TPA quiz

July 29, 2008 by Machteld A. Smith, Senior Editor

Someone asked me: “How do you know the pattern altitude at a given airport?” Hey that’s easy, it’s probably in AOPA’s Airport Directory.

But, the question sparked my interest and I went on to see how the government defines pattern heights at airports.

I checked the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), which suggests that traffic pattern altitudes (TPAs) at most airports for propeller-driven aicraft generally extend from 600 feet to 1,500 feet agl. The AIM goes on to say 1,000 agl is recommended unless established otherwise.

But then I looked at the FAA Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD), which specifies patterns generally at 1,000 and sometimes at 800 agl. Interestingly many airport listings (both towered and non-towered airports) in the little green books don’t even include a TPA.

What gives? Shouldn’t the FAA publish that stuff for each airport?


One Response to “TPA quiz”

  1. Mike White Says:

    TPAs are published in the AFDs.

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