ATC Holding Patterns Tutorial


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When your airspace gets congested or aircraft need time to descend, holding patterns can be a great option! With our Summer 2016 update you can add holding patterns to your tool belt. Before putting an aircraft in a hold, it’s important to determine if you need a full holding pattern or a simple 360.

1.) If you wish to put the aircraft in a holding pattern, choose an airport or VOR along their route to initiate the hold:

If an aircraft does not have a flight plan, simply have them hold present position or at a nearby airport/VOR of your choice.

2.) Drag your vector tool over the desired VOR or Airport and release:

3.) Select Hold:

4.) Select Airport/VOR, present position, or 360:

5.) Direction of turns:

6.) Altitude:

You also have the option of instructing an aircraft to begin holding at their present position. When aircraft are instructed to hold, a real world speed restriction will automatically be issued based on the aircraft’s altitude. The Reminder Tool is a great feature to help you remember each aircraft in a holding pattern, sending you a reminder after the desired time.

Reasons you may use a hold:

  • The destination airport is full
  • Tower needs space to work through the departure line
  • Spacing to resequence aircraft in congested airspace

Reasons you may use a 360:

  • Aircraft is too high and needs to lose a small amount of altitude
  • Some additional spacing is required between aircraft

While holding you may issue an altitude adjustment simply by tapping the aircraft icon, selecting altitude, and choosing the desired altitude:

To have an aircraft exit the holding pattern, simply issue a new heading and vector the aircraft back onto their route or to their desired destination.

For an in-depth look, check out this short holding pattern video tutorial:


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