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Lesson 3c - Traffic Pattern

Lesson Objective

The student will learn the shape, go ahead-points, and most of all, the flexibility of the pattern.


The student will NOT focus on bad habits such as rigid adherence to specific altitudes at certain points in the pattern. It must also be stressed that rigid, square perfection is NOT the goal of the pattern. Every pattern is different, and it must be viewed as a tool to the primary and ultimate goal -- getting to the runway safely.

Regulatory Requirement


  • Entry point
  • Entry altitude
  • Entry leg
  • Downwind leg
  • Base leg
  • Final approach
  • Flexibility in pattern construction and TLAR
  • Ground tracking with reference to the aiming point

Completion Standards

The student must be able to perform:

  • A pattern to the satisfaction of the instructor, without aid from the instructor.

The student must be able to explain:

  • That the primary ultimate goal of the pattern is to reach the runway!
  • The procedure for a normal pattern
  • The situations when a pattern is not appropriate
  • The means of abbreviating a pattern

Prerequisite Study


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