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Course reversal in lieu of Standard hold

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Well-known member
Dec 3, 2001
This subject may have been broached before but I was wondering if a course reversal ( similar to a procedure turn ) in lieu of a standard parallel or teardrop maneuver as long as you remain in the protected area is a legitimate procedure..What would a Fed, DE or company check pilot say if one was performed during a Checkride
I had heard that they are taught in military flight training . Thanks for all answers . regards Vavso
Last edited:
Well, the standard hold entries are just suggested entries. The only time you are required to enter the hold as per the AIM is during your CFII checkride. As long as you stay on the protected side, you are legal.

As for what to do on a checkride... I would most certainty follow the standard entries. The examiner will be expecting them, and even though what you do may be legal, will save an explanation once completed.
From the AIM, 5-3-7-J-3(d):

While other entry procedures may enable the aircraft to enter the holding pattern and remain within protected airspace, the parallel, teardrop and direct entries are the procedures for entry and holding recommended by the FAA.
Your choice of turn is dependent on how the approach chart depicts it.

If the chart uses a bold line with a barbed arrow to either the left or right side then you can choose any procedure turn you want to the side that the arrow points.

However if the course is depicted in a race track or any other standard track then you must fly that track as best you can. If it is a bold race track, any standard holding pattern entry will do.

If there is a race track holding pattern depicted that is not in the bold line form than you can do any form of entry to the side the race track is depicted. My personal favorite is to do an 80/270 course reversal, it takes very little time and you don't have to keep resetting the timer.
Holding entries

I second Chperplt 100%. The AIM may only suggest procedures, but they are very strong suggestions. If an examiner is not outright expecting you to execute AIM procedures, he/she will certainly be surprised if you don't. Even if the examiner has another way of doing something, he/she cannot bust you for executing a procedure per the AIM or any other FAA publication.

Just do it by the book on your ride. You can't go wrong. After the examiner types up and signs your temporary, you can discuss alternatives with him/her or just do it your (legal) way.

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