and/or "circuits" are pilot
's terms for a maneuver that is common when learning to fly a fixed-wing aircraft
. It involves landing on a runway
and taking off
again without coming to a full stop. Usually the pilot then circles the airport in a defined pattern known as a circuit and repeats the maneuver. This allows many landings to be practiced in a short time.
It can also describe a maneuver used to test questionable landing surfaces.
In British parlance this maneuver is called "circuits and bumps".
The standard circuit begins with a roll down the runway until the aircraft rotates, a climb out to 500' AGL (Above Ground Level), a right or left climbing turn (depending on making either right hand or left hand circuits) to 1,000' AGL perpendicular to the runway, followed by another right or left turn for a downwind leg parallel to the runway. During the downwind leg the pilot completes his/her pre-landing checks and contacts the tower advising a full stop landing or a touch-and-go. After seeing the threshold of the runway at 45 degrees behind him/her, the pilot makes another left or right turn descending to 500' AGL. The pilot then turns on the last leg, the final approach where he/she is cleared to land or cleared for a touch-and-go.
In an uncontrolled airport, the pilot announces his/her position and intent over a unicom radio frequency to coordinate the flow of local air traffic between the pilots.