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Where does a downwind join officially start?

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Where does a downwind join officially start?

Old 31st Oct 2006, 20:47
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Joining DW in the UK as I recall is to join the circuit abeam the upwind numbers.

In the USA the 45 should bring you onto downwind at the midpoint of the runway.
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Old 1st Nov 2006, 14:35
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Englishal - This is my understanding also

Originally Posted by englishal View Post
Joining DW in the UK as I recall is to join the circuit abeam the upwind numbers.

In the USA the 45 should bring you onto downwind at the midpoint of the runway.
My understanding of American way is "midfield downwing on the 45" - I much prefer the clarity that this picture gives me to that when I am asked to join overhead.

Sorry to hijack the thread but while we are on the subject of joins can I ask what people interpret as the correct way to carry out an overhead join?

i:e what height to join at (?midfield overhead), when and where to turn, when to descend (deadside but in what direction?) and where you join the standard pattern?

Thanks,
SB
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Old 1st Nov 2006, 14:57
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I was taught the following:

1. Join at 2000 feet above the airfield

2. Position yourself so that you're crossing the runway threshold (? that doesn't look like the correct spelling) still at 2000 feet on a base heading towards the deadside

3. Once on the deadside begin descent and a 180 degree turn to end up on the crosswind leg crossing the upwind end of the runway at circuit height

4. Fly the crosswind leg until in a position to turn downwind still at circuit height, and slotting into any traffic already in the circuit.
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Old 1st Nov 2006, 15:47
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All great in theory, but the theory (and every diagram of an OHJ I've ever seen) conveniently ingnores an approach to the airfield from the deadside, which statistically should occur on ~50% of joins, but sod's law says its far greater
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Old 1st Nov 2006, 16:14
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Originally Posted by Mariner9 View Post
All great in theory, but the theory (and every diagram of an OHJ I've ever seen) conveniently ingnores an approach to the airfield from the deadside, which statistically should occur on ~50% of joins, but sod's law says its far greater
What is the problem with joining from the deadside?

If you know it is a left hand circuit - you keep everything on your left (10/11 oclock) and make all turns to the left. Reverse (obviously) if it is a right hand
(1/2 o'clock).
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Old 1st Nov 2006, 16:42
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[QUOTE=vancouv;2940504]I was taught the following:

3. Once on the deadside begin descent and a 180 degree turn to end up on the crosswind leg crossing the upwind end of the runway at circuit height
QUOTE]


...and I was given a right old telling-off during a test once for doing just that. The examiner said that as there were high-performance aircraft operating at the airfield in question that they can easily achieve circuit height by the upwind end of the fairly lengthy runway and in his opinion the CORRECT place to crosss ANY runway before joining the downwind leg is at the mid-point. Then the correct call is 'late downwind'. He still signed me off though. I've mulled over this one over the years.

There was sadly a fatal accident at North Weald a few years ago involving traffic joining the circuit so it isn't just of academic interest.

If I'm joining from the deadside, I do so AT circuit height and crossing at the runway midpoint, rather than descending to achieve circuit height by the time I'm downwind. The rationale here is that you can then see all circuit traffic against the sky, above the horizon, not lost in the ground clutter below you.

TheOddOne
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Old 1st Nov 2006, 16:55
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I know what you mean tony, and agree its not a problem in practise, but you never see the method written down or shown in a diagram.

Effectively, if you join from deadside you will never reach the overhead, you will instead join on a tight decending deadside upwind/crosswind (as you say keeping everything on your left hand side in a LH circuit or vice-versa)
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Old 1st Nov 2006, 23:28
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Effectively, if you join from deadside you will never reach the overhead, you will instead join on a tight decending deadside upwind/crosswind
No - many do it this way, this is actually a crosswind join, it is a more practical way of doing it, but remember the overhead join was origionaly designed for non radio aircraft to come overhead and look at the signal square, so you would not know where the dead side was until you had reached the overhead (airfield on your LH side until you know the circuit direction of course). Correctly, if joining from the dead side you would go overhead then do a full 180 (+/- depending exactly what heading you joined from) then let down dead side.

Last edited by foxmoth; 3rd Nov 2006 at 09:09.
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Old 2nd Nov 2006, 13:53
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I'm not sure if this is covered here, but my preferred join would be a long downwind,ie straight into the downwind at circuit height from a fair distance out,say a couple of miles.
It gives me a chance to familiraise myself with traffic and also the airfield.
Is this OK?
Lister
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Old 2nd Nov 2006, 14:01
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I'll probably get jumped on here, but I still think the military circuit join through initials has a lot to be said for it.

Incidentally I was very grateful that Compton Abbas still has a signals square this morning, as I was having radio problems. Joining overhead and looking a the signals square potentially saved me from a mid-air if there had been other traffic at the time (which there wasn't!).

If you run an airfield with a signals square and are contemplating getting rid of it - please don't!

Tim
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Old 2nd Nov 2006, 14:35
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Originally Posted by Mariner9 View Post
...but the theory (and every diagram of an OHJ I've ever seen) conveniently ingnores an approach to the airfield from the deadside...
Like mine the other day!

Should I have come in at 1000ft above the circuit height overhead, done a 180 to come back over the active runway threshold and then decended to circuit height whilst turning to crosswind on the dead side?

Or, as I did, simply enter at the crosswind at the upwind end of the runway whilst keeping a good lookout for traffic?

