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Vertical Separation

Vertical Separation

  • Holding stack is a number of aircraft holding at a common fix with vertical separation.
  • If an ATC has several aircraft to put on hold, he cannot use the same holding pattern at the same altitude to handle several aircraft. In this case, ATC shall create a holding stack.
  • Stacking means that pilots go into a holding pattern circling radio beacons.
  • Holding stacks work as a waiting room for an aircraft before landing. Then the aircraft is in the “waiting room” the air traffic controller efficiently organizes the landing directions and runway. For this reason, there can be several aircraft separated vertically by 1,000 feet or more at the same time in holding stack. When the plane leaves the holding stack it is safely directed towards the runway.
  • One airport may have several holding stacks; depending on where aircraft arrive from or which runway is in use, or because of vertical airspace limitations. For example, around Heathrow airport, there are four holding stacks called Bovingdon, Lambourne, Ockham, and Biggin.












credit by  Chhawinder Pal singh Sodhi
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