Traffic Pattern Altitudes

At the October 26-27, 2016 meeting of the Aeronautical Charting Forum, FAA updated its plans to publish traffic pattern altitudes in the Chart Supplement (formerly the Airport/Facility Directory).

The latest recommendation is described here (PDF). Briefly, it proposes adding the following text to AIM 4-3-3 Traffic Patterns:

Unless a specific traffic pattern altitude is published in the Chart Supplement entry for the airport, it is recommended that propeller-driven aircraft enter the traffic pattern at 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL), and that large and turbine-powered airplanes enter the traffic pattern at an altitude of not less than 1,500 feet AGL or 500 feet above the established pattern altitude. A helicopter operating in the traffic pattern may fly a pattern similar to the airplane pattern at a lower altitude (500 AGL) and closer to the airport. This pattern may be on the opposite side of the runway with turns in the opposite direction if local policy permits.
 As part of the review of the issue, ACF members agreed that only TPAs that deviate from the recommended altitudes described above should be published in the Chart Supplement.

A/FD to Include all Traffic Pattern Altitudes

FAA has decided to publish “all traffic pattern altitudes, standard and non-standard” in the Airport/Facility Directory. At present, FAA is adding information about TPA to the National Airspace System Resources (NASR) database. Once the data are in the system, TPA will appear in the A/FD as it is revised.

The decision to include all TPA in the A/FD comes from a topic of discussion at the the Aeronautical Charting Forum. FAA has starting publishing contact information for airport managers in the A/FD.

The latest update came at the ACF meeting on April 29, 2014 outside Washington, DC. .

For more information about the NASR, see AC 150/5200-35 and the website for the National Flight Data Center (NFDC).