IFR Diary, Day 2: Saturday, August 29
HoldsWe didn't fly today. In the afternoon we worked on approach technique and holding patterns on my PC simulator. We'd found approaches that had holding patterns very early in the missed approach procedure. We set up a wind simulation where the outbound leg was 20 seconds long and required a 30 degree crab against the published heading. Good point, I said, but not very likely. Charles smiled. I noticed that Charles was directing me to what appeared to be a parallel entry where a teardrop entry was indicated, possibly even a direct entry. He then said, "There are two kinds of holds: ATC procedural holds and crisis holds." He defines an ATC procedural hold as one in which you're given at least three minutes of warning to prepare to hold. A crisis hold is one that's dropped on you suddenly by ATC, or one that occurs very early in a missed approach procedure. In these cases, get into the hold in the simplest, safest, most reliable way you can. This technique Charles calls his "crisis" entry: 1. Fly to the fix. 2. Turn to the outbound heading and fly for one minute. 3. Execute a 270-degree turn toward the protected side (the side of the race track). 4. Intercept the inbound course and track it back to the fix. He observes that many applicants bust the check ride because they become confused trying to puzzle out the "correct" technique for a hold that comes up very quickly in a missed approach procedure. He claims he has never had a student busted for using the crisis hold technique because a good examiner appreciates common sense. Should I get a leisurely hold instruction (three or four minutes warning) on my check ride, Charles advises me to head toward the fix and on the way figure out the FAA-recommended entry. If required to hold for any other reason, and the recommended pattern entry is not obvious, use the "crisis entry." "Remember," he smiled, "the hold you do on your check ride may be the last one you do for years. If and when the day arrives for you to hold, you're not going to be real fresh on the FAA entry techniques. Your first priority is staying within the protected airspace."