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‘Left downwind’ in a right hand circuit?

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‘Left downwind’ in a right hand circuit?

Old 16th Dec 2020, 13:24
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by captainsmiffy View Post
Well arent we a typical bunch of pilots, overcomplicating things with rules and nitpicking on their understanding etc?! 31 posts above, many of which ‘clarifying’ what was said and yet, somehow at loggerheads with each other!! ........
... and yet we all happily fly around with no problems!!!! I suspect what this simply underlines is just how important "situational awareness" is to us all on a daily basis without us realising it as, usually, instructions from ATC make complete sense and we just do what is required - even if upside down if you are cattletruck!!! In the case of the OP, the ATC instruction seemed to conflict with their "situational awareness/expectation picture" so they requested clarification. We are judging this case without fully understanding what else has gone on prior to this to give it propper context.

On a lighter note, I was Downwind once and met someone coming "Downwind" the other way which caught me out a tad. I immediately asked for confirmation of the RW and circuit direction and ATC confirmed I was in the right but asked why I'd questioned it. After I'd explained the reason there was a big sigh from ATC followed by "Absolutely nothing to do with me! Erm, you didn't happen to get his Reg as he flew past you?". It was an excellent de-brief point with my Student as to why you should always keep a good lookout - you just never know. And I never did find out if they tracked the interloper down who, it seems, was just en-route from somewhere to somewhere else!
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 13:44
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Meeting somebody going the other way can happen very easily at non-towered fields in the US with only a Unicom or CTAF. Absolutely essential to discover which way everybody else is flying before joining the pattern (downwind on the 45 none of these standard overheads) especially when the wind is light and variable. Even more so when the same Unicom frequency is used at another field 30 miles away.

Particularly when it's RH on one runway and LH on the reciprocal..
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 13:57
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Plenty of those here in the UK with "keep to the west" or N or S etc.Thus not overflying habitation. e.g at Jackrell's Farm , Hadfold, Colemore Common North Weald Redhill (?)..........!!

Originally Posted by Dave Gittins View Post
Meeting somebody going the other way can happen very easily at non-towered fields in the US with only a Unicom or CTAF. Absolutely essential to discover which way everybody else is flying before joining the pattern (downwind on the 45 none of these standard overheads) especially when the wind is light and variable. Even more so when the same Unicom frequency is used at another field 30 miles away.

Particularly when it's RH on one runway and LH on the reciprocal..
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 14:12
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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This is why you mention which airport you are addressing every time before you state your intentions or your position on CTAF. This self coordinated system works surprisingly well even with quite different players using the same field.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 15:34
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Local Variation View Post
Obviously circuit orbiting should be an initial turn away from the runway, which flies in the face of this, but the general gist is sound.
Originally Posted by TheOddOne View Post
...which makes it so highly dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.
Once, approaching from the south for RW09 (Left Hand circuit) I was told by ATC to report right base for 09. Fine by me, saves time. The trouble then came when ATC asked if I could see the circuit traffic on left base - "Negative" (it was a bit hazy). So I was asked to orbit right (over a town at 800ft). Coming out of that, same question and same answer, whereupon a different voice from the other aircraft (obviously the instructor) said "I suggest CD does another orbit". ATC agreed, so round again... My wife in the RH seat was now getting a very good close up view of the houses. I have been a bit cautious ever since about non standard joins!
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 18:20
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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I have been asked many times to join, say, downwind right when a left hand circuit is in operation. This is quite normal if flying a faster aircraft in a busy circuit. ATC do not want an aircraft overhauling the others downwind. So putting the aircraft on the Dead Side gives them separation. Do exactly what they ask. Downwind Right means you have the airfield on your Right when flying the downwind leg.
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 19:33
  #47 (permalink)  
With3Tees
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Wow!

Having listened to ATIS I was expecting a standard overhead join into a RH circuit. As far as I remember the controller said “can you join left downwind”. It was very busy and I was quite tired having flown for three hours and I just couldn’t visualise what it meant. I asked “confirm right hand circuit” which was confirmed. I think I read back ‘join left downwind’ and I then spent a few seconds getting more confused and with much radio chatter and several calls asking if I was visual with the Cherokee (or some such) on base (or some such) I was overwhelmed and then simply announced that I had lost situational awareness and was departing the circuit to the South for rejoin. I then rejoined overhead, descended dead side and joined RH normally. Not my finest circuit moment. I don’t think he could have been asking me to do a LH circuit as he would not have then confirmed a RH circuit. I assume he was simply asking me to join downwind rather than overhead, which makes sense (now!) as I was approaching from the correct direction for that. Maybe I should have said “are you simply asking me to join downwind?”. Anyway he was very helpful on the rejoin and after landing I thanked him for his help and he made a brief, pleasant ‘no problem’ sort of comment.

Thank you for all your replies
Matt
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Old 16th Dec 2020, 21:09
  #48 (permalink)  
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Well done Matt

Matt

You say not you your finest moment but I think you demonstrated excellent airmanship. It sounds as if, by your own admission, you felt overloaded and made the decision to have another go. Nothing wrong with that at all.

You don’t say where this happened but I think you’re saying the standard circuit was right hand and you were offered a left hand rejoin presumably as it was more expeditious. It certainly sounds confusing to me and a lot of other contributors on this thread. If in doubt never be afraid to ask. If the controller sounds irritated then don’t worry. Remember they are there for your benefit not the other way around. If you’re still training or just gaining experience well done on a good decision.

