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  • to takeoff and follow published procedures that conform to the aerodrome traffic circuit;
  • avoid conflict with other aircraft; and
  • to carry out an approach and landing using the most suitable runway.









Right of way rules (ROW)                                 

  • aircraft landing have ROW over aircraft taking off.                                                                 
  • aircraft in the circuit has ROW over aircraft joining                                               
  • follow at a safe distance, do not overtake or cut in front of other aircraft                          

All turns in the circuit direction  

Controlled Aerodrome                        

  • perform a left-hand aerodrome traffic circuit unless otherwise authorised or instructed by ATC

Uncontrolled Aerodrome 

  • perform a left-hand aerodrome traffic circuit unless the details published in the AIPNZ for the aerodrome specify a right-hand aerodrome traffic circuit
  • Right hand circuit indicated by a black arrow


Circuit Height 

Controlled Aerodromes

  • the circuit height to be used when ATC is on watch is inserted on the aerodrome chart.

Uncontrolled Aerodromes

  • 1000 feet AGL unless otherwise prescribed.





Situational Awareness

  • of your position
  • of other aircraft in circuit
  • of joining aircraft

Landing Cues

Runway perspective

Mnemonics, Checklists


The Standard Aerodrome Circuit


The Legs of the Circuit

  • Upwind
  • Crosswind
  • Downwind
  • Base
  • Final


Wind Effect on the Circuit Legs 


  • headwind
  • reduced groundspeed


  • attempt to blow aircraft off track
  • nose into wind


  • tailwind
  • increased groundspeed


  • attempt to blow aircraft off track
  • nose into wind


  • headwind
  • reduced groundspeed

Left hand unless promulgated 

Circuit pattern - rectangular shape

Runways aligned degrees magnetic 


Depart at best rate of climb

Turn crosswind at 500' agl

Ref pts/tracking relative to the runway 

Pre-landing checks

Radio calls and proper position

AIP - only D/W call required unless 

Cues to turn base leg

Power settings depend on distance from threshold 

Terms - threshold, upwind, 


1. Line up

  • lookout before entering runway
  • select Ref point at end of runway


2. Takeoff

  • keep straight with rudder
  • keep 'wings' level with stick
  • nose wheel balance 1 foot off the ground
  • smoothly through to full power
  • fly level until climb speed (60kts)


3. After Takeoff

  • raise nose to maintain climb speed (60kts)
  • trim


4. 500ft AGL Point

  • select Ref point 90° off the nose
  • turn onto crosswind leg
  • check aircraft is tracking 90° to the runway


5. Turning Downwind

  • select Ref point 90° off the nose
  • turn onto downwind leg
  • check aircraft is tracking parallel to the runway
  • radio call 


6. Turning Base leg

  • when threshold is 130° off the nose
  • select Ref point 90° off the nose
  • turn onto base leg
  • check aircraft is tracking 90° to the runway


7. Turning Final

  • anticipate extended runway centre line
  • turn onto final approach 
  • check aircraft is tracking on final approach path.


8. Final Approach

  • check approach profile
  • maintain descent speed (60kts)
  • power to make the threshold


9. Landing

  • set power (3000 RPM)
  • round out (2 x aircraft height)
  • hold off 1 foot off the ground