Garmin 530/430 Holds

In a previous Glass Panel Minute, I wrote about how to set up a hold in Foreflight.  In this week’s Glass Panel Minute, I am continuing on with the holding theme as we are going to go through the steps to holding on the Garmin 530/430 units.

The Garmin 530 and 430 units were revolutionary when they came out.  GPS was brand new to general aviation and Garmin literally changed the game with the 530 and 430.  Navigating became so much easier.  The ability to go GPS Direct cut down flight times and got people to their destinations faster.

There were some features that Garmin put into their later GPS systems that would have been nice to have on the 530/430 units that have never been added, specifically holding.  Since the advent of WAAS, the ability to hold, and have the autopilot fly the hold, when the holding pattern is either a hold in lieu of a procedure turn, a procedure turn, or a missed approach hold, was added.  What wasn’t added, was the ability to input a holding pattern on the 530/430 at a waypoint, regardless of whether the hold was published on the chart or not.

As I talked about in the last GPM, general aviation pilots don’t get enroute holding clearances that often.  I can count maybe 2 or 3 in my entire flying career of almost 9,000 hours.  But, if it does come, a pilot wants to be confident in knowing how to set the system up correctly.

Here are the steps to holding on a Garmin 530/430 unit, along with some explanation of what’s happening when the buttons are pushed:

  • Once the holding clearance is received, input the hold into Foreflight to give a visual representation
  • 1 mile from the holding Waypoint, switch the airplane’s autopilot to heading mode
    • If the autopilot remains in NAV mode, it will try and follow the course needle in the step below
  • After switching to HDG mode on the autopilot, press the OBS button on the 530/430 unit
    • The OBS button Suspends the sequencing of the flight plan to the next waypoint
  • Once in OBS Mode, set in the inbound course of the hold using either the airplane’s CDI needle or the OBS screen that pops up on the 530/430
    • If the airplane is equipped with a glass panel, then the pilot is able to put the inbound course on the panel
    • If the airplane has steam gauges, the inbound course will need to be input on the Garmin 530/430 unit
  • Using the HDG mode of the autopilot, enter the hold
  • The outbound legs of the hold will need to be flown with the HDG mode of the autopilot
  • The inbound legs can be flown in the NAV or GPSS mode of the autopilot
  • In OBS mode, the TO/FROM flag still flips when crossing the waypoint and abeam the waypoint
  • When the pilot is ready to exit the hold, press OBS on the inbound leg as close as possible to the holding fix
    • This Un-Suspends the waypoint sequencing of the flight plan and the flight plan will sequence to the next leg 

This isn’t an easy procedure to remember.  I would recommend printing out the above steps (or saving them to a document in Foreflight).  Practice in VMC conditions with a CFII before asking for an unpublished hold in IMC conditions.

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