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G'day, I thought I would share something that happened to me on my second solo. 3 hours flight time ago.

 

I was doing standard circuits and another aircraft was doing crosswind circuits. I realised early on that things were a bit problematic when I would make a circuit call then almost straight away the other aircraft would also make the same call, my call was usually if not always the first one.

 

My reading has been that the crosswind aircraft would normally give way so when it came to turn final the other aircraft called it before me. Now I am thinking, "I am turning final, what do I do!". The correct answer is obvious, one of us should have done an orbit for spacing BUT, while I now remember I had read that in the book, I had never done it or heard anyone do it up until then so I didn't even think of it. Basically I just made a "going around" call. Of course the next circuit we had the same problem. This time my instructor radioed from the ground asking the other guy to do an orbit (and I slap my forehead and go AH!). After that it was all good.

 

So, not perfect, but safety wasn't a problem EXCEPT. Turning final I got very slow and was quite low. I was no more than 8 knots above stall on a 20 degree bank. Needless to say it taught me a valuable couple of lessons!

 

People and books always try to drum in "first: Aviate!" By george it can be hard to do that when distracted can't it!

 

Steven

 

 

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Orbits are useful - but don't forget to power up straight away, because you don't want to lose height in the turn, and with flap extended, you need it.

 

Another way is to slow your aircraft when on downwind, allowing the other aircraft to get a 'leg' ahead of you. Ideally, you try to get 2 legs away from the other - then both can continue with normal speeds and spacings.

 

If you are flying a lower performance aircraft then you'll soon spread from the other guy, assuming you both fly similar distance circuits.

 

Good to hear your instructor was watching with a handheld at the ready. Supervised solo is meant to be just that.

 

happy days,

 

 

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Speed change.

 

The speed range of most ultralights as not big enough to make a large change to your spacing and going slow and being concerned about another (one or more) aircraft is not a good idea if you are a fairly low hours pilot. Get your instructor to do some small circuits with you. By reducing the size of the circuit you can stay "in phase" with other traffic, if you are slower. The ONLY real way to delay your landing time when you are in the circuit pattern is to extend downwind.

 

Orbits, while they are used even in quite large aircraft occasionally, are not necessarily a thing that I would recommend without qualification. You're probably better to just "go around", and not cramp yourself. This is the sort of thing that you should discuss fully with your instructor so that you are quite clear as to what your course of action will be (Generally). Nev..

 

 

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I personally wouldn't do orbits in the circuit area and definatly not on final. A few different reason,

 

1, Your low and slow already you will need lots of power to do an orbit and if you stuff it up just a little you'll end up even lower and slower.

 

2, You are half way through your orbit and the noise stops. Your again low and slow facing away from the field where do you go next?

 

3 What about that other bloke behind you who is following you and doesn't have a radio? He looks away for a second and then going back to following you but where did you go? You where turning final a second ago but where the hell are you now???? I wouldn't be expecting someone to orbit on final. When I'm in the circuit I try to fly as predictably as possible to make it easier for everyone else around me.

 

Adam.

 

 

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Orbits certainly aren't best practice at any field, especially if you're on final. If it helps, revert back to the rules that we fly by - the aircraft on final has right of way and you are to give way to the aircraft on your right.

 

 

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When I got down I asked the instructor about various scenarios such as when there may be someone behind me.

 

Part of the reason I did the go-around was because I was was established on final of course, I do wish I had thought of the orbit earlier in the pattern though!

 

On a subsequent occasion we did an orbit on downwind (no one behind us) and that seemed ok. If there was someone behind us then I guess I could extend downwind by doing a climb to clear the hill or turn mid-downwind over the runway and in either case rejoin the circuit from the dead side (doing an orbit on the dead side if needed).

 

Part of the key here I think is that the earlier we react to an issue the better options we have, we knew we had a separation issue on crosswind! By leaving it so late I had fewer options than if I bit the bullet and didn't wait to see if the other guy did and did something earlier in the circuit.

 

 

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THx1137 you are right in your last post if you had of reacted earlier it wouldn't have been a problem but thats all part of learning. It sounds like you did exactly the right thing in the end by going around so all in all a good out come. Aldinga is a funny strip in being surrounded by hills (try going in there at night time!) so you face a few other challangers that most others don't!

 

Adam.

 

 

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hehe, one of my instructors once said, "you might like to start your base turn now, those hills are getting really large!". the next circuit I said to him, "I might start turning now because you seem to have an aversion to big hills!". He seemed to think that was a good idea :-)

 

I think one of the issues a student faces (well, maybe just me :-)) is that it is hard to take the lead, you know your new and think (hope!) the other guy will somehow know and make your life easier. Being told, "your in command" and "one of a pilots prime tasks is to make decisions (and not sit in his hands and wait)" is all well and good but at least for me, it was a useful experience not only for procedural reasons but because it illustrated a frame of mind where I made no decision until I had to so was basically hoping for the best.

