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6/17/21 

AIM 

l. 

Radar surveillance of holding pattern airspace 

areas. 

1. 

Whenever aircraft are holding, ATC will 

usually provide radar surveillance of the holding 
airspace on the controller’s radar display. 

2. 

The controller will attempt to detect any 

holding aircraft that stray outside the holding airspace 
and will assist any detected aircraft to return to the 
assigned airspace. 

NOTE

 

Many factors could prevent ATC from providing this 
additional service, such as workload, number of targets, 
precipitation, ground clutter, and radar system capability. 
These circumstances may make it unfeasible to maintain 
radar identification of aircraft to detect aircraft straying 
from the holding pattern. The provision of this service 
depends entirely upon whether controllers believe they are 
in a position to provide it and does not relieve a pilot of their 
responsibility to adhere to an accepted ATC clearance. 

3. 

ATC is responsible for traffic and obstruction 

separation when they have assigned holding that is 

not associated with a published (charted) holding 
pattern. Altitudes assigned will be at or above the 
minimum vectoring or minimum IFR altitude. 

4. 

If an aircraft is established in a published 

holding pattern at an assigned altitude above the 
published minimum holding altitude and subsequent-
ly cleared for the approach, the pilot may descend to 
the published minimum holding altitude. The holding 
pattern would only be a segment of the IAP 

if

 it is 

published on the instrument procedure chart and is 
used in lieu of a procedure turn. 

m. 

For those holding patterns where there are no 

published minimum holding altitudes, the pilot, upon 
receiving an approach clearance, must maintain the 
last assigned altitude until leaving the holding pattern 
and established on the inbound course. Thereafter, the 
published minimum altitude of the route segment 
being flown will apply. It is expected that the pilot 
will be assigned a holding altitude that will permit a 
normal descent on the inbound course. 

En Route Procedures 

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