Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

By puestadesol
Forgive me if I haven't looked hard enough, but I can't find in my books or in the Skyway Code any authority on how to depart an aerodrome that doesn't have any explicit departure procedures.

At what height can you start to make your turn onto your desired heading? Do you have to follow the departure leg for a certain distance before turning?

Thanks in advance.
By johnm
Most airfields will have some level of standard procedures even if only promulgated locally. If there is really nothing at all then the basic principle is to maintain runway heading until safe height reached and the aircraft trimmed and configured for climb to cruise altitude and then turn to intercept desired heading and track.

In our aircraft that usually means 1000ft with gear up, flaps up, climb power set and auxiliary fuel pump off.
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By GrahamB
I think the answer is 'whatever makes most sense, given the runway you are departing from and the direction you want to go, taking into account circuit direction, other traffic, noise sensitive areas, terrain, weather, proximity of controlled airspace/other airfields/danger areas etc.'

If in doubt, follow the circuit height and direction until you are on the leg pointing more or less in the right direction, and leave the zone/vicinity by extending that leg and take up your desired heading from there.
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By Paul_Sengupta
As Graham says, it's generally a question of other traffic and noise abatement. I've actually been told on the radio, "You can start your turn on track if you like." :thumright:

I've also had the position where someone's been overflying at circuit height and I've had to stay down at 500ft AGL or so while turning out on track in order to maintain separation.

If the direction I'm travelling in is roughly the opposite direction to the take off direction, I'll generally fly around the circuit but then keep climbing on/from the downwind.

No idea if I'm doing things right or wrong but I haven't been told any different in 24 years! ;-)
By cotterpot
At what height can you start to make your turn onto your desired heading?

I was going to say that I usually wait until the wheels are off the ground but I see others have come to my rescue :wink:
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By Danny
I used to overthink this dreadfully but when I started get out and about a bit more I soon realised my priority is to get away from the airfields local traffic as soon as safely possible. My personal SOP is to depart from the circuit leg that most closely matches the direction I want to go in. I usually level off at circuit height whilst in the recognised circuit and maintain that heading to the edge of the ATZ. I usually start my climb once out of the visual circuit (in case you thought I may be dragging it to the edge of the ATZ at 800ft) I then take up my desired heading once clear of the ATZ. Some folk, as per Paul’s post continue to climb as they track around the circuit rather than level off and that seems fine too.

Just don’t depart from base if there are opposite direction circuits in force on the same runway!

Just remember people will be doing all sorts of things, expect the unexpected and eyes out.
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By Cessna571
As long as you make some RT calls whilst you’re doing it, most things fit.

I was taught the RT call “climbing in the circuit pattern”, but this is something I never really do now.

I prefer to either join the circuit and climb as I leave and use an RT call as I leave.

I.E. G-XX late downwind leaving the circuit to the east.

If I’m carrying on on runway heading then where I’d normally turn crosswind I’d say

G-XX leaving the circuit to the west, 1000’ climbing to overhead Royston. (or some such)

RT adds to awareness for everyone, a FISO once accidentally put me into the middle of a 3 aircraft display (in the mighty PA28-140) that lead to an evasive manoeuvre and some “get the hell out of here“ flying,

RT kept it reasonably relaxed by letting them know exactly where I was and exactly how I was leaving.

Same as usual really.