KSAN becomes frustrating and extremely unfair when ATC operates there

I’ve noticed whenever theres ATC at san diego I ALWAYS get super frustrated, and usually end up not ever departing there because the wait times there to depart are extremely long which is extra hurtful when you live right under the flightpath, this is due to the fact most people are in lightweight aircraft such as the TBM 9 and C172 doing endless, annoying and what I find rude touch and goes. I’m not against doing touch and goes but this seems to be a trend to do at airports smaller outside of the reigons largest airport. And this happens on the expert server no less, I feel something should be done more to help make the expert server more expert at less populated airports, because its not fair or realistic to have arrivals/touch and goes for 10 minutes then maybe 1-2 departures every other 10 minutes. What do you think could help situations like this?


people do toch and goes due to the position and distance from KNZY which make it very easy to farm landings

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The ATCs should be doing what real ATC does at KSAN by diverting all light aircraft to Montgomery field during high volume of departures and arrivals. That will almost immediately clear up your issue. PM the ATC that was contributing to delays and offer up the advice. Extending the downwind a few more miles past LINDI/LUCKI waypoints helps buy you a bit of time to squeeze in takeoffs between landings as well as advising arrivals to maintain slowest possible speed, if takeoff queue gets long.


Hey there! It seems (from what I am getting from this message) is that you are not a fan of pattern work at KSAN. As controller (and pilot) who frequently who frequently, when ATC is present, flies in and out of San Diego, will say the airport had its limitations. I do believe most controllers will halt touch and goes when the take off queue is beyond reasonable, and approach is active trying to fit 20 planes onto one runway. I have personally waiting in line for departure for over 30 minutes on a few occasions.

With that, if the traffic is light, or no traffic is present at all, ATC is more than welcome to welcome pattern work. Supervisors actually promote it! All depends on what the scene is at the moment.

Like I said before, San Diego can be tough to fight out departures with sometimes close back to back arrivals. If you do happen to see something you don’t like, or something that bothers you, reach out to the controller. Their name is present on screen for a reason! We are all more than welcome to provide details on why we did this or why we did that. If we were wrong, we get out handy-dandy notebook and write it down for next time.

Now, for which airports are chosen for touch and goes are completely up to this pilot. No one can force any user to fly patterns at KTUS instead of KPHX. Now, ATC can ask pattern work pilots to divert if PHX has more traffic and it is now unsuitable for pattern work. That is a fact.

Feel free to PM me, or anyone else who has some knowledge on ATC if you have anymore questions…or need to clarify something. Eyes and ears are open from me!


Exactly! I’ll remember this next time

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I would like to put my opinion in from the IFATC side.

I have controlled KSAN on multiple occasions, and it is a smaller airport that usually does not get much traffic, so I do allow light aircraft, and pattern works.

I also work to try to be efficient as possible, but also to watch when I need to close that pattern to light aircraft and everyone.

Also, us controllers are encouraged to allow pattern work when possible.


Most of the time pattern work just makes KSAN worse. if its like roughly 4 planes inbound with 3-6 people on the ground its fine but I usually see 10 or more aircraft awaiting departure while ATC focuses fully on arrivals and pattern work, it is a problem for sure.

If current traffic levels never increase to a level that prevents Controllers from providing an adequate service, pattern work will be allowed. There is nothing wrong with pilots doing pattern work. That is just controllers following the manual, 3.4.1.

They’re trained to accommodate pattern work and on expert it should never slow down service.


So how long do I have to wait for clearance to takeoff until i’ve been waiting too long?

Can’t say a specific time, depends on the situation as to what’s happening at the airport or which airport you’re at. If it’s KSAN, with the way taxiways are set up and there only being one runway, there’s normally some delays but it should never be too long.

Aircraft remaining in the pattern have lowest priority and then arrivals will be favored over departures.

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During IF events, I’ve waited up to 30mins to get airborne while waiting in sequence (10-15 aircraft ahead of me). It’s all part of the experience 😂


I’m not the type to rush my flights but waiting 30 minutes to takeoff in a mobile simulator isn’t acceptable to me…

Depending on the situation that might not be acceptable, what platform the app uses doesn’t have anything to do with the math (departure/arrival rate) involved with a delay. You can only fit so many departures with one runway between arrivals with the separation needed to adequately accommodate them.


thanks!this is great!

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