Traffic Pattern Component Descriptions
The following are descriptions of each traffic pattern component:
Upwind leg The upwind leg is a flight path parallel to the landing runway in the
direction of landing.
Crosswind leg The crosswind leg is a flight path at right angles to the landing runway
off its upwind end.
Downwind leg The downwind leg is a flight path parallel to the components landing
runway in the direction opposite to landing. The downwind leg descriptions normally
extend between the crosswind leg and the base leg.
Base leg The base leg is a flight path at right angles to the landing runway off its
approach end. The base leg normally extends from the downwind leg to the intersection
of the extended runway centerline.
Final approach The final approach is a flight path in the direction of landing along the
extended runway centerline. The final approach normally extends from the base leg to
the runway. An aircraft making a straight-in approach VFR is also considered to be on
Sometimes due to a traffic situation, an emergency, or other aircraft operational
requirements, a pilot must perform a downwind entry.
A downwind entry is a pattern entry where the pilot enters the standard traffic pattern at
a forty-five degree angle to the downwind leg. A downwind entry is depicted in Figure 9-
Figure 9-2 -- Downwind entry.