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6/17/21 

AIM 

FIG 5

3

Holding Pattern Entry Procedures 

3.  Entry Procedures. 

Holding protected 

airspace is designed based in part on pilot compliance 
with the three recommended holding pattern entry 
procedures discussed below. Deviations from these 
recommendations, coupled with excessive airspeed 
crossing the holding fix, may in some cases result in 
the aircraft exceeding holding protected airspace. 
(See FIG 5

3

4.) 

(a)  Parallel Procedure. 

When approaching 

the holding fix from anywhere in sector (a), the 
parallel entry procedure would be to turn to a heading 
to parallel the holding course outbound on the 
nonholding side for one minute, turn in the direction 
of the holding pattern through more than 180 degrees, 
and return to the holding fix or intercept the holding 
course inbound. 

(b) Teardrop Procedure. 

When approach-

ing the holding fix from anywhere in sector (b), the 
teardrop entry procedure would be to fly to the fix, 
turn outbound to a heading for a 30 degree teardrop 
entry within the pattern (on the holding side) for a 
period of one minute, then turn in the direction of the 
holding pattern to intercept the inbound holding 
course. 

(c)  Direct Entry Procedure. 

When ap-

proaching the holding fix from anywhere in 
sector (c), the direct entry procedure would be to fly 

directly to the fix and turn to follow the holding 
pattern. 

(d) 

While other entry procedures may enable 

the aircraft to enter the holding pattern and remain 
within protected airspace, the parallel, teardrop and 
direct entries are the procedures for entry and holding 
recommended by the FAA, and were derived as part 
of the development of the size and shape of the 
obstacle protection areas for holding. 

(e)  Nonstandard Holding Pattern.

 Fix end 

and outbound end turns are made to the left. Entry 
procedures to a nonstandard pattern are oriented in 
relation to the 70 degree line on the holding side just 
as in the standard pattern. 

4.  Timing. 

(a)  Inbound Leg. 

(1) 

At or below 14,000 feet MSL: 1 minute. 

(2) 

Above 14,000 feet MSL: 1

1

/

2

 minutes. 

NOTE

 

The initial outbound leg should be flown for 1 minute or 

1

/

2

 minutes (appropriate to altitude). Timing for 

subsequent outbound legs should be adjusted, as 
necessary, to achieve proper inbound leg time. Pilots may 
use any navigational means available; i.e., DME, RNAV, 
etc., to ensure the appropriate inbound leg times. 

(b)  Outbound leg

 timing begins 

over/abeam 

the fix, whichever occurs later. If the abeam position 

En Route Procedures 

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3

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