Holding with the G1000

by HPA · November 28, 2011

Expect Further Clearance, Part I

By Hank Gibson, CFI, CFII, MEI

”November Four Seven Two Mike Charlie, hold as published on the VOR, maintain five thousand, expect further clearance in thirty minutes.” Those dreaded words no IFR pilot wants to hear. In yeoman’s terms, a hold clearance screams “DELAY!” This is when the pilot turns to his passengers and says, “Well folks, you might want to get comfortable. Just hope none of you have to go to the bathroom.”

Whether it’s for weather, traffic, currency, or a myriad of other things, every IFR pilot has to hold at some point. In training, it seems like almost every flight the trainee has to hold, much of the time partial panel. But, when a pilot gets his instrument ticket, he just has to hold once every six months to maintain currency. Plus, this can be just a procedure turn. To top it all off, no where in the regulations does it say it has to be a pretty hold.

In comes the G1000 to save the day! Sort of, at least. In a sense, the G1000 makes holding simpler, but in another sense, a little more complex. More details to come.

Flying Published vs. Unpublished Holds

First, some definitions to get out of the way just to make sure everyone is on the same page. A published hold is any hold the is actually depicted on an approach plate or low en-route chart.

Low Enroute1 (A published hold over the Stonewall VOR)

An unpublished hold is any hold is a hold over a fix that is not depicted on any chart. Simple enough, huh?

With a published hold on an airway or over an NDB, the G1000 does not display the hold as part of the airway in the flight plan. So, though it may be published on the chart, it isn’t in the actual G1000 database. Having the hold published, though, does make pilot’s job easier in picturing the hold, but there is still the trick in getting the G1000 to do what is desired, especially when using the autopilot.

With an unpublished hold, the first thing that should be done is grab the chart. Once you find the fix that ATC wants you to hold over, DRAW THE HOLD. I can’t emphasize this enough. In training instrument students, when they get lazy and don’t draw an unpublished hold, they either mess up the radial or bearing to hold on, or mess up the entry. Unpublished holds are much more successful when they are drawn out.

Once the hold is drawn out, then it is time to figure out the entry. The entry flown depends upon which direction the pilot is approaching the fix from. Instead of being overly wordy in explaining degrees from the fix and such, here is a handy picture below that does a wonderful job explaining hold entries.

Holding Pattern

If the entry is a left hand pattern, just flip everything.

G1000 Holds

Regardless of whether the hold is published or unpublished, the G1000 can handle holds. The key is, setting it up properly. When the fix is determined, make sure it is the active leg in the flight plan (if the fix is past a few others, wait till you are cleared direct to it, or till it becomes the active leg in the flight plan). If the hold is to be performed on a different radial or bearing then the one you are flying to the fix on, wait till the fix is actually crossed, then do the following.

Below the HSI, there is a soft key that says either SUSP or OBS. This is the suspend or omni-bearing selector key. When the fix is crossed, press this key. Then, take the course knob (the same one used to select radials with VORs), and twist it until the proper bearing for the hold is showing on the HSI (and just to double check, make sure the CDI is in GPS mode). Then just perform the entry and use the CDI as the inbound leg. On the MFD, the proper bearing will always be magenta. The side of the fix opposite the hold will be white.

Now, holds associated with approaches, whether it is a hold at an initial approach fix or a missed approach, are always depicted. The entire racetrack pattern is shown on the MFD. The G1000 will always ask if you want to hold at the IAF. If yes is selected, then, upon crossing the fix, the G1000 will automatically go into suspend mode. Be careful, because after performing the entry, the G1000 automatically goes out of suspend mode so if you want to make more turns in holding, you’ll have to push SUSP again.

Next week, I’ll present a few holding scenarios and what to do, plus talk some about using the KAP 140 autopilot in a hold. Until then, go out there, grab an instructor and practice some holds.

How it Started

One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.

Training Begins

It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.

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The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.

First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).


At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.

Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.

Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.

In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.

More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/


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