How does ATC discern between pattern work at an Active Tower vs Unicom

Maybe I’m not the most knowledgable on this topic but, how do you guys handle ATC when you’re performing pattern work at a Unicom airfield and an active tower keeps telling you to stay on their frequency?

Is it beneficial to file a flight plan even for pattern work?

Not sure I understand the question are you at an airfield that is Unicom or that is controlled?

Hey DJ,
If you are doing pattern work at a Unicom airport (echo) or an airport that is does have an active ATC a tower should not be sending you an on gaurd message. If you are on a tower frequency you can request a departure to whatever direction you plan on going to and then request a frequency change. If an approach is sending you an on gaurd you should switch to their frequency and tell them you are flying VFR. There is no reason to file a flight plan for pattern work. Hope I helped. If you have any questions feel free to ask :)

Carson…that’s what I thought… I was doing pattern work on the advanced server earlier at an Unicom field… A controller at a different field kept telling me to stay on their frequency. It wasn’t approach, strictly tower at a completely different airport.

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@jreilly2311 👆

Tower should exercise judgement and watch traffic for what they’re doing. Since they can see your tuned frequency, I’m not 100% sure why they contacted you - unless you were straying into their traffic, and/or airspace in general.

When doing patterns, don’t go too high; 1000AGL for props, 1500AGL for jets, as a rule of thumb (not always the case, but the general standard). If you’ve gone higher, they may have thought you’re intending to go to them.