 

This bug is catching, I only flew yesterday and I really want to leave work now for a fly!

 

Steven.

 

 

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Yep, id be heeding some of the advice given so far.. Orbits are't a good idea, and on final... forget about it.. you are low and slow like others have said, but also your horizen is severly distorted, trying to do a level turn when the horizen is no where near where your used to it being could have disastarous concequences. You think about it, you try to hold the nose level on the horizen which is now the top of a hill and becasue your 500 ft or lower the top of the hill is actually above you, so you inadvertantly raise the nose and roll on the bank.. in seconds flat you've blead the energy completly and a stall spin incident insues..

 

Command time during training is meant to give you exactly that.. command time, time for you to make descisions, listen and watch for traffic and "captain" the acft.. By the sounds of it you did the right thing, but like others said, fly your acft first and formost..

 

cheers

 

 

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Please explain to a silly old fart, what you mean by an orbit.

 

If it is what I think you mean, you are dicing with death to do them in the circuit area.

 

Just think, you may have an ultralight at less than 1000' close in, normal traffic at 1000' anywhere from close to miles away and then high speed stuff at 1500'. Where can you safely do an orbit?

 

 

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An orbit is pretty much self descriptive, a 360 deg turn back onto the original heading.. I know they teach it at some schools as a means of seperation. I stopped short of saying that they are a bad idea all together, i dont want to be taken as running this guys instructor down or instilling any misstrust in his teaching's, after all, there may be special local considerations that we don't know about, benefit of the doubt and all that, but.... i would be very hesitant to teach this sort of move in the cct.. it just seems straight out dangerous to be turning against traffic, be they known or unknown...but at low level amongst the hills is dangerous for a whole different bunch of reasons ( in my opinion).. the perceived horizen problem could kill a low timer in seconds... add to this the things adam and others have said and ya can see why its not the best idea in the world..

 

 

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There has been discussion that shows that doing them on final has some serious issues and note, no-one has suggested that that is an appropriate place to do them. As I mentioned, I did a go-around. As far as I am aware we only consider the on downwind and as I mentioned, I heard a guy doing one on the dead side.

 

To me it is just another tool in the kit that may be suitable if traffic, environmental and visibility (sportstars have _great_ visibility!) permit. Based on some of the feedback here that seems to be some against them in (maybe almost) all circumstances it will be interesting on Saturday to get a couple of the instructors together and have a chat about the rights and wrongs of them in our particular situation.

 

It is good to get these opinions as it can help us newbies think about these things more in depth.

 

 

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if things are getting hectic at Hoxton, and thats quite often, then its best to depart the circuit on downwind, turn to the training area, and climb to overfly height, then rejoin the circuit as normal on crosswind again.

 

its not uncommon on a nice good weather weekend to have at least 4 or 5 aircraft in the circuit ranging from our Jabirus, a few Skippers, cassna 210's, Extra 300's turbine singles, and the occasional twins! it more often than not to have 2 aircraft on final. if your a little close, or the aircraft in front of us misses the closest exit, then we just do an early go-around.

 

but doing an orbit in the circuit at Hoxton, is a definite NO NO! and you will get reported.

 

 

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Guest Graham Lea

In my opinion, doing an orbit in ANY circuit is a NO NO ANY time!! Imagine doing it at Bankstown!!

 

Not just extremely dangerous, but very poor airmanship. And it puts you into a side on/head on situation wth the other traffic.

 

I remember the days when Ultrat light people (including me) were told that if they were too high on final, to just do a few snake turns to lenghthen the final run !!

 

I told a guy who flew into Bankstown and he near had a stroke!

 

Why wouldnt the aircraft behind just extend the down wind leg a little (or slow down) to give better clearance?

 

Or, as Ultralights suggest, leave the area and rejoin.

 

 

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Hmmm. So something that doesn't make sense for a large busy airport cannot make sense for to a small CTAF in the specific circumstances I mentioned? Also, I recon we are already in trouble if someone is not radio equiped and is flying so close and not paying attention. Don't construe this as me justifying that I think it is OK. Some doubts have been raised so I will discuss it with the-other-side. I certainly won't accuse them of poor airmanship though as some of these guys have been flying since I was in nappys and the seem pretty good to me as someone who has delt with them.

 

Inventing scenarios were something doesn't make sense is easy and if we do that then what the heck are we doing in the air!

 

 

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Yes, talk to your instructor about this. Im sure he'd have a good explination as to why you may consider useing this move. See the problem i have with this is the habit forming side of training. Sure, you may be the only acft for 100 miles, and realisticly you shouldn't have much drama doing it, but what we learn intraining stays with us, thats the whole idea isn't it?..Thats why we teach things like BUMFISH for downwind checks, brakes undercarriage, mixture and so on.. even though your in an acft that doesnt have retractable gear and mixture control..we are preparing you and making sure that when the day comes that you do fly these planes the training has "built in' the procedures already..so what we learn we do..

