slow piston (Cessna Skyhawk, Piper Warrior)
This is the entry-level rating for the VFR pilot. This flight will consist of starting up at any towered field within ZLA, calling for taxi to the active, and requesting pattern work. For a list of towered airports, refer to the Class B, C and D airports listed in the ZLA Airports and Charts link in the reference material at the bottom of the page.Unless otherwise published, use a traffic pattern altitude of 1000FT AGL for single piston aircraft and 1500ft for twin, turboprop, or jet aircraft.
A minimum of three traffic patterns will be flown. Feel free to do full stop landings, low approaches, stop and go's, or touch and go's if cleared by ATC for the 'option.' ATC will be looking for prompt responses during communications, compliance with basic instructions, and adherence to standard traffic pattern altitudes and ground track.
The John Wayne (KSNA) airport is the home of many of the subsequent ratings, so it's a good place to start, but if ATC is online elsewhere, feel free to use another airport. The traffic pattern altitudes for KSNA are as follows:
RY 02L/20R TPA 1,000 FT AGL SMALL ACFT; 1,500 FT AGL TURBINE ACFT OVER
RY 02R/20L TPA 800 FT AGL SMALL SGL ENG ACFT; 1000 FT AGL
TWIN ENG ACFT
The airport diagram for KSNA is included in the Required Material section below, but can be ignored if you elect to do the rating elsewhere.
NOTE: KSNA runway 19L and runway 19R were renumbered to 20L/R late in 2014. Some of the reference material still contains references to 19L/R at KSNA. Use caution.
Some basics to remember:
do not connect to the network if you are positioned on a taxiway or runway. Ensure you are at the ramp, or another non-movement area
an instruction to taxi to a runway does not constitute permission to cross or enter that runway
depending on your type of aircraft and traffic levels, you may be assigned right traffic for rwy 20R, or left traffic for rwy 20L. Ensure you are confident with the direction of the traffic pattern prior to taking off. If you are unsure, ask the controller. He should include that information in the takeoff clearance. Check the ATC transcript below for an example.
- new students have a tendency to fly a considerable distance from the field during the traffic pattern. Keep it tight! Remember, turn crosswind a few hundred feet below pattern altitude. Turn downwind once you reach pattern altitude. That makes for a SHORT crosswind leg. Controllers have reported pilots ending up on 2-4 mile finals, which is too far away for a typical GA aircraft.
Check out the reference material below and good luck!