ATC pattern curiosity

I was just curious how approach ATC determine the pattern for aircraft. When I fly into places, I often feel that it would be easier to have planes directly loop in over some of the patterns told to do, such as making numerous 90 degree turns to eventually hit the glide slope on a tight angle on a final turn.

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Pattern instructions I believe are given by the tower. As an approach ATC, you are responsible for guiding the airplane to the localizer and maintaining a good separation for the airplanes so that you make towers life easier. Approach ATC can request holds over an airport which is basically 90 degree turns at a certain altitude until told to exit holding pattern, if that’s what you mean. I’m a novice myself so an IFATC would be better equipped to answer your questions but just my 2cents.



Ive never done pattern work with IFATC but I would assume this is what they look for. They also can call your turns.


I understand what each role is. I just question how they come up with where they are going to put the air craft. Like today, as I flew in I felt that loopin around and flying straight in would be a lot simple than having been along the outskirts of the airport being directed to turn in all different directions until having to make a tight turn to get onto the glide slope

Here’s the order
Upwind (going to the opposite side of the runway your gonna land parallel)Downwind (going toward the side ur gonna land parallel to the runway ) Base (90 degrees from turn onto final) And Final, u prob know that

U said u would do a tight 90degree turn on final,u should have an easy 30 degreee or less intercept onto final by ATC I believe correct me if I’m wrong
U should try to do that with Unicom as well:)
I hope that helped:)

They do that because many tines there’s a lotta traffic so u gotta do a lot of turns and stuff ,and they shouldn’t give u a tight turn onto final.Less than a 30degree intercept I believe

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In certain situations, the “long” way is necessary to be used by approach ATC so that you can maintain a good separation from other aircraft and the most important of all, terrain.

Hello @Matt_Masiello, as approach controllers we have various methods and strategies that we use to get tin to the floor as quick as possible. It all depends on the level of traffic, terrain, what runways are in use, ect. It takes some experience to know which method to use for each situation. Here is one of the most commonly used methods:

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