There was no shortage of thoughtful response and opinion to last week’s blog on how to enter the traffic pattern at non-towered airports when approaching from the opposite side of downwind. My informal analysis of the more than 120 responses showed you were split just about down the middle between the “Crossovers” and the “Crosswinders” with a very slight edge to Crosswinders.
This is almost identical to the response we got years ago when ASF first published the safety advisor on Operations at Non-towered Airports. We consulted both with FAA Flight Standards and with Transport Canada. We looked at accident statistics on midair collisions and found by far, the most dangerous place is on final approach, not the downwind leg.
Both sides were passionate that their way provided the best separation, spacing and view of other traffic.
There were several recurrent themes of the string :
- Communication is the most important element, as well as LOOKING
- Some treated the AIM as gospel, others saw it as guidance and NOT regulatory.
- Pilot judgment is crucial.
Getting to the bottom line, obviously, the idea is not to swap paint. Clearly, based on your response, one size does not fit all, despite personal preferences. A thought – think like ATC – look for ways to avoid conflict, be courteous, orderly and flexible.
Next week, we’ll try to get beyond the traffic pattern. Thanks to all for participating.