What is a Left-Hand Traffic Pattern?

By Ken Kostura



Standard traffic patterns are used at Airports for safety and efficiency of airport operations. These traffic patterns are very important at airport without operating towers like BCB in Blacksburg, Virginia. The standard traffic pattern is a rectangle with five named legs: downwind, base, final, departure and crosswind. The direction of the pattern refers to the orientation of the pattern turns. For example, aircraft in a left-hand traffic pattern make left turns to base, final, crosswind, and downwind. Normally, a left-hand traffic pattern is used to give the left-seat pilot the best view of the runway and surrounding environment. In the case of a right-hand traffic pattern, all the turns are right. One can find information regarding specific airport traffic pattern in the Airport/facility directory, Aeronautical information Manuel, FAR Part 93, and Notices to Airmen.



A left hand traffic pattern


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