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I find that using which ever entry seems easiest works well. The entries depicted in the AIM are Recommended entries only and are not required by FAR's . No matter what the FAA saids. If they tell you that ask them to show you where it is located in the FAR's. It is not there. There are some restrictions though. You can not exceed holding speed, your direction of turn must be as depicted or cleared, you must stay within protected airspace (don't worry, even a 2000 AGL you will have a hard time exceeding it in a helicopter, you must be on the proper course and altitude and you can no perform aerobatic manuvers within the hold.

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Practice, preferably not at $450/hr.

 

You know about dividing up your HSI into Direct/Parallel/Teardrop, right? This page is pretty helpful.

 

I started with this cheesy VOR simulator. It ain't great, and you need to invest some time in learning how to use it. First, write out a few hold instructions. Set up the instruments on the simulator so that you either have an HSI or VOR/DG. Select track and hide. Start easy by setting yourself up heading inbound to the station, perform the hold, then go back and see how you did by looking at the track. You can make it harder by randomizing where you start and/or adding wind.

 

If you have a decent computer and MS Flight sim, set up the Cessna IFR so that it's flying near your home airport. Practice flying a few published and then unpublished holds. Start with direct entries so you can see how they can be visualized. Getting MS Flight sim set up to be useful takes a little time, but the nice thing is that it's pretty close to doing it for real, except that you can stop and look at your track anytime you get confused. I didn't bother learning to fly plane or to even use the joystick...you can control altitude with the autopilot, heading with the bug, and speed with the throttle.

 

I wouldn't recommend going out with your instructor to some DME and trying to do 6 random holds with 25 knot winds while making course corrections for traffic and/or clouds. Start off flying some published holds, then try some of the more random ones.

--c

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to add on to what rick 1128 said, if you are a few degrees off of an entry it really doesn't matter. Use what works best. I usually look at the holding pattern on the chart, figure out where I am coming in from and decide which pattern will work best based on how much I will have to turn to make either entry and go from there. I have yet in 20 years had to do that funny finger trick to figure out which way I should turn.

 

Holding entry is really, really easy. Again, figure out where you are in relation to the pattern, visualize yourself flying to the entry point from where you are and you will automatically drop one entry out of your decision process because the turn to get into that entry will be outrageous, then depending on where you are at, one will become an obvious choice, or you will have to make a decision between two because they are close. Guess what, no matter which choice you make, you are right.

 

You can practice this on a piece of paper. Draw out a few holding patterns and random put your pencil around the pattern. Go from your pencil to the entry point and figure out how you would enter. After a few tries it will be easy.

 

Good luck.

Edited by dolphindriver
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I do whatever requires the least amount of turn. You have your choice of joining the inbound leg, the outbound leg, or a teardrop outbound leg, and I use whichever requires the least turn. I think the key is being able to visualize the pattern, your current location, and your heading. Like most other flying, it requires situational awareness, and that requires experience and practice.

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I do whatever requires the least amount of turn. You have your choice of joining the inbound leg, the outbound leg, or a teardrop outbound leg, and I use whichever requires the least turn. I think the key is being able to visualize the pattern, your current location, and your heading. Like most other flying, it requires situational awareness, and that requires experience and practice.

 

So you mean that out in the real world, you actually really DO holding patterns in a Helicopter? I have always been told that it is slim to none chance of ever actually doing one as a heli pilot.

Can you give a for instance of a time it has to have been used?

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I'll give you an example where I have had to use it. I was flying to an uncontrolled airport IFR and I happened to arrive the same time someone had filed to take off IFR. Since the field was uncontrolled, I had to wait until void time or the pilot taking off called departure and provided his location then I was cleared for the approach. I have also had to hold to get put into the landing line up at a busy airport. I have held in a helicopter real world multiple times. Its not that big of a deal if you keep it simple.

Edited by dolphindriver
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So you mean that out in the real world, you actually really DO holding patterns in a Helicopter? I have always been told that it is slim to none chance of ever actually doing one as a heli pilot.

Can you give a for instance of a time it has to have been used?

 

 

You will probably do more holding in Helicopters than in some fix wings especially if you are trying to get into a busy airport. Last year I flew approximately 45 hours of actual instrument time in the clouds. I did 6 holds to include 2 holds that lasted more than 30 minutes while approach was trying to fit me in between the big boys at the ILS. That got boring after the millionth turn. Holds are no big deal as long as you visualize your position relative to the fix and the holding pattern. i.e. Just think of the direction you are heading towards the fix and think of what the holding pattern is. Then just think of what type of entry would work best for you. There is no "proper" entry to make based on your degree between xy line. Just whatever entry can get you established safely on the inbound leg will work.

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I'll give you an example where I have had to use it. I was flying to an uncontrolled airport IFR and I happened to arrive the same time someone had filed to take off IFR. Since the field was uncontrolled, I had to wait until void time or the pilot taking off called departure and provided his location then I was cleared for the approach. I have also had to hold to get put into the landing line up at a busy airport. I have held in a helicopter real world multiple times. Its not that big of a deal if you keep it simple.

 

Hmmm, I thought that since we mostly would be vectored in and such that actual published hold paterns would not be something we'd really ever do, or is it not published ones but DME holds we/you do?

As far as doing them, they are not that hard to visualize really, the way I was taught I don't think I could explain with text, though it takes all of 30 seconds to show while in the heli.

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In the GOM, you're in a non-radar environment most of the time, so yes, you can get holds. You also get holds on two checkrides per year, if you're a PIC, and often as an SIC, if you're current in multiple aircraft. You have to be able to do hold entries whether you ever get one on the line or not.

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My instructor cleared it up with a really easy method. Just visualize the HSI in two 25% sections and one 50% section. Then each section is either parallel, teardrop, or direct. I practiced a lot on Microsoft flight sim and I think my instructor was impressed on our first flight to the real VOR. Now the hard part for me is going to be talking in a class C. All our private stuff is done to class D airports where they never make you squawk and is usually just student pilots doing touch and gos.

Edited by slick1537
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If you look at a depiction of a holding pattern, you should be able to divide it up into the hold entry segments and label each segment correctly for the recommended entry procedure. If the hold is published, look at the chart where it is published. With your finger or pencil/pen, point to a general location on the chart that corresponds with your present position relative to the holding fix. Mentally or physically draw a line from your present position to the holding fix. Then determine the recommended entry based on your knowledge of hold entries like I described in the first sentence.

 

If the hold is not published, draw, on a blank piece of paper, a holding fix. Then draw the holding pattern as the controller described it in your hold clearance, keeping North at the top of your paper. Now determine your approximate position relative to the hold fix, draw the line to the fix, and determine the entry you will use.

 

After some experience doing this, you should be able to visualize it. I have never been one for using my thumb or whatever to divide the HSI or HI. I find that way too confusing. The way I described here may sound confusing, but I've never had to write my method down. I guess I still didn't "have" to, but I did anyway. Good Luck!

 

Jeff

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