I bet there's an official answer, but the CAA pdf document doesnt seem to have this situation in...
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Old 2nd Nov 2006, 16:42
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You should join overhead at 1000ft above the circuit. Keep the airfield to your left if it's a LH circuit (right otherwise) and circle at that altitude until above the numbers of the landing runway. Then descend deadside &c. as above.
That gives you a chance to read the signals square and/or windsock (see my last post!) and avoids descending until you have definitely seen everyone.
Tim
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Old 2nd Nov 2006, 16:50
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Originally Posted by the_daddy View Post
Should I have come in at 1000ft above the circuit height overhead, done a 180 to come back over the active runway threshold and then decended to circuit height whilst turning to crosswind on the dead side?
YES

Many airfields have noise sensitive 'dead sides' hence the need to arrive at altitude. Circuits can be aligned for the consideration of neighbours and screaming into the dead side at circuit height may just take you over nuisance neighbour property.
OK, I am not talking about large airports here - but certainly very many 'strips' have noise considerations on the 'dead side.'

When I was taught I had the OHJ rammed down my throat and maybe that is why I am still a very strong believer that it, like all flying, should be carried out correctly and with precision. My only argument with the CAA leaflet is that it was designed many years ago before the advent of high performance PFA and BMAA types that can get to and beyond circuit height before reaching the numbers and I personally believe as another poster said that crossing the runway on the numbers maybe needs reviewing.

I was taught to arrive at the overhead with the active runway at my ten o'clock (for left hand circuit) or two o clock (for right hand circuit) and make the 180 in a gentle rate one turn in the same direction as the circuit so that arriving back over the downwind numbers set me up perfectly to reduce power for a neighbour friendly descent over the 'dead side.' I confess to never seeing this in a formal publication - but I will refer to Thoms tonight.
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Old 2nd Nov 2006, 18:32
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the daddy - My post covered this exactly, as have the last two posters.

Lister Noble
I'm not sure if this is covered here, but my preferred join would be a long downwind,ie straight into the downwind at circuit height from a fair distance out,say a couple of miles.
Generally OK if coordinated on the R/T but may depend on local rules.
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Old 2nd Nov 2006, 22:45
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Thanks for putting this one straight for me guys,

I did read the posts beforehand but obviously needed it clarified in my own head!

Now I know!

By the way this was the first dead-side OHJ I have made, but it's all experience!
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 21:43
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Originally Posted by TheOddOne View Post
If I'm joining from the deadside, I do so AT circuit height and crossing at the runway midpoint
And do you do this even if you know there is other traffic joining the circuit, notably from other directions? Because if you do you're putting yourself straight in the path of traffic descending to your level on a deadside descent. Also, because it's non-standard, you'll be joining downwind at a point other than where other pilots on downwind will expect to see you.
I really don't understand what people's problem is with the standard overhead join as illustrated at the CAA url quoted above. It's STANDARD. If everyone used it we wouldn't have all these thousand-and-one personalised versions that each individual thinks is correct.
NS
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 21:54
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Originally Posted by Lister Noble View Post
my preferred join would be a long downwind,ie straight into the downwind at circuit height from a fair distance out
By all means do this when you are confident that there is no other circuit traffic, or you are confident that you can see and remain well clear of any existing circuit traffic. But please don't do it when you know there is traffic already established in the circuit, especially at a training airfield. It can be at the very least disconcerting for solo students and disruptive to instructors teaching circuits. At worst it is downright dangerous. We get loads of people who seem to think it's fine just to give a call on the radio saying they're inbound, set the QFE and blunder in however they like. We even get people landing opposite direction to the runway in use!

As for high perf a/c reaching 1000ft by the upwind end of the runway, that's only true of airfields with quite long runways, and in any case, if you're taking off in such an aircraft at an A/G or AFIS airfield, you ought to be listening to the radio to find out where any conflicting traffic is, and looking to check that the airspace you're about to occupy is clear.

NS
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Old 13th Nov 2006, 03:20
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Why I like Deadside joins...

I do deadside joins when I can. You don't put yourself in line with opposite direction traffic for two reasons:

1) Joining from the Dead Side you pass over the upwind numbers. Joining from OH you pass over the downwind numbers. Or you should do....

2) If you are "ahead" in the join from the deadside, the traffic joining using the OHJ should descend and join behind you. If you are miles out then they should join in front of you. You are already at circuit height, the OH joiner will be above circuit height.

If you don't do a deadside join then you pass over the airfield at exactly the same height as the OH joiner, but in opposite direction, then you have to fart around turning umpteen times before carrying out an OHJ and hence put everyone at more risk....in my opinion.
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Old 13th Nov 2006, 08:02
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1. How do you know you are ahead of or behind the OHJ traffic unless you can see it?
2. Yes, OHJ traffic joins at the same height, but opposite direction joiners are horizontally separated by the length of the runway.
3. You don't have to "fart around turning umpteen times" if joining in the overhead from the deadside (unless umpteen = 2). You turn once in the overhead then into the deadside descent, always turning in the same direction as the circuit.
The safety of all joining arrangements at uncontrolled airfields is dependent on traffic making accurate and informative radio calls at the correct point, and everyone listening out so that they get a good picture of the traffic. I find not enough people ask for more detailed traffic info - e.g. if you want to do a direct deadside join and you know someone else is joining but aren't sure exactly where they are, why not ask? Very few people do in my experience.
The bottom line for me is that the safest option is to have a STANDARD way of joining which everyone understands. OHJ isn't necessarily the best or only way, but it's a lot better than having everyone using different methods of joining, many of which are completely unknown to others.
NS
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Old 13th Nov 2006, 09:00
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Just noticed this thread. I have been using the Standard OHJ for more years than I care to remember, basically because that is what I was taught and it was the subject of CAA procedures etc. I am now a trifle worried that there are alternative views and even alternative methods being implemented to save time, fuel etc. Like some of the last posters have stated, if we just use the Standards already in place, even if they are old, then we all know where we are meant to be.
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