I have a question

If you are a ATC and you have three airplanes in your pattern but the first airplane comes back around faster than the others and they are still about to land is the first pattern aircraft turn into the third pattern aircraft?

1 Like

If you can sequence them first, have them first to land and then resequense the other two behind them


Sequencing is the key .


That’s the thing I don’t know how to resequence them behind the first pattern aircraft.

Just so I understand your question, are you asking if you have 3 people and one of them is able to land first, let them land first or are you asking what happens to the guy who did a touch and go after he completed their pattern?


If they land first and again join the pattern and are now number 3 i.e.the last in the line you sequence them as number 3


I mean it like this if a 738 is landing and two Cessnas’s are landing behind them in a pattern the 738 is quicker then the Cessna’s so the 738 will be behind the Cessna’s while they are still in their pattern does the 738 become number 1 still or number 3?

It depends how far out the cesenas are, if you can fit the 738 in, I’d let them go first but if not, have them go number 3 and extend their downwind so that there is adequate spacing


Once you have sequenced an aircraft behind the other , it’s the pilots job to maintain separation and sequence. So now since the 738 is back in the pattern you sequence them as number 3 and they will follow that sequence.


Ok thanks this answers my question.


Happy to Help !!

1 Like

Well done IFATC colleagues!

The words above about re-sequence are absolutely correct, however, I’d pay more attention to this case since I found out that many of my local trainees had problems initially with the re-sequence understanding.

The key to understanding is a practical example, and if for some reason it’s difficult for you to imagine any situation — my recommendation is to draw.

Firstly, let’s see overall how the situation can look like and what led to it:

— 07:00Z

— 07:03Z

Well, there’re two things which can lead to re-sequence in your pattern:

  • Shorten pattern leg;
  • Huge speed difference.

For a better explanation, let’s assign random callsigns for each pilot:

  1. The 1st C172 — JY-BAB;
  2. The 2nd C172 — A9C-KA;
  3. The B738 — KR4.

So, let’s have a look on initial and final situations again!

— 07:00Z


Well, we see that KR4 used a shortcut while JY-BAB & A9C-KA was flying the entire leg. Also, it’s not a surprise that B738 became faster than C172s. What should be our commands from 07:00Z to 07:03Z (time — on probation)?

— At 07:00Z the following commands should have already been issued:

  1. For JY-BAB: landing/option clearance as #1;
  2. For A9C-KA: sequence as #2 to follow JY-BAB and landing/option clearance as#2;
  3. For KR4: sequence as #3 to follow A9C-KA.

Note — we don’t know which pattern leg KR4 will use and/or what speed he’ll fly at, so keep the landing/option clearance with you for now.

— At 07:03Z the following commands should be issued:

  1. For KR4: landing/option clearance as #1;
  2. For JY-BAB: re-sequence as #2 to follow KR4;
  3. For A9C-KA: nothing.

Now the explanation:
First of all we should issue landing/option clearance as #1 for KR4 to let him turn base ASAP, thus to avoid conflicts with others.
After that, we should let JY-BAB know that he’s not #1 anymore in the pattern and since this moment should follow KR4. We do this by another sequence, no need for another landing/option clearance for JY-BAB!
And finally few words about A9C-KA. We shouldn’t issue him anything. He knows whom to follow and has his landing/option clearance already. Remember, numbers in the pattern change very frequently and you don’t re-sequence each person as soon as one of the planes just landed thereby making aircrafts behind one number less in the sequence.

Note — since there’s no sequence as #1, we should issue clearance as #1 instead to let the aircraft know that it’s #1 in the pattern currently (also applies if the aircraft was already cleared).

I hope this can help to find out some subtleties of this situation. If you still have any questions, I don’t mind answering them at all!



Thank you.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.