View Full Version : Lowest visual traffic pattern height AGL

14th Mar 2004, 00:44
For a B737 type of A/C, which would you consider the minimum acceptable alt. AGL (downwind leg) to perform a visual traffic pattern ? Where can this info be found (any kind of official source)? Might be 500'?

14th Mar 2004, 07:23
Some days ago I saw a 737 maintaining about 400' AGL on the downwind leg. Just surprised!

14th Mar 2004, 09:55
Hi guys ,

my modest opinion is that in our job the less we invent the better is for

safety.I use Jeppsen circle to land minima .


14th Mar 2004, 11:27

don't ask that question if you happen to be in darkest Africa, one day....

West Coast
14th Mar 2004, 14:01
Sounds possibly like a circle to land manuever down that low. I really can't imagine a regular pattern below 1500 AGL, probably closer to 2000 AGL would be appropiate. At least on this side of the pond.

17th Mar 2004, 21:10
No reason to push it low as you'll be asking for trouble, circling minima is to be respected , Visual pattterns 1500' Agl is a safe figure. ATC will require a certain visual pattern altitude when he he clears you for a visual appr.

18th Mar 2004, 08:58

for a category C airplane, and the B737 is one, (Vref between 121 - 140 kts), the circling minima are 600 ft and 2400m visibility.

These figures may be increased by the authorities in certain places due to various factors ( high terrain...), or by the company, when management doesn't trust their pilots because they know they are incapable dangerous ****!

In my present company the minima are at least 1000-4000.

They think if I don't know what I'm doing, some extra clearance might save my a.

That's a shame: instead of training their pilots to be real pilots, they increase the minima in the hope to avoid troubles.

Needless to say, you'll end up having to do a circling at 1000ft at night, under the rain, with some wind, with people improvising and saving the day by just a hair!

The key to this issue is TRAINING and having people who know how to do it safely.

When you know how to do it, it's a piece of cake, even at 600ft, if that's the legal minima.

Sadly (and dangerously) those who are used to fly the easy touristic scenario, will apply the same technique at 600ft than they would apply at 1500ft!

So they find themselves in downiwnd, at low altitude, still with the gear up and all the checks to be done.
They continue to use the same silly rules of extending passing abeam threshold and rubbish like that...

The result?

The PNF will finish reading the Landing cklist at 20 feet on final, after a nightmare scenario has been just saved by pure luck!