Add “Circle to Land” option for ATC


Would be nice if ATC could issue a “circle to land” approach command to pilots if such an approach is necessary.

An example would be runway 1R at SFO. This would require a circle to land approach. In the above example, the controller could issue a command “circle to land for runway 1R using runway 28L approach”.

I’m not ATC but it would help pilots tremendously to be given guidance to perform a circle to land approach when applicable.

In the above example, runway 1R at SFO really is a circle to land approach. Because controllers don’t currently have a circle to land option they currently tell you “your cleared to land on runway 1R”. But with that guidance, how do you go about flying the approach without causing a traffic conflict? Due to terrain, it’s not feasible
To do a straight in approach.

You can try to enter the right downwind but there’s no guidance on where to do that nor do you have the option to request 45 degree entry onto the downwind at a specific fix.

With runway 28L approach in vicinity, there’s potential for a traffic conflict unless everyone knows that your intention is to fly the runway 28L approach and circle to land on runway 1R (Ie: you will be breaking off to the left to fly right downwind for 1R).


Can you maybe explain your idea on a KSFO map to tell me/us what you exactly mean, because I cannot imagine this situation.


I doubt many people even know what a Circle to Land is.

Airport has two runways (lets call them 1 and 19)… The wind is out of the south at 10 knots and the field is IFR… meaning you need to shoot some type of instrument approach… well, the only runway that has an instrument approach is runway 1 so you fly that approach to what we call circiling minimums and then ATC would be like N123AB circle E of the field for a left DW runway 19

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When you get sequenced you usally will be at an altitude that allows you to fly over inbound and outbound traffic on other runways, therefore it is not a problem,

  • We have the “do a 360 for spacing” command that helps keeping a safe distance from other aircraft
  • We have the “go around” command when there is airplanes on the runway

There is really no need for such a command

If this does not answer your question then I don’t know what you are talking about

best regards

I understand where you are coming from with this, and a short search on the internet shows me that there appears to be such a thing as ‘circle to land’. (I had never heard of it, but I’m sure that’s just me). SFO is an airport where, if you would enter right downwind towards to 28s, you risk clashing with departing traffic coming from the 1s. So a wide (circle) approach can avoid a clash here.

How to implement this in IF, in a way that pilots would understand, is probably tricky…


Circling apporahc:

I personally have never had to Vector an approach to any runway other then that in use in IF. Does it happen in RL of course mostly into uncontrolled fields. I moved your topic to features as it’s something you wish to be added. Personally I don’t see it necessary at all at this point.

This is a good idea! I think it’s used in Newark or teterboro somewhere? You have my vote.

Make sure you vote for your own topic too!

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Problem is, at SFO, the 1 runways are never used for landings. Only departures.

Landings are only the 28s (and 19s if the weather is different)

But yeah, “circle to land” would be fun


He was just using it as an example. And actually, they have been used in extreme cases, in which case a visual approach is flown next to the mountains. I like the idea of a circle-to-land approach, because it enables flexibility, and at airports like LaGuardia or Aspen (RWY 33), it reduces confusion/conflict when you seem to fly the approach to the wrong runway. Unfortunately I am at my vote limit, but when that changes I’ll give this a vote

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I do not understand what Circle to Land means.

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I feel like the system we have right now is effective enough. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

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This would be just an addition to the system, not a fix

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It’s an expression. I mean our system works now. Why change it?

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