I have two questions

  1. What do you do as a ATC controller when a airplane is to high on downwind.

  2. When do you use continue inbound and make straight in runway xx.

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How would you say descend and matain a attitude as a tower.

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Question 1: I would instruct the aircraft to “descend to pattern altitude” and allow them to extend their downwind leg if necessary. Keep in mind that you may resequence aircraft in the pattern so that this higher aircraft is behind the lower aircraft, giving the pilot more time to adjust their altitude as needed.


Question 2: The official guidance on this is that “the ‘Continue Inbound’ command should only be used when you don’t know the intended sequence and planned entry. When you’re unsure of their sequence a pattern entry should still be issued and a sequence may be given as they get closer. The specified pattern entry allows pilots to plan the correct runway. ‘Continue inbound’ does not replace a pattern entry, sequence, or clearance.”

“Enter Straight In” can be used just like any other pattern entry. If an aircraft doesn’t have a defined base leg and will be on an extended final, use this entry. Below, Example A would be a left base entry, while Example B would be a straight in entry.

Example A

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Example B

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If an airplane is too high, then it’s on them to descend, we just offer pattern entries. Radar controllers are different though. Not really sure what to do on radar.

We use continue inbound, or are supposed to, when an airplane is inbound and we don’t know their sequencing or what runway we’re gonna give for them yet, they usually just follow their FPL after.

I use straight in when planes can just enter straight in, when they don’t need a pattern entry.

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Specific vectors are not possible as a tower controller.

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Wouldn’t example A be enter left base 12L?

You cannot as a regular Tower controller. You would use the command as Luca said “Descend to Pattern Altitude.”


As for radar, you have the ability to vector aircraft at certain altitudes and headings so being to high shouldn’t be a problem.

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Yes, that’s what I wrote.

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Remember, the best tip I learned when being an air traffic control is not to worry about the planes flying. The pilots will fly them. The biggest thing is is to make sure that you control them to go the right direction. When you are tower, all you are trying to do is to get them cleared to land. If the pilot is too high, and they have to make too step of a decent, they will do that themselves or do a go-around if needed

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Maybe Tell them to descend? ;)

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