Which way do you turn?

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Which way do you turn?

Postby viennatech » Fri May 02, 2008 2:04 pm

I posted this to a Cessna usergroup but I definately want to know the answer from the UCAP gang so here it is.

At an uncontrolled aerodrome where you are prepared for takeoff we almost all agree that a 360 degree turn is in order to ensure that there are no aircraft trying to land on you. My question is which way do you turn?!

I have always turned “against” the traffic flow. This way I can clear final, base, downwind and finally see departing traffic ending back up looking at final before entering the runway. I was recently chastised for this and told to “go the other way” with an instructor that wanted to go “with” the flow.

To me I think it’s easier to spot traffic if it’s going the opposite direction but I guess going “with” would give you more time to see them I also like going backwards because I get to see my greatest threat first and last during the turn.

Which way do you turn and why?


Dave Higdon
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Re: Which way do you turn?

Postby Dave Higdon » Fri May 02, 2008 5:55 pm

Well....to be honest, I only perform a powered ground loop ;) when my run-up or hold-short position blocks my view of the pattern...So, for example, at my long-time home field, Augusta Municipal (3AU), the pattern is always on the East side of the airport -- so for R/W 18 the pattern is left-hand traffic, but right-hand for 36...since i could always see the entire pattern I never did a 360 clearing maneuver before launching...and i could see the base leg of anyone who used the "wrong" side of the airport, as happened sometimes during IMC when pilots often used a VOR approach from the East...

So guess the "always 360" before take-off was not hard-and-fast for me...

On the other hand, when at a few other non-towered airports, to be honest, never gave much thought to which way I turned...but as I think <hard!unngghh!> about it, believe I tended to rotate the opposite of the traffic flow, so I say final, then base, then downwind and crosswind, then back to final...but only if my run-up or hold-short spot blocked my view of the pattern -- and :!: only if doing so didn't hold up the flow of departures...again, thinking of IMC where arrivals should be IFR and talking to the same frequency I'm monitoring...ATC won't let IFR arrivals in if there's VFR traffic about to depart that they know about, at least...and they'll hold arrivals until the last IFR arrival cancels...no real point here, but probably not a bad idea in the event that a Scud Runner is trying to sneak in...

...not that anyone here would do such a thing :shock:

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Re: Which way do you turn?

Postby PilotBrad » Fri May 02, 2008 5:58 pm

I guess I would say I turn whichever direction gave me the best visibility out of the aircraft, regardless of the direction of flow. For example, in a side-by-side aircraft, I almost always turn left as I am seated in the left seat and in general I find the visibilty to the left to be better than the right. In a tandem aircraft, I would generally turn against the flow; like you I like to see final first (and last).

As far as being chastised by the instructor, it's things like this that really get my knickers in a bunch. Unless the direction to turn is a procedure that is published in the AIM or other formal document, you shouldn't be chastised for turning in a direction opposite of what the instructor prefers. In cases such as this, if the instructor sees value in doing something differently, then they need to educate, not reprimand... there's a big difference. Nothing turns me off faster than an instructor that is so arrogant to insist that their way is the only way. Ok, I'll stop ranting now. :mrgreen:
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Re: Which way do you turn?

Postby champguy » Fri May 02, 2008 6:57 pm

I'd say more important than which way you turn, is where your prop wash is going on runup. If you can see final when you are ready to go, start adding power, turn the corner, and let r rip.
If there is an instructor giving you a bunch of myways or the highways let him see what ever he wants, then later go out and be careful using your own good judgement. Every situation will be different.
Personally, I have trouble scanning properly at the same time I'm driving around in circles. Too much going on.
Nobody around here scud runs, unless of course the ceilings are real low. And if the ceilings are real low, nobody in there right mind is flying.
Every situation is different, and if you are still punching buttons on that whiz bang glass panel as pull out onto thr runway, you will get what you deserve, a whiz bang surprise.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.

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