’ve been issued instructions to fly a right pattern to runway x but was in a position to fly a standard left pattern. It seems ATC was getting mixed up between left and right patterns. So I entered a left downwind and didn’t get a flight violation. I guess it’s OK to ignor ATC and do what makes sense.
Depends on how realistic you want to fly. If you know the destination airport, one of the requirements of a pilot is to know all available information about that flight, including destination runway lengths, and pattern entry procedures. This FAA article explains everything.
It takes some practice to do it under VFR. I would do touch and goes first in a slow plane take off fly a pattern land take off again rinse and repeat and do it all by hand 10-15 of those and you’ll get a hang of it. Next do a cross country vfr flight. cheat a little at first with moving map either fltplan go or navigraph or little nav map. Fltplan go has rolling VFR charts too. Then do couple VOR’s to VOR’s in a month or 5 you’d be pretty good at it :).
At an uncontrolled field you should always enter a left downwind, either at a 45 degree angle or by overflying the field at midfield.
If the charts, AFD, or electronic equivalent indicate right traffic then you do all of that but for a right downwind.
At a towered airport, you follow the procedure for B, C, or D airspace.
For practicing a Cessna 172 approach your very edge of the wings should be covering up the runway while your flying the phase where you are parallel to the runway, while still flying if you use the aircraft camera function (but not touching the actual ground)
Here is a video I did on traffic pattern entries and an exercise to help fly a better traffic pattern. How To Enter The Traffic Pattern - CJ4 WorkingTitle Mod + Savage Grravel FS2020 - YouTube
In case of doubt (or laziness) you enter a left hand pattern, but airports can have right hand patterns, classic way is fly over the airport and check for cows on the runway
I posted this tutorial with pictures about how to land the Cirrus SR22 based on the real world procedure if that helps.
From real life experience in a single engine;
Most patterns are left (standard) turns (although at towered airports ATC can advise otherwise), look at the Sectional or Terminal Chart to determine the pattern (notwithstanding ATC instructions)
fly parallel with the wing just about touching the edge of the runway at 1,000’ AGL at around 85 -110 kts around 2100 RPM (anything less to tend to lose elevation)
once abeam of the threshold, reduce power to 1500 RPM, flaps extend 10 degrees, ensure you’re not going faster than 110 (max speed for flaps @ 10). I typically shoot for 85 kts max
Once at the the plane is beyond the threshold (and it appears ~ 45 degrees with respect to the wing, flaps 20 degrees, begin the base turns, pitching for 75 kts (~ 300 - 500 fpm descent rate). If you’re airspeed is slowing down, pitch down. If you feel low, its ok to add a little power (by adding power at the same pitch angle you’re extending the run component of the slope equation, i.e. rise over run
Turning into final for a small single engine plane, it’s typically around 2 miles. At this point you’re usually around 600 AGL, there are a couple components you have to factor in
- Is there a crosswind component I have to factor in (necessitating a slip and keeping flaps at 20 degrees)
- Is there a headwind with a substantial difference between sustained and gust values (i.e. published planes approach speed + (Gust- sustained)/2)
Again from real life experience, I would extend flaps to 30 degrees , pitching for 65 kts (published approach speeds for a Cessna 172) , increasing or decreasing power to maintain my target fix (typically the runway number),
Once landing is assured (I have enough momentum to reach the runway), I start to reduce power a little bit at a time.
Past the threshold, I reduce power to idle and let the plane decent down to about a wings height over the runway, using ground effect. At this point (as counter intuitive as it sounds) you “want to fly the plane”, i.e. pitch the plane up enough to maintain the wings height over the runway. At slow airspeeds the control surfaces provide less and less lift (ie feel mushy), so the slower you’re going, the more back pressure is needed. You’ll be teasing the momentum out the of plane. You also want to looking down to the end of runway (the horizon).
If done properly, the back wheels (“the landing gears” in a tricycle configuration) will settle on the runway first with minimal vertical speed.
It does take practice, even experienced pilots can have an off day or two (we tend to be self critical on landings), but as long as you walk away from the plane and re-use it immediaty, you didn’t too bad
Generally patterns are flown the same no matter the aircraft type. Some of the key-points:
- Abeam mid-field select first stage of flaps.
- Lateral distance on downwind can be determined by keeping the wing-striping on the runway.
- You could time passing abeam threshold for 3 x height / 100, e.g. 1000 ft = 30 sec.
- Approx. 10 seconds before base turn, select gear down.
- When threshold is 45 degrees behind the wing, start a descending turn to base-leg. Or turn when time is up when using timing to determine base turn.
- Select second stage of flaps.
- Turn to final as to start the final leg stable, in landing configuration with wings level from at least 300 ft AAL.
- In case of touch and go, climb to pattern altitude, a climbing turn can be made from upwind to crosswind if needed to stay within the circuit area, but not below 500 ft AAL.
Tips for landing:
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