fixed wing join procedures

AIPNZ AD 1-5 -3 (please see article on pages 16-22 outlining join procedures)

standard overhead join - IMAGE

Standard Overhead Joins at Ardmore were discussed at a recent Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) meeting: Joining via the overhead is a safe and efficient method of joining the traffic circuit, particularly when it’s busy or if you are unfamiliar with Ardmore. Does not include helicopters.

It is important that the correct procedure is followed.

Identify the runway in use from the AWIB before entering the overhead, all turns should be in the circuit direction of the runway in use. The advantage of joining overhead is that it provides an excellent view of the runway and windsocks and gives you time to assess where aircraft in the circuit are located. In addition to reporting overhead, the Ardmore CFI group recommends adding the phrase “descending on the non-traffic side” to your radio call. This is due to the helicopter TLOF training circuit which operates on the non-traffic side and not above 800ft AMSL.
The standard overhead joining altitude at Ardmore is not below 1600 ft AMSL. The exception is if you are joining directly onto the non-traffic side, from the north, via Brookby or from the Gulf via the northern side of Clevedon. It is acceptable to join not below 1100ft. If you are in doubt join to orbit overhead at 1600ft prior to descending onto the non-traffic side.
Give yourself plenty of room when descending on the non-traffic side; it is not necessary to cross overhead both ends of the runway; in fact this is not recommended as to do so requires a steep descending turn, which limits the pilot’s lookout.
Check your DI when on the non-traffic side, the runway heading should appear on the nose.
Checking the DI direction at this point validates that you are in fact joining in the correct direction. Anticipate the level-off to ensure you do not descend below 1100ft.
Position your aircraft so as to join the crosswind leg behind other aircraft already in the crosswind and/or early downwind.
If this is not possible you should remain in the overhead and orbit back onto the non-traffic side (remember all turns should be made in the direction of the circuit).
Aim to cross overhead the upwind threshold at 1100ft; this is important as it ensures you do not conflict with aircraft taking off on the runway.
It is also where other pilots expect you to be joining into the downwind. Crossing the runway at the mid-point to get ahead of other aircraft in the downwind is discouraged.
As you cross overhead the upwind threshold it is preferable to make a radio call “turning downwind from the overhead”, this alerts other pilots that you are about to enter the downwind.

Reference AIPNZ AD 1.5 – 3.  Vector Magazine article pages 16-22