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   Module 5: The Traffic Pattern and Landings
For this module, read Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3B) Chapter 8.


ForeFlight: It is highly recommended for student pilots to use for many phases of the pre-flight, planning, flying, and en-route portion of a flight.  ForeFlight is an Apple device application that can be used on iPhone and iPad.   It is $99.99 per year for the basic subscription.  



ForeFlight Tutorial: ForeFlight provides a fantastic tutorial that covers the basics in the following video. It is important to understand the app's functions as we move along.



The Traffic Pattern: Once a full understanding of ForeFlight is reached, we now begin a discussion about the Traffic Pattern.  Be sure that you understand how to use ForeFlight to find the airport's traffic pattern altitude, runway information, runway directions, and weather (specifically wind) information prevalent to the flight.  


Important information about AZO in ForeFlight: Using your iPad or Phone, follow along in ForeFlight through the following info to choose the correct runway to fly the pattern on



  • Select the 'Airports' icon on the bottom of the screen.

  • Enter KAZO in the search bar to pull up the Kalamazoo Airport Screen

  • This page features all information we need for planning purposes for the Kalamazoo airport.


  • You can scroll down and find the pattern altitude at the airport on the main "Info" page

  • On the first image, you will see at the top of the screen that you can select "Taxiways".  This will allow you to see a picture of the airport and its runway layout.

  • Runways are named according to their directions.  For example, runway 35 runs to the magnetic direction of '350'. 

  • Students should memorize this layout, the runways, and taxiways as we move forward.  

  • Select the 'Weather Tab' to evaluate the winds.

  • Remember, you want to choose the runway that is most directly pointed into the direction that which the wind is coming from



The Traffic Pattern In The Diamond DA40: The following video shows us completing a lap of "Pattern Work". Pattern Work is where we do touch-and-go landings over and over to practice the landing and pattern.  


The best way to position yourself for a successful landing is by controlling your airspeed as you descend. The following video discusses how to pitch for your intended airspeed on the approach.



The Go-Around: 

  • The most important part of landing an aircraft is the Go-Around.

  • The Go-Around is an "aborted landing". It could happen hundreds of feet over the runway, or even after touchdown. The pilot may decide a safe landing cannot be accomplished and go-around, or the atc tower might tell you to go-around.  

  • The Go-Around will become dangerous if the following factors are allowed to take place:

    • Lack of immediate full power​

    • Lack of control during the go-around

    • LACK OF PROPER PITCH AND AIRSPEED resulting in inability for airspeed to pick up and/or a stall *** (this is the most common mistake pilots make in the go-around).

    • Lack of proper flap control

  • Here are the steps that the student must be able to recite from memory before beginning this lesson in the airplane:​

    • Go-Around: Full Power, Straight and Level, Right Rudder, Airspeed, Flaps, Begin Climbing Out

      • Full Power​

      • Straight and level: this means the nose is not allowed to raise. It must be kept perfectly straight and level.  The airplane may even touch the ground, but it must not begin climbing.​​

      • Right Rudder - rudder should be applied to counter left turning tendency of the aircraft.

      • Confirm safe airspeed: check that the airspeed is in a safe range that will permit the pilot to raise one notch of flaps without losing altitude. 

      • One notch of flaps up: Once the airspeed is safe (2-5 seconds after power is applied) raise 10 degrees of flap (Up for 3 seconds)

      • Slight Climb (Around 70 knots)

      • Full Flaps Up

      • Continue Climbing Out

      • ***All of the previous steps will be completed while watching airspeed for safe operation.


At a towered airport, the ATC will tell you everything that you as the pilot will need to do, including when to takeoff, the pattern direction, where to enter then pattern, and the runway to land, etc.  At an untoward airport, you as the pilot will be responsible for communicating with other pilots and deciding how to operate in the pattern. 


Three Rivers Airport (KHAI) is an example of an unpowered airport. 

  • Shown is the AWOS (Automated Weather Observation System).  AWOS is similar to ATIS in that it gives the pilot the weather at the airport and helps to determine the best runway to use.  

  • The CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency) is also available. This is the frequency that will be used for radio calls during the arrival and departure of the airport.  

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