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.
Fascinating Facts from the FAA on Aviation
- The Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk , NC could have been performed within the (150-foot) economy section of a 747-400.
- Before Air Traffic Control Towers were developed, pilots avoided other aircraft by a method called "see and be seen".
- Prior to 1926, a person could fly passengers or goods without obtaining a pilot’s license.
- The first animal aviators were a sheep, a duck and a cockerel that were sent aloft in a hot air balloon in 1783.
- "Air stewardess" was the official title given to the position that we now refer to as "Flight Attendant". The first Air Stewardess was Ellen Church and she began work with United Airlines in May 1930.
- Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo. In 1935, Earhart achieved two solo firsts; Hawaii to the mainland and Mexico to New York City .
- Elizabeth Dole was the first woman to become Secretary of Transportation.
- Harriett Quimby was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license. The year was 1911.