In aeronautics and aviation, loiter is the phase of flight consisting of flying over some small region.
In general aviation, the loiter phase generally occurs at the end of the flight, when the plane is waiting for clearance to land.
In military flights, such as aerial reconnaissance or ground-attack aircraft, the loiter phase is the time that the aircraft has over a target. Cruise is the time period the aircraft travels to the target and returns after the loiter.
In astronautics, the loiter phase[clarification needed] of spacecraft used for human spaceflight may be as long as six months, as is the case for Soyuz spacecraft which remain docked while expedition crewmembers reside aboard the International Space Station.
The endurance of the aircraft during the loiter phase is often calculated using the Breguet formula: