How Do You Fly A Traffic Pattern With Fast And Slow Aircraft?
You’re entering the traffic pattern at a non-towered airport, and there’s an aircraft in front of you. It’s a J-3 Cub, and its pattern speed is 20 knots slower than yours. How are you going to manage your pattern to keep your spacing?
When non-towered airports get busy, it can be hard to keep everyone flowing smoothly in the pattern. And if you’re at an airport could have a J-3 Cub, a Cessna 172, a Cirrus SR-22, and a King Air, there’s quite a bit of coordination that needs to happen to keep everyone separated and sequenced.
The typical rule-of-thumb for flying traffic patterns is that you should let the aircraft you’re following pass behind your wing before you turn base. By doing that, you usually have enough room to let the aircraft in front of you land and exit the runway before you’re on short final.