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‘Left downwind’ in a right hand circuit?

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‘Left downwind’ in a right hand circuit?

Old 17th Dec 2020, 18:21
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Montreal
Posts: 16
Could have been a number of things.

ATC often make mistakes between left and right runways, circuits, etc., especially in high workload conditions. They often catch their own slip and correct right away, but sometimes you need to call them back and ask them to clarify their instruction. Which is exactly what you did (more strength to you), and the confirmed that they - in fact - wanted you to fly a right-hand pattern. Problem solved.

It could have meant they wanted you to fly a left-hand pattern. If there is only one (active) runway, controllers might send you on the other side in order to give everybody some room. But, again, they confirmed a right-hand pattern, so it probably wasn't that.

It could have meant "go to your left and join the downwind".

All in all, it doesn't matter at all what they meant. You did the right thing, which was to ask for clarification (or confirm the type of circuit) and you got it. Whenever ATC use terminology you don't understand or issue confusing instructions/clearances, always ask them to break it down for you before you do anything. Beyond that, it is of no real significance what they meant on that particular day. "Correct terminology" or not, controllers may express themselves in a number of ways and you can always ask them to explain what they want when it's unclear.
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Old 22nd Dec 2020, 16:57
  #62 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Don't forget your right hand is the one you write with..... Unless you are left handed.... or ambidexterous.
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Also make sure the aircraft that you are following downwind, is still in the circuit.
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Old 22nd Dec 2020, 19:19
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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I really can't see what the issue is. If you are cleared to join Left Downwind then that is what you do. If the Circuit is right hand and you deceide to go around or do a touch and go you are then into a right hand circuit. It was probably more efficient to join from the left and if there was no opposing traffic in the right hand circuit it would make sense. Done it many times.
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Old 22nd Dec 2020, 19:24
  #64 (permalink)  

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Whopity, precisely. I’m amazed that so many have obviously found understanding this so difficult.
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Old 22nd Dec 2020, 19:39
  #65 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
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If you are cleared to join Left Downwind then that is what you do.
Exactly, it is that simple. So, what all the waffle is about I'm at a lost to know.
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Old 23rd Dec 2020, 09:08
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1998
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I received a clearance to "join left downwind" from ATC yesterday. The first thing I thought of was this thread and that our ATC has a great sense of humour. No brainer, 'cept rotorcraft don't like inverted approaches.

Could've done backwards but I was rather hot at 100kts.
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Old 23rd Dec 2020, 14:10
  #67 (permalink)  
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I received a clearance to "join left downwind" from ATC yesterday
For the benefit of those newer pilots reading this thread, it's probably worth clarifying that that wording sounds more like an instruction, than a clearance. Without the context of the communication, it's hard to tell, bu if the phrase "cleared to..." was not included, the "join left downwind" part was not being offered as optional. A clearance will usually include a description of a limit, meaning that you are cleared to fly as far as XX, with the expectation that before you get there, you'll have a further clearance (so you don't have to stop and hover).

While flying many flights in a more complex terminal area last week, the difference was clear: Sometimes I was "cleared to descend to xx", meaning I was not to fly lower than that altitude, but also not required to get down there either. Other times, I was instructed to descend; "C-GABC, descend to xx", meaning I was expected to get lower, so someone else could fly over me. It's worth understanding the difference between an instructions and a clearance, failing to comply with the instruction is likely an offense. Failing to comply with a clearance would not be, though exceeding it would: "G-AXYZ, cleared straight in final" is a clearance, to approach the airport on the runway heading, descending, but if you were to land without further clearance, you'll be in trouble. Similarly, if you hear the instruction "G-AXYZ land...", you are in trouble!

When I first started flying helicopters, I would fly my solo cross countries to airports I knew very well as a fixed wing pilot. Of course, the controllers did not hear a a fixed wing pilot on the radio, they heard a helicopter pilot. So I would get all kinds of clearances I was not used to: "C-FMMR, fly direct to the main apron". That was actually an instruction, and for a fixed wing guy, about to cross the departure path of the active runway he knows very well, it's a little disconcerting. But, I realized that I would completely confound the entire place, of I asked to fly a fixed wing circuit the to runway!
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Old 23rd Dec 2020, 17:51
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Jersey
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There seems to be a lot of mis-information in this thread. Left Hand Downwind means when you are flying downwind, the runway is on your Left. Giving faster joining traffic a different circuit pattern is very common. For instance I am flying into Oxford in a Falcon 2000. There are several PA28s on a Right hand circuit on R/W 19. If I join the circuit on a Right Hand downwind I am going to overhaul the PA 28s no matter how slow I fly keeping at a safe speed for my aeroplane.. So I am instructed to join downwind Left so I do not conflict with them.
It is not a mistake by ATC nor is it confusing. You are being asked to fly a different circuit pattern for separation.
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Old 24th Dec 2020, 10:35
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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There are several PA28s on a Right hand circuit on R/W 19.
That must really annoy the helicopters.
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Old 24th Dec 2020, 10:45
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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You are being asked to fly a different circuit pattern for separation.
Why are you not just instructed to fly a left hand pattern then? And why "join downwind" when they want to separate you from the rest of the traffic and have two active patterns and two separate downwinds?
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Old 24th Dec 2020, 11:58
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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PaulH1 has given a good, clear and simple explanation of why both a left and right hand patterns may be in use. When ATC is present this is very common including other variations such as a join on the base leg or on long final. ATCs job is to maintain a safe separation of aircraft in the circuit.

Helicopters are rarely required to fly the same circuit as fixed wing. Helicopters will preferably fly an opposite circuit tighter and much lower, say 500ft AAL when the fixed wing are at 1000ft. When noise abatement demands a pattern one side of the runway but not the other the helicopter training circuit will be safely flown inside the fixed wing circuit. The joining helicopters will rarely be required to join a fixed wing circuit pattern but rather join below the fixed wing circuit height at 90 degrees and land at the active runway midpoint or cross the active midpoint at a few hundred feet and then hover taxi to parking. Helicopter downwash is extremely dangerous to fixed wing and where the helicopters are required to land on the active threshold then ATC must ensure separation from the rotor downwash. Even the downwash from a small helicopter such as a Robinson R22 can flip a fixed wing.

Last edited by Fl1ingfrog; 24th Dec 2020 at 12:10.
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Old 30th Dec 2020, 09:09
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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The guy in the tower was wrong...made a mistake...simple as
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Old 30th Dec 2020, 20:08
  #73 (permalink)  
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i was asked to join ‘left downwind’ in a right hand circuit the other day.
The guy in the tower was wrong...made a mistake
What was the mistake made by the tower controller?
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Old 30th Dec 2020, 22:11
  #74 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
If I were told to join left downwind, I would join the left downwind. Just saying...
I would too
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