INSTRUMENT FLIGHT RULES WORKBOOK
702. HOLDING PROCEDURES
In this section, procedures will be discussed for two eventualities that may occur while an
aircraft is enroute to a destination. First, a holding clearance may be issued; secondly, you may
lose radio communications. An aviator must be able to understand and respond correctly to
either situation. Holding clearances may be issued by ATC to ensure IFR traffic separation
criteria or sequence approaches due to a backup of arriving aircraft at a particular airport.
During this discussion, the student should use the plastic RMI device (no. 2B25) frequently to
"visualize" the correct manner to comply with a holding clearance. Holding is the maneuvering
of an aircraft within a specified airspace with respect to a particular fix. An aircraft will hold at a
navigational fix. This fix can be a VOR, NDB, an intersection, or a TACAN radial/DME fix.
There are two instances when an aircraft must hold. The first is when instructed by the
controller. The second is upon reaching a clearance limit. A clearance limit cannot be exceeded
without further clearance. Therefore, holding is mandatory until further clearance is obtained.
An example of the second situation might be: You are approaching your clearance limit with
two-way communication. The controller is handling an emergency and is unable to give you
further clearance before you arrive at the clearance limit.
A holding clearance will always contain an expected further clearance time (EFC). EFC times
apply to aircraft regardless of the phase of flight. In the terminal environment, holding may also
be utilized to descend an aircraft to an appropriate altitude from which an approach may be
commenced. This is referred to as a shuttle descent.
The standard no-wind holding pattern is flown by following a specified holding course inbound
to the holding fix, making a standard rate (3-degrees per second) 180-degree turn to the right,
flying a heading outbound to parallel the holding course, and making another 180-degree
standard rate turn to the right to intercept and follow the holding course to the fix. The holding
pattern is nonstandard when the turns are made to the left unless otherwise instructed by ATC,
pilots are expected to hold in a standard pattern (Figure 7-1).