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Procedures>Standard Entry Procedures
entry procedures given in the AIM evolved from extensive experimentation
under a wide range of operational conditions. The standardized
procedures should be followed to ensure that you remain within
the boundaries of the prescribed holding airspace.
Reduce airspeed to holding speed within 3 minutes
of your ETA at the holding fix. The purpose of the speed reduction
is to prevent overshooting the holding airspace limits, especially
at locations where adjacent holding patterns are close together.
The exact time at which you reduce speed is not important as
long as you arrive at the fix at your preselected
holding speed within 3 minutes of your submitted ETA. If it
takes more than 3 minutes for you to complete a speed reduction
and ready yourself for identification of the fix, adjustment
of navigation and communications equipment, entry to the pattern,
and reporting, make the necessary time allowance.
All aircraft may hold at the following altitudes
and maximum holding airspeeds:
Altitude (MSL) Airspeed (KIAS)
MHA – 6,000 feet 200
6,001 – 14,000 feet 230
14,001 feet and above 265
The following are exceptions to the maximum
1. Holding patterns from 6,001 to 14,000 feet
may be restricted to a maximum airspeed of 210 knots indicated
airspeed (KIAS). This nonstandard pattern will be depicted by
2. Holding patterns may be restricted to a
maximum airspeed of 175 KIAS. This nonstandard pattern will
be depicted by an icon. Holding patterns restricted to 175 KIAS
will generally be found on IAPs applicable to category A and
B aircraft only.
3. Holding patterns at Air Force airfields
only—310 KIAS maximum, unless otherwise depicted.
4. Holding patterns at Navy airfields only—230
KIAS maximum, unless otherwise depicted.
5. Advise ATC if you need to exceed a maximum
You may want to use the maximum endurance speed
when executing a holding pattern in order to save fuel. However,
there are several reasons why you would not want to use the
maximum endurance speed for holding. You should use a speed
for holding patterns that will give you good aircraft control
without increasing workload, minimizing fuel burn (as much as
possible), and provides a safe margin above stall.
While other entry procedures may enable the
aircraft to enter the holding pattern and remain within protected
airspace, the parallel, teardrop and direct entries are the
procedures for entry, and holding recommended by the FAA. [Figure
Figure 10-6. Holding
pattern entry procedures.
1. Parallel procedure: When approaching the
holding fix from anywhere in sector (a), turn to a heading to
parallel the holding course outbound on the nonholding side
for approximately 1 minute, turn in the direction of the holding
pattern through more than 180°, and return to the holding
fix or intercept the holding course inbound.
2. Teardrop procedure: When approaching the
holding fix from anywhere in sector (b), fly to the fix, turn
outbound using course guidance when available, or to a heading
for a 30° teardrop entry within the pattern (on the holding
side) for approximately 1 minute, then turn in the direction
of the holding pattern to intercept the inbound holding course.
3. Direct entry procedure: When approaching
the holding fix from anywhere in sector (c), fly directly to
the fix and turn to follow the holding pattern.
Pilots should make all turns during entry and
while holding at:
1. 3° per second, or
2. 30° bank angle, or
3. a bank angle provided by a flight director system.