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Ground station insisting on traffic pattern upon landing

On the Website of EDHE their “Benutzungsordnung” is published (/www.edhe.de/download/Benutzungsordnung_Stand_2_2011.pdf). Paragraph 2.2, sentence (2) reads “Die Luftfahrzeugführer sind an die Weisungen der Beauftragten für Luftaufsicht oder der Flugleiter gebunden.” which quickly translated means “pilots have to follow the directions given by the person in charge.”

.. which I did.

at non-controlled fields, one HAS to fly the circuit, at least from the beginning of downwind.

Jan, I’ve never come across such a rule. Does it have a legal basis somewhere?

In some cases, a forced entry to the pattern via downwind would make for some pretty zig-zag approaches, no? I can hardly see the point if there is little traffic and no areas to be avoided specifically on e.g. long final. You’re wasting time and fuel and making noise for a longer period of time.

What annoys me is not the extra 5 minutes of flying time wasted (while darkness was moving in – though we could have fitted in a touch&go or two)

Oh, and I don’t know about you, but I found that in general passengers don’t appreciate touch & goes. If you don’t need them for currency, you’re just showing off while making your passengers uncomfortable. And if you do need them for currency, you should not be flying with passengers in the first place.

Backpacker, I don’t fly touch & goes with passengers. What I was trying to say is that there was enough time for a go-around (or even two), say, in case of a baulked landing, before being illegally flying at night. Still, I don’t like to fly extra turns and (at that point perceived as unnecessary) diversions if time is a factor (as it surely is when returning near sunset).

The website has several references to the noise abatement instructions, including "Der Überflug über die umliegenden Ortschaften unter 2000 ft ist zu vermeiden. Die Anwohner danken für rücksichtsvolle Piloten, und die Flugplatz-Crew für weniger Stress mit den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern. " Looking at the map on Google Earth, it seems there is a place underneath long final 09, only 1km from the airfield: the town of Heist.

I can more or less see that as the reason for the strict procedure. Although, according to the approach chart, you’re not overflying Heist on a long final. You’re barely touching the southern end of the town.

By giving the pilot a gentle, and then a not-so-gentle reminder that he’s doing something wrong, plus the solution on how to do things the right way, he can avoid all that.

Maybe so. As often in life, it’s also a matter of the tone, I guess. Assuming that flying the circuit is not binding (see discussion above with Jan), couldn’t he have said something like: “Roger, please avoid overflying Heist due noise abatement”. I would have curved the final a bit to the south to make extra sure to avoid the town and I would certainly not have posted my rant here.

Essen-Mülheim (EDLE), Düsseldorf (EDDL), Paderborn (EDLP), Mönchengladbach (EDLN), Germany

I’ve never come across such a rule. Does it have a legal basis somewhere?

I must admit I am not sure, analysing legal texts is not my strong point. Still, everyone of my several instructors insisted upon this. I understand it is ICAO ruling, and as such taken into all national rules of the air more or less tacitly. I must also say that very many fields have a common and accepted practice of joining downwind only in its middle, especially after coming overhead – which seems to be another ICAO standard, including doing so “500’ above circuit height/altitude”.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Jan,

I understand it is ICAO ruling, and as such taken into all national rules of the air more or less tacitly.

I don’t think there is any ICAO rule to this effect. SERA says:

SERA.3225 Operation on and in the vicinity of an aerodrome
An aircraft operated on or in the vicinity of an aerodrome shall:
(a) observe other aerodrome traffic for the purpose of avoiding collision;
(b) conform with or avoid the pattern of traffic formed by other aircraft in operation;
(c) except for balloons, make all turns to the left, when approaching for a landing and after taking off, unless otherwise indicated, or instructed by ATC;
(d) except for balloons, land and take off into the wind unless safety, the runway configuration, or air traffic considerations determine that a different direction is preferable.

Which means that you must conform with the traffic pattern ie you can’t go the opposite way. If there are no other aircraft in the pattern, a straight-in does nothing to breach this.

