Online Ground School (Private Pilot)

Lesson 14.6:  Wind Indicators & Traffic Patterns

Airport Wind Indicators

     Reference: ACS PA.III.A.K1 - K9, PA.III.B.K1 - K4 PHAK Chapter 14

Wind indications are provided by both wind indicators and ATC or FSS at towered airports.  But, at non-towered airports where there is no source of verbal communication of the current winds, wind indicators are used.  Indicators are found near the runway and located in a segmented circle, which shows the traffic pattern directions. There are a few types of indicators used.

  • Wind cone

  • Windsocks

  • Tetrahedron

  • Wind tee



    The windsock should be used as the primary source of wind information.

Traffic Patterns

​At non-towered airports segmented circles are located in an area near the runways that pilots can easily see it from the air.  Segmented circles are to provide basic traffic pattern information. 

  • At most airports and military air fields the traffic pattern altitude (TPA) for piston aircraft is 600 feet up to 1,500 feet AGL. 

  • Traffic pattern altitude for military turbojet aircraft is 2,500 feet AGL

  • To find the exact traffic pattern direction and traffic pattern altitude (TPA) for any airport can be found in the Chart Supplement U.S. 


    Traffic pattern altitude (TPA) for piston aircraft is recommended 1,000          feet AGL above airport elevation. Unless otherwise established.

Segmented Circle


  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon


  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn

Copyright © 2021 Red Horse Aviation, All Rights Reserved