To help you visualize what an "alpha pattern" looks like, think of cutting a diagonal across the storm, 105 nautical miles on either side of the eye. Then, it's a simple case of always making left turns, so the aircraft doesn't have to fight the winds that are swirling counter-clockwise. Notice that after two passes through the eye (fixes), the winds in all four quadrants have been measured. At this point, the plane would typically continue the alpha pattern, making two more fixes before heading home. To see a simple animation (46k), click here.