Traffic Pattern revisited

Several months ago, I published a training article on using the correct terms of a traffic pattern. Since then, we have several new members, and it is time to revisit the issue again.

During any flight, it would be best not to take your eyes away from your model plane – for obvious reasons. This is particularly true when you are in trouble, or you are flying a fast and/or aerobatic plane.

The problem is, how do you know where the other planes are? You can either ask, or the others may share this information with you by announcing their position regularly.

However, it doesn’t help you when someone answers “I’m over there.” For this reason, there are certain terms used in aviation, everywhere in the world.

Since we are flying close to the airfield, we can use the positions in the traffic pattern as a guide.


There are only five words to remember, and it would be wise to use them. In this example, the wind is coming from the right and an aeroplane is taking off along the UPWIND leg. The next steps are self-explanatory.

If there are more than two planes in the sky, it would be very helpful if you could use a phrase such as: “I’m turning FINAL,” “I’m CROSSWIND,” or if you come from further away “I’m joining BASE (or DOWNWIND).’

Even if you can’t remember the words immediately, any good position report is better than not talking at all: “I’m above you,” “I’m right behind you,” etc.

The same goes for entering the runway to retrieve your model. TELL everyone who is in the air what you are doing.



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Paul McIntyre 

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