Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), page 331

Index   330 -- Page 331 -- 332

appropriate chart. When the pattern is charted, the
controller may omit all holding instructions except
the charted holding direction and the statement AS
Controllers must always issue complete holding
instructions when pilots request them.

c. If no holding pattern is charted and holding
instructions have not been issued, the pilot should ask
ATC for holding instructions prior to reaching the fix.
This procedure will eliminate the possibility of an
aircraft entering a holding pattern other than that
desired by ATC. If unable to obtain holding

instructions prior to reaching the fix (due to

frequency congestion, stuck microphone, etc.), then
enter a standard pattern on the course on which the

aircraft approached the fix and request further
clearance as soon as possible. In this event, the
altitude/flight level of the aircraft at the clearance
limit will be protected so that separation will be
provided as required.
d. When an aircraft is 3 minutes or less from a
clearance limit and a clearance beyond the fix has not
been received, the pilot is expected to start a speed
reduction so that the aircraft will cross the fix,
initially, at or below the maximum holding airspeed.

e. When no delay is expected, the controller
should issue a clearance beyond the fix as soon as
possible and, whenever possible, at least 5 minutes
before the aircraft reaches the clearance limit.
f. Pilots should report to ATC the time and
altitude/flight level at which the aircraft reaches the
clearance limit and report leaving the clearance limit.
In the event of two-way communications failure, pilots are

required to comply with 14 CFR Section 91.185.

g. When holding at a VOR station, pilots should
begin the turn to the outbound leg at the time of the
first complete reversal of the to/from indicator.

h. Patterns at the most generally used holding
fixes are depicted (charted) on U.S. Government or
commercially produced (meeting FAA requirements)
Low or High Altitude Enroute, Area and STAR
Charts. Pilots are expected to hold in the pattern
depicted unless specifically advised otherwise by

Holding patterns that protect for a maximum holding
airspeed other than the standard may be depicted by an
icon, unless otherwise depicted. The icon is a standard
holding pattern symbol (racetrack) with the airspeed
restriction shown in the center. In other cases, the airspeed

restriction will be depicted next to the standard holding
pattern symbol.

AIM, Paragraph 5-3-8 j2, Holding

i. An ATC clearance requiring an aircraft to hold
at a fix where the pattern is not charted will include
the following information: (See FIG 5-3-2.)
1. Direction of holding from the fix in terms of
the eight cardinal compass points (i.e., N, NE, E, SE,

2. Holding fix (the fix may be omitted if
included at the beginning of the transmission as the
clearance limit).

3. Radial, course, bearing, airway or route on
which the aircraft is to hold.
4. Leg length in miles if DME or RNAV is to be
used (leg length will be specified in minutes on pilot
request or if the controller considers it necessary).

5. Direction of turn if left turns are to be made,
the pilot requests, or the controller considers it

6. Time to expect further clearance and any
pertinent additional delay information.

En Route Procedures 5-3-9

Page 331 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM.pdf)
AIM: Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC Procedures

Index   330 -- Page 331 -- 332