Nashville CFI

Holding Procdures

A hold is ATC's last resort to separate two or more airplanes going to the same place. Often pilots can avoid flying a hold or reduce length of time spent in a hold by slowing down on the way to the holding fix.

Pilots will usually be issued a holding clearance at least 5 minutes before the ETA of a clearance limit or fix. When ATC issues a clearance requiring you to hold at fix where a holding pattern is not charted, you will be issued complete holding instructions. All holding instructions should include an Expect Further Clearance (EFC) time. If you lose 2-way radio, EFC allows you to depart the holding pattern at a definite time.

If you are approaching your clearance limit, and have not received holding instructions from ATC, you are expected to follow certain procedures. First, call ATC and request further clearance before reaching the fix. If you cannot obtain further clearance, you are expected to hold at the fix in compliance with a published holding pattern. If a holding pattern is not charted at the fix, you are expected to hold on the inbound course using right turns.

Holding Speeds

AltitudeMax Hold Speed
Up to 6,000 MSL200 KIAS
6,001-14,000 MSL230 KIAS
Greater than 14,000 MSL265 KIAS

Hold Entries

To determine the proper hold entry:

Hint: When ATC issues your hold instructions, substitute the word "hold" with "outbound". This way you will not confuse the outbound (holding side) of the hold with the inbound leg. Eg, "Hold north on the 360 radial" means your outbound leg will be to the north.


To actually fly the entries:
As a general rule, the correct entry procedure is the one where you need to turn least at the holding fix.

hold entries

Once established in the hold, follow the following steps:

*The timing of the outbound leg begins over or abeam the fix, whichever occurs later. If abeam position cannot be determined, start timing when turn to outbound is complete (wings level).

There are two primary considerations to adjust on the next outbound leg of the hold:

1. The crab angle to compensate for the wind, which you base upon your previous inbound interception results
2. The time for your last inbound leg - if less than or more than one minute, you must adjust your outbound leg accordingly

Common Mistakes

Practical Test Standards