Image Source: FlightRadar24 Facebook

Image Source: FlightRadar24 Facebook

If you have ever glanced at the airspace surrounding a large airport on Flightradar24, you will very likely have spotted aircraft circling close in patterns that mimic racetracks. If you have never done so, you will almost certainly not have noticed these patterns. A holding pattern is the term for this situation.

Pilots who are waiting for additional approval to continue to the next stage of their trip or to land at an airport may perform a maneuver known as a holding pattern. In essence, they serve the purpose of organizing and managing the movement of aircraft in a safe manner while they are waiting to land. During a holding pattern, an aircraft will typically fly an oval or ‘racetrack’ shaped route at a certain altitude in order to wait for clearance from air traffic control to continue. Although this is most usually linked with the regions close to large airports, a hold may also be flown around the waypoints that are scattered throughout a route. A ‘holding fix’ refers to the point that the aircraft maintains its position around. If you take a look at the approach chart for London Gatwick Airport (LGW), you will see that there is a VOR/DME holding fix labeled Mayfield ‘MAY’ in the bottom right corner.

What is the purpose of airplanes flying in holding patterns?

There are many different reasons why airplanes fly in holding patterns. Holding helps to maintain a safe spacing between the aircraft in question and any other planes that may be nearby. It gives pilots the opportunity to solve any onboard problems or crises and enables air traffic controllers to appropriately organize the flow of aircraft entering and exiting an airport. When confronted with a critical circumstance, aircraft will squawk 7700. By creating a general emergency alert on Flightradar24, you will have a much simpler time locating these types of aircraft. When holding a hold, pilots and controllers alike need to keep in mind a number essential criteria, including…

Speed: maintaining airplanes at a speed that minimizes the amount of fuel that is burned while still allowing for an orderly flow of traffic

When there is a lot of traffic in a hold, the planes are frequently stacked at varying heights. In general, turboprop aircraft are able to hold at lower altitudes than jet aircraft, and as a result, turboprop aircraft are needed by law to have an additional 45 minutes of fuel for holding (whereas jet aircraft only need 30 minutes of fuel because they can hold at higher altitudes).

Time: Pilots and controllers collaborate to ensure that the time passengers spend in the hold is adequately managed, that any delays are appropriately communicated to passengers, and that the hold is kept in a safe environment.

How to locate airplanes that are currently parked on Flightradar24?
Holding patterns are utilized by the majority of airports throughout the globe in order to securely regulate the flow of traffic. The following are three helpful hints that may be used on Flightradar24 to locate airplanes flying in holding patterns.

Check out airports with a large passenger volume, such London Heathrow (LHR) and Frankfurt (FRA), both of which are examples of high density airports.
Take a look at our index of airport disruptions; the more severe the disruption, the greater the likelihood that flights will be delayed or canceled.
You may add Navaids to your map on Flightradar24; these Navaids contain the beacons that are utilized as holding fixes. Visit this page to learn how to do it.