No Pattern Work Allowed

This is all about Expert server just in case that isn’t clear.

Why do controllers frequently shut down pattern work when traffic is pretty light?
I understand restrictions when there are constant calls and multiple approach frequencies, but when there are just a few planes at the airport it seems unnecessary to suddenly prohibit pattern work.
I think this is especially odd when there are multiple runways at the airport so normal approaches wouldn’t even be affected by the pattern work.
Since I’m not IFATC obviously, I’d be interested to hear from someone who is or knows more about this.


Perhaps the airport was recently a lot busier before you spawned in and ATIS has not yet been updated?

Another would be maybe aircraft pattern work does not take place at this airport.


In the most recent case of this I experienced, the ATIS was updated as I was taxiing to the runway for pattern work to include no pattern work, but I get where you are coming from.

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What airport was this?

PANC, there was one or two approaches, and 3 or 4 departures at the time

Public IFATC Manual:
6.3: “TIP: Pattern work can only be approved in Visual Metrological Conditions (VMC) – for IF only purposes, this is a MINIMUM of 3 statute miles (approx. 5000 meters)
visibility. If this condition is not met, controllers must not allow pattern work”

7.1.2: “Pattern work must be denied if the weather conditions, terrain or traffic are not suitable
(see 6.3 above)”

7.1.6: “No pattern work | When weather is below VMC minima or if the controller has decided it is not suitable based on other conditions such as traffic or terrain”

Also, if you ever wonder why a controller has a certain command an ATIS, feel free to reach out to them on the forums to have them explain their mindset.


This question was a more broad question I’m not looking to ask a controller about a specific occurrence, but rather ask about a common trend. PANC was just the most recent time I had seen it happen. In terms of the manual, it seems that it is mostly weather-based as all the traffic stuff is up to the controller, and that’s what I’m asking about.

Sometimes they shut down the pattern work due to weather conditions.

It could also be if they are anticipating heavy traffic, maybe. For example, if you open EGLL, you would probably want to shut down the pattern straight way because you know that in about 10 minutes they’ll be a load of planes everywhere like flies - no pun intended. 🤪

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Generally speaking, pattern work is encouraged across the board at all controlled airports when possible. Usually it will be restricted throughout the day at main hub airports or FNF hub.

But it also pays to know the full scenario which you may not be aware. The tower controller, along with the approach controller, may well see that there is a large inbound wave coming and chose to disallow pattern work for a period of time.

But genuinely it is encouraged that IFATC controllers should allow pattern work.


MaxSez: Circle Dem Wagons Cowboys. How dare this lowly Pilot criticize ”US” or is it the Royal “We”!
Another 🔥Arrow in my Log Book! MaxSends

(@C_hawk… Well written and appropriate! Add GA Restriced at Field with FBO’s)

JaySez: Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Max, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings to the pilots.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows circling cowboys,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To no patterns: sometimes a must…

(I wasn’t lying above when I said it is actively encouraged for IFATC controllers to allow patterns, as stated in the manual.)


The Airport is really busy at the moment maybe wait couple hours and it won’t be. Or go to another airport

I’m asking about airports that aren’t busy, obviously there won’t be pattern work at airports with constant arrivals and departures, as I stated above, but at less busy airports it seems to happen too.

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