Holding patterns


I recently controlled at Birmingham (EGBB) with heavy inbound and outbound traffic. To allow some space for departing aircraft I started 2 separate holding patterns. Some people seemed to be pretty confused, and with the feedback I have heard, I am not sure everyone knows what a holding pattern is.

A holding pattern is something the ATC uses to hold aircraft until it can get its final vectors to the runway.

Look at the image above, the line indicates where the aircraft was held until it was its time to get vectored to land.

If a controller vectors you away from the airport, but you are still following other aircraft, or other aircraft are following you, you are in a holding pattern. Please do help out other pilots and keep and even space and speed.

Any questions please ask below!
Thomas-ATC officer


Hi Thomas,

Thanks for sharing the info! Most people on here are aware of what a holding pattern is, the problems come along when you get non av-geeks or children (not on the forums) who have no idea what a holding pattern is or even what ATC is! They just play it for fun.



If you don’t follow and try to cut the line, you will be ghosted! ;)
Btw, I was the Tower at EGBB and I told Thomas to do the pattern as I had about 10 people in line and another 5 in the ramps.
Thanks for obliging


How did you instruct Pilots to hold? Did you simply ask them to do a 360 for spacing or give them vectors?

As a pilot try and always obey ATC , but am learning the tricks for when I give ATC a go! :-)

We try to vector them in a sort of 360, although today I vectored pilots to do a pattern, then half of it again and in the line for Landing, but yes just vector them


Would be nice if you could just tell the aircraft to hold. Probably will never happen though.

More info if interested:

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EGBB must have been popular today! I controlled there for an hour earlier on this afternoon. I bunged a couple of folk into a hold by using the 360 For Spacing option and it worked for one. The other chap decided he knew best cut the line and belly flopped onto the runway at speed! I’ve used it before with varying degrees of success.


If you are not patient, make us a favour and get off Advanced…


It would be great if there was an ATC command to tell pilots to enter holding patterns or continuous 360s/circulate until further notice etc.

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It’s being worked on supposedly


Hopefully! Sounds good

Its actually quite a good idea. I was thinking that there might be an option to toggle the different views. Like there might be a set of buttons, choosing between ILS, and VFR view, where the holding patterns would appear. That would be really good.

i think FDS can implementing un holding pattern line for all big airports to help pilots to follow the lines, like flightplan

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