Flight Redemptions

What is MAHF in Aviation? (Missed Approach Holding Fix)

Updated: March 02, 2024

Missed Approach Holding Fix (MAHF): A Crucial Element in Aviation

Aviation is a complex and intricate industry that requires precision and meticulous planning. Pilots and air traffic controllers work together to ensure the safety and efficiency of air travel. One essential element in aviation is the Missed Approach Holding Fix, also known as MAHF. In this article, we will explore the importance of MAHF and its role in aviation operations.

The Significance of Missed Approach Holding Fix

When it comes to aviation, safety is paramount. In the event of adverse weather conditions, equipment failure, or other unforeseen circumstances, pilots may have to abort their landing approach and execute a missed approach procedure. A missed approach is a maneuver performed by pilots when they are unable to land safely during an approach to an airport.

The Missed Approach Holding Fix (MAHF) is a designated point in the airspace where an aircraft would be directed to hold if a missed approach procedure is required. It serves as a predefined location where pilots can safely navigate their aircraft while waiting for further instructions from air traffic control.

MAHF plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth flow of air traffic during missed approach scenarios. By directing aircraft to specific holding fixes, air traffic controllers can manage the separation and sequencing of aircraft, preventing any potential conflicts and maintaining the overall safety of the airspace.

Understanding the Missed Approach Procedure

The missed approach procedure is a standardized series of actions that pilots follow when they are unable to complete a landing due to various reasons. This procedure is typically outlined in the approach charts provided to pilots for each airport. It includes specific altitudes, headings, and communication frequencies to ensure a consistent and safe course of action.

During a missed approach, pilots will initially climb to a specified altitude, often referred to as the Missed Approach Initial Climb (MAIC). This altitude ensures that the aircraft is safely above any obstacles or terrain in the vicinity of the airport. Once at the MAIC altitude, pilots will follow predetermined headings and routes until reaching the Missed Approach Holding Fix.

The Role of Missed Approach Holding Fix (MAHF)

Upon reaching the Missed Approach Holding Fix, pilots will enter a holding pattern until further instructions are received from air traffic control. The holding pattern is a predetermined racetrack-shaped route that allows aircraft to remain in a specific area while maintaining a safe distance from other traffic.

The Missed Approach Holding Fix serves as the center of this holding pattern. It is typically located near the airport and allows for efficient management of aircraft awaiting further clearance or instructions. Air traffic controllers use the MAHF to allocate a specific amount of airspace for holding, ensuring that aircraft do not interfere with other arriving or departing traffic.

During the holding pattern at MAHF, pilots must adhere to specific altitudes, speeds, and communication frequencies as instructed by air traffic control. This standardized approach ensures that all aircraft in the holding pattern maintain a safe and orderly flow, minimizing the risk of collision or other incidents.

As air traffic controllers monitor the overall flow of air traffic, they will provide pilots with updated information regarding their expected further clearance or revised approach instructions. Once the airspace congestion or any other factors have been resolved, pilots will receive instructions to proceed with a new approach or other necessary actions.


The Missed Approach Holding Fix (MAHF) is a vital component of aviation operations. It provides pilots with a designated point in the airspace where they can safely hold during a missed approach procedure. By utilizing MAHF, air traffic controllers can effectively manage the flow of air traffic, ensuring the safety and efficiency of aviation operations.

As pilots and air traffic controllers work together, the importance of MAHF becomes evident. It allows for seamless coordination and communication, ensuring that aircraft are safely guided through missed approach scenarios. By adhering to standardized procedures and utilizing MAHF, the aviation industry upholds its commitment to safety and efficiency.

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