Behind the direct entry, the teardrop is probably the easiest holding entry to learn. Even though it is one of the easiest holding entries, there is still a lot to know about teardrop entries.
The basic teardrop entry has three phases:
- Track to the holding fix in the teardrop entry region
- Cross the holding fix and fly outbound at a 30 degree angle
- Make a standard rate turn to intercept the holding course inbound
Tracking to the holding fix in the teardrop entry region certainly doesn’t sound like a hard part of the entry, but it is essential. Before you can fly a teardrop entry, you need to know that you are in the teardrop entry region.
It is also very important to fly directly to the holding fix. Although you might be able to enter the hold if you don’t cross over the holding fix, it will certainly make the entry much harder.
When you do cross the holding fix, you will turn to a 30 degree angle from the outbound leg heading. If the hold is a right turn hold, you will subtract 30 degrees from the outbound heading. For example an outbound heading of 180 will result in an initial entry heading of 150 for a teardrop entry.
If the hold is a left turn hold, add 30 degrees to the outbound heading. Again if the outbound heading is 180, the initial entry heading would be 210.
These headings are based on a no-wind situation. You must always correct for wind when flying a holding entry. I would suggest no more than 10-15 degrees of wind correction unless you are certain the winds are strong enough to call for more correction.
Next, we are going to fly this initial heading for about 1 minute. Again, this may need to be adjusted depending on wind. If you have a strong headwind or tailwind, change the time as appropriate.
Once you have reached your outbound time, start a standard-rate turn to intercept the holding course. Don’t be afraid if you don’t roll out right on course. Wind is very difficult to initially correct for in a holding pattern, and it is okay to take a few turns in holding to figure out your wind effects.
If you are holding at a GPS waypoint or another fix with a distance for your outbound leg instead of a time, you have 2 options to make the teardrop entry.
- Follow your GPS guidance (if it gives you an initial heading)
- Fly a 30 degree initial heading for 2 miles, then parallel the outbound heading
These two methods are the easiest to make sure that you do not fly too far outside of the distance track.
Next, read about parallel and direct entries.
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