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Traffic Pattern at Night

Source: www.pilotworkshop.com/tips/traffic-pattern-night, Featuring Bob Nardiello

Subscriber question:

"I generally fly higher at night for safety. Approaching an airport at night – at what point should I descend to join the traffic pattern?" - Warren C.

Bob:

"Arriving traffic should be at the proper pattern altitude before entering the pattern. Entries into the pattern while descending create specific collision hazards and should always be avoided.

joing pattern at night

Entries into traffic patterns can expose you to some of the densest traffic situations you will experience in your flying. Other traffic in the pattern can be observed more easily when the other traffic is at the same altitude, rather than below you.

When approaching an airport without a tower for landing, the pattern should be entered at a 45 degree angle to the downwind, headed toward a point abeam the midpoint of the runway to be used for landing.

At non-towered airports (or when the tower is closed), be sure to make proper position reports on the CTAF to alert other aircraft to your presence and be sure to listen for other aircraft as well."