Need canonical opinion on "depart left downwind:...

Questions and comments about the PE Pilot Training Program

Need canonical opinion on "depart left downwind:...

Postby luckyb52 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:48 am


I have researched "depart left downwind" extensively over the web and only encountered a multitude of differing opinions.

Where does the truth really lie regarding where to leave the downwind heading and when to start climbing?

Your view on this would be much appreciated!


Lucky :)

Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:18 pm

Re: Need canonical opinion on "depart left downwind:...

Postby Scott Medeiros » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:21 pm

I'm assuming you were approved for a "left downwind departure" by ATC. Most likely this was given because the downwind leg is closest aligned to your direction of flight. When departing the pattern there is no need to stop climbing, so climb away.

The AIM covers traffic pattern departures, but as you probably noticed there is no mention of a downwind departure. The AIM is non-regulatory, but is considered best practices. The pattern entry/exits in the AIM are applicable to towered patterns as well, but in the interest of best, safest practices, only the entry/exits discussed in the AIM should be used at uncontrolled airports. A downwind departure is not recommended because it could conflict with traffic entering the pattern with a 45* to the downwind or traffic entering the pattern from a midfield entry. Page 7-5 in the Airplane Flying Handbook illustrates what I'm trying to explain.
Scott Medeiros
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:49 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Return to Pilot Training Program

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests