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Just as roads and streets are needed in order to facilitate automobile traffic, airports are needed to facilitate aircraft traffic. Every flight begins and ends at an airport. An airport, as defined by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) section 1.1, is an area of land or water that is used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft. For this reason, it is essential pilots learn the traffic rules, procedures, and patterns that may be in use at various airports.
- Airport Operations and Standard Airport Traffic Patterns (Part One)
- Airport Operations and Standard Airport Traffic Patterns (Part Two)
When an automobile is driven on congested city streets, it can be brought to a stop to give way to conflicting traffic; however, an aircraft can only be slowed down. Consequently, specific traffic patterns and traffic control procedures have been established at designated airports. Traffic patterns provide specific routes for takeoffs, departures, arrivals, and landings. The exact nature of each airport traffic pattern is dependent on the runway in use, wind conditions, obstructions, and other factors.