Any ATC guys/gals reading this no offence intended just trying to encourage a potential newbie not to be intimidated!

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Old 16th Dec 2020, 23:39
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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ATC guy here utterly unoffended. Air Traffic Control Service should be there to aid the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic. Expeditious can sometime be tricky one: offer something that gets pilot from A to B more quickly and usually everyone is happy, but sometimes as above you just confuse matters or encourage a pilot out of their comfort zone. I would say the moral of this story is if you are being offered/cleared to do something you are not comfortable with then ask for a different solution. For what it's worth, my understanding of the original scenario is that although a RH circuit was in use, but the controller offered a more expeditious re-join downwind left-hand in to the circuit with the expectation that any missed approach or further circuits would be flown as the standard (for this runway) RH. In Uncle Rod's days at Woodvale the circuit would often have had civilians in a large, square LH circuit and UAS/AEF in a military oval RH circuit.
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 06:17
  #50 (permalink)  
With3Tees
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So ‘left downwind’ simply means downwind, on the left of the runway, when viewed from the direction of downwind. Which will always be the the case with a RH circuit, and a LH circuit will always have right downwind. That’s that sorted then. Thank you all.
Merry Christmas!
Matt
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 08:49
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Can't be. "Left" must always refer to circuit pattern otherwise we're all going to be confused.
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 08:57
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Supermattt View Post
So ‘left downwind’ simply means downwind, on the left of the runway, when viewed from the direction of downwind. Which will always be the the case with a RH circuit, and a LH circuit will always have right downwind. That’s that sorted then. Thank you all.
Merry Christmas!
Matt
As above, you just kicked new life into the thread
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 09:29
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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I'm sitting here in my dining room, in front of a computer and having a hard time decoding this:

"So ‘left downwind’ simply means downwind, on the left of the runway, when viewed from the direction of downwind. Which will always be the the case with a RH circuit, and a LH circuit will always have right downwind".

At my home airport there's a clear definition of left/right downwind/base. I dearly hope I'll never find myself controlling an aircraft near an airport using this (sorry IMHO bonkers) system !
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 10:54
  #54 (permalink)  
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"So ‘left downwind’ simply means downwind, on the left of the runway, when viewed from the direction of downwind. Which will always be the the case with a RH circuit, and a LH circuit will always have right downwind".
You're going to land as much into the wind as practical, which will define the runway for landing (unless ATC instructs otherwise). Thereafter, you're going to fly a rectangular circuit pattern around that runway. If the rectangular circuit is composed of left turns, it's a left hand circuit. If right turns, right hand circuit. You the pilot must figure the turns out, if in doubt, make a sketch with arrows.

Most runways have a left circuit by default, though may be specified as right by policy or ATC instruction. A reason for a right hand circuit could be that it's a parallel runway, or a noise sensitive area underneath, or topographic feature restricting a left circuit. It is the pilot's responsibility to know which before approaching to land. Thereafter, an ATC instruction at a controlled airport could overrule the "normal" circuit, to be whatever ATC says it should be. I expect the left circuit default because the left seat pilot would have a better view for left turns.

Does that remove confusion?
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 12:07
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Just keep in mind, your right hand is the one where the thumb is on the left.
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 12:27
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jmmoric View Post
Just keep in mind, your right hand is the one where the thumb is on the left.
Lol. Please don't confuse matters further!
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 13:26
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BBK View Post
Matt You say not you your finest moment but I think you demonstrated excellent airmanship. It sounds as if, by your own admission, you felt overloaded and made the decision to have another go. Nothing wrong with that at all.......
Absolutely BBK! And, nope, I'm not being drawn back into this one - just had to add my BZ on to your comment above tho!!!
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 13:43
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Gittins View Post
Meeting somebody going the other way can happen very easily at non-towered fields in the US with only a Unicom or CTAF. .......
Agreed Dave - and exactly the same for some of the small fields in the UK which may only have "Radio" or a FISO - or nothing!

But, in my case, it was in a busy ATZ, for a field which has clearly marked VRPs and you hold at the VRP until you get an onward clearance to join depending on which VRP you happen to rock up at. It's also surrounded by busy airspace so people transiting the area should be at least looking at the chart before setting off as there be Class A dragons here and there to breath "fire and MORs" at the unwary!!

It was the poor ATCO who, by the sounds of it, was about to raise yet another "infringement action" who asked if I'd got an ID for the interloper! And the cct was packed at the time so he probably passed 2 or 3 of us in his dash against "downwind" tho it sounds like I was the only one to see him as he flashed past!

PS And, no, I'm not going to say what the cct direction we were flying was! We've had enough confusion of "lefts" and "rights" already in this Thread!!! Let's just say I was "downwind"!!!!!!
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 15:06
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Circuits are relative to [landing your 'plane down] runway in use..:- Left hand is an anticlockwise rectangle: Righthand is Clockwise.
The whole "circuit" is therefore called LH or RH.
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 15:56
  #60 (permalink)  
With3Tees
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I am fairly certain I was not being asked to fly a LH, circuit.

In hindsight I think the controller was simply asking me to join downwind rather than overhead.

I still don’t know why he said ‘left downwind’, nor what is meant by that term if it is indeed correct terminology in any context other than downwind in a left hand circuit.
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