ATC command for pattern work call

I have noticed an issue that does not seem to ever die. Pilots request departure remaining in the pattern, but obviously have no idea what that means because they fly away. They take off, then I issue pattern instructions or clearance and they are obviovlsy confused because they never intended to stay in the pattern. Is there a way to notify on ATC commands that you called for pattern work, not straight out departure? Or any other suggestions? Its kinda driving me crazy! Lol

Another question for the community. I sometimes try to speed things up when busy and issue takeoff clearance before the pilot requests takeoff to speed things up. Is this okay? My concern is if the pilot intenteded to remain in the pattern or request a direction, i think the only way they can do that is when requesting takeoff clearance? Feedback is appreciated.

Nothing you can really do. If you’re IFATC you can issue ‘check help pages’ or you’ll just have to give them a frequency change.


Not much you can do here. I usually watch the pilot, and if they climb up past 3000ft AAL I treat them as a departure


If I am really pushing out deps and have a decent queue and/or tight spacing with inbounds, I will sometimes give people say intentions if they don’t report ready for takeoff when they are #2 and #1 is either cleared or given LUAW. I only do this when busy. This implies they have been #2 for a bit since they have people behind them so they should be ready for TO at that point. Usually once I do this one or twice the other folks on the tower freq get the idea and report ready for TO promptly.

Just clearing them for TO has the issues you mention and they might not be ready throwing off your timing.


Good point! Thanks. By the way, I am from Denver. Small world! Cheers!

It is annoying when you make a plan to put them in the pattern and they ignore it.
If you cleared me for takeoff and didn’t specify a pattern direction but I wanted to stay I’d make left traffic and report downwind touch and go. This is because if instructions are omitted a pilot is to make left traffic. It would probably be better just to ask for intentions since they may not be ready.

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