Last Edited by JasonC at 16 Sep 15:40
EGTK Oxford

I must admit I am not sure, analysing legal texts is not my strong point. Still, everyone of my several instructors insisted upon this. I understand it is ICAO ruling, and as such taken into all national rules of the air more or less tacitly. I must also say that very many fields have a common and accepted practice of joining downwind only in its middle, especially after coming overhead – which seems to be another ICAO standard, including doing so “500’ above circuit height/altitude”.

None of this is in the ICAO Rules of the Air, nor are there any other ICAO standards about visual procedures. There are many good reasons for an overhead join (and it is mandated in some countries), but it is not in the Rules of the Air.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

There are many good reasons for an overhead join (and it is mandated in some countries)

Such as?

EGTK Oxford

I know this is stupid but this is how many Germans would have done it in bad visibility. Fly straight to the beginning of the baseleg using your GPS. If you can not get visual with the airfield don’t care. It is like IFR, concentrate on the approach and if you do it properly you end up in front of the runway…

My thoughts:

1) The traffic pattern in Germany is mandatory. AFIS does not give you instructions but it is the other way round. You have to fly the pattern and they can grant you exceptions from that rule.
2) As far as I know the pattern is not mandatory because of a general rule but it rather goes this way: if you want to land at this place you are allowed to do so while you fly this special approach/pattern.
3) AFIS operators are humans and Germans. Try to take them by surprise with your friendliness on the radio. Many bad mooded people are totally overwhelmed by this and forget their usual bad mood;-)
4) Besides very few exceptions AFIS operators have no radar (Egelsbach EDFE being the big exception). But on many medium size airports radio communication is recorded.
5) So even more important than to fly a perfect traffic pattern is to make the right radio calls (ending up on tape). Usually call them 5 minutes in advance and on base leg. If you did not fly the downwind how should they notice? If your base is “not perfect” the same.
6) Plan your arrival in advance. Do not aim for the airfield on your GPS but take into account the traffic pattern already many miles away and aim for the entry point.

Last Edited by Sebastian_G at 16 Sep 20:58
www.ing-golze.de
EDAZ

Rhino,

You are quite right. Don’t let yourself be fooled. There is no general rule that would require you to fly the downwind in Germany. Still, many Flugleiters think so and act accordingly. It’s a piece of German GA folklore.

That said, dealing with Flugleiters in Germany often requires some Fingerspitzengefühl, and that often comes from, well, experience.

One tip I can give you is to announce your plan right after the initial contact with the Flugleiter. If you had told him right after the first radio exchange that you intended to proceed straight in, you would have immediately been “in the know” (judging by the Flugleiter’s reaction) about what type of guy you’re dealing with and you could have adjusted your approach right from the start.

Another tip I can give you is not only to say “will proceed straight in…”, but to say “will proceed straight in, avoiding all residential areas”. That usually helps to make the Flugleiter understand that he’s talking with a considerate pilot.

Try to have a bit of understanding for the Flugleiter here….many pilots are not as prepared or as considerate as you. Many don’t even have a proper visual approach chart on board. And these will fly over that village (possibly with the blue knob full forward – as per their bloody checklist ;-)) during their straight in approach.

That said, this particular Flugleiter was an idiot. :-). You’re doing fine.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Both times (a grand total of two ) that I’ve landed aircraft in Germany have been base entries.

I’m so very happy VFR approach charts aren’t part of my flying life in the US. Stuff like that would be more than I could stomach.

I’m so very happy VFR approach charts aren’t part of my flying life in the US. Stuff like that would be more than I could stomach.

They are very much part of the flying life in the US, certainly in the greater L.A. area. All of them for noise abatement reasons. No big deal, really, and luckily we don’t have ‘Flugleiter’ here. It’s either ATC or nothing.

Took some time to find, and I am not sure when and where it is applicable. Check para 3.2.

“Basically, the circuit is joined in downwind and left in crosswind” (my translation)

NfL II 37

Last Edited by at 17 Sep 01:13
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium
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