 

myself and others have expressed our views on the dangers involved and its up to you to take it or leave it.. See, we can never be 100% sure we have all the traffic accounted for, thats why we have cct procedures in place so that a pilot can have a good idea about where and when and what the other guy is going to do.. If your on downwind and you know theres someone else around, the last thing you'd expect to see is him turning a circle infront of you and flying against cct direction and straight at you.. which would be on the cards with an orbit.. Different types of acft use differnt size ccts and have vastly differnt speeds..

 

As your experiance grows you will discover that the proverbial "poo happens".. the statement you made in your last post regarding acft not having a radio is a bit telling.. You will see acft arrive with no radio calls at all, with broken garbled calls, with poorly spoken english, but more importantly and quite common is things like, wrong frequency selection, radio unservisable and so on. So these scenarios you think we are "inventing" are more common then you'd think.. The radio is only one aid to help us get an awareness of whats happening. The 2 20mm radars attached to the front of your face are the most sophisticated peice of avoidance equipment in your cockpit.. learn to use them first and formost..

 

let us know what your instructor says, very interested to hear his views...

 

cheers

 

 

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No worries, One of the issues with being taught anything is that an instructor must be careful to define where non-ordinary behaviour is being taught and exactly where it is and isn't appropriate. The statement that the if procedure was done at YHOX under any circumstances is something I didn't know of course and if I was told the procedure then it would have been useful to be given definate guidlines on when and when it isn't appropriate.

 

I know that aircraft are allowed to fly without radios around are field and is natural to assume that someone might have the wrong channel or just be plain broken. I have experienced a few occasions already where there have been no calls. The point I was trying to make, rightly or wrongly was that if there is someone in the circuit behind me that I don't know about I wouldn't expect them to be that close. Now this is where these discussions get useful. :-) In my current flying aircraft that are following me in the circuit have litterally been behind me. If the aircraft is out wide and is unaware of my intentions because of no/broken radio (or whatever) then that would certainly cause some concern. (hmm. just saw you said something simailar :-)

 

Thanks for everyones input. The issues with doing an orbit the circuit for spacing are certainly non-trivial so I had already decided that I won't be doing them. Not for the sake of another 6 minutes in my pattern. Though the chat on Saturday will still be interesting!

 

Sorry, the invention thing wasn't ment to mean I don't think it can/does happen or that it makes no sense. I was relating to a specific set of circumstances at my field at that time but I felt that we were getting a bit of a walloping for somehow condoning actions in circumstances that we wern't actually in... It is easy to get defensive :-)

 

 

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"if there is someone in the circuit behind me that I don't know about I wouldn't expect them to be that close."

 

I think that you are describing the start of an accident here. It is when the un expected happens that the accident raises it's ugly head.

 

Being a cranky old bastard I always try to expect the un expected, but that is impossible!

 

 

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Ohh, I dunno. If you are expecting-the-unexpected and something unexpected happens then you did expect it, not the thing that occurred but the 'unexpected' :-). (I am a computer programmer so I get pretty pedantic about detail :-)) It doesn't ultimately improve your situation thought!

 

I was talking about circuit conflicts with one of my workmates who has come back to work today. He is a GA pilot with almost 20 years experience. I described the circuit conflict issue and he said "well, as you were alone in your circuit you could do an orbit on downwind". I then described some of the responses from the guys in this forum and he can see the issue too of course but what it is illustrating to me is that it probably is not an uncommon response given he is the first and only pilot outside this group I have had a chance to talk to.

 

Common doesn't mean 'good' of course. :-)

 

Thinking some more about it. I will write in to a couple of the Australian magazines and see if a safety article about orbits and maybe any other 'unusual' pattern maneuvers might be a good subject.

 

Steven.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

:sad:I dont think doing anything other than a normal circuit in the circuit area is a good idea.I agree with extending downwind leg after broadcasting intentions though.

 

They say most mid-air collisions happen near airfields.

 

Correct me if Im wrong but isn't the strip most into wind has right of way?

 

 

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Steven et al

 

I can tell you that a search of CASA flight safety magazines 1996 to current reveals 34 articles that mention “orbit”

 

There is no particular article about the procedures or advice on such.

 

All mentions of the word tend to revolve (no pun intended) around decisions taken by VFR pilots on seeing potential conflicting traffic.

 

Most such reports seem to be at reporting points on lanes of entry or on circuit joining.

 

Interestingly there are a number of incidents that seem to have been contributed to by a well intended orbit executed to avoid one potential conflict but resulting in a different one!!

 

 

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Guest landmann

Just get behind him and do cross wind practice. If you are uncomfortable with the wind, fly the runway at a comfortable height and speed as best you can. After all, the reason you are up there solo is that you are good enough to be up there solo.

 

I too had never heard the term "orbit"010_chuffed.gif.c2575b31dcd1e7cce10574d86ccb2d9d.gif

 

Martin

 

 

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