Holding Stack at Stanfield

In Aviation, Flights, Journal, Flying by Steve Sliwa

Nancy and I discovered an unusal self-moderated holding stack over Stanfield VOR for doing practice approaches into Casa Grande (KCGZ).  After participating a few times we finally got the knack for radio comms and procedures.  The procedure turn for the VOR, GPS, and ILS approaches is 3800′. So the following guidance is provided.

The stack itself is over TFD (Stanfield). Aircraft flying inbound usually say how far away they are in miles and minutes due to the variety of aircraft flying approaches in the stack. The stack is separated into 500 foot increments starting at 3800 (which is the start of the VOR and ILS approach). The first open stack slot above the approach is 4500. Most holding pattern work over the VOR is done at altitudes of 6000+ because of how fast the stack can sometimes fill up.

The person at the bottom is first in “line”. If you’re in a hurry to shoot an approach this is the wrong place to be. That being said the stack is pretty efficient and most can get approaches in and done pretty quick. Coming in from 4000 or another altitude and cutting in line is a good way to get yourself killed or at the very least yelled at by other pilots.

Main key here being communication. People are respectful and cooperative 90% of the time.

Calls are broadcast over the KCGZ CTAF frequency 122.7 and are made inbound, outbound, and passing the VOR to go on the approach. Additionally calls are made when leaving an altitude so as the people above know you are descending and which altitudes are open.

Some general examples are…

1.”Stanfield traffic Cessna 12345 is 10 to the north of the VOR requesting top of stack Stanfield traffic”

2.”Stanfield traffic cessna 56789 is top of stack at 4500. 5,000 is open Stanfield traffic”

1.”Stanfield traffic cessna 12345 will take 5,000 in 6 minutes Stanfield traffic”

1.”Stanfield traffic cessna 56789 is inbound on the ILS 5 approach into KCGZ 3800 is now open Stanfield traffic”

2.”Stanfield traffic cessna 12345 is taking 3800. 4500 is now open Stanfield traffic”

1.”Stanfield traffic cessna 12345 procedure turn outbound 3800 Stanfield traffic”

Some safety guidance pulled together by the Arizona Flight Training Working Group (click to access pdf).

PDF showing procedures at Stanfield VOR

Soon after we discovered this, Marcie came to Arizona and I helped her practice for her IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check) in our new SR22 for insurance purposes. In this first video you can see her depart Falcon Field then do 4 approaches into Casa Grande using the Stanfield stack and then finished off with an approach into Coolidge before returning to Falcon field.


The next day she wanted to practice more so she did 1 approach into Casa Grande with the Stanfield stack and then 4 approaches into Ryan Field and then an approach into Tucson before returning to Falcon field.  She’s a glutton for punishment.

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