No pattern work in ATIS should prevent pilots from requesting any approach into the airport

The title is the hook… it’s not quite that simple.

The way I propose this works is that when ATIS is denying pattern work, any aircraft that has not been at least 50mi from the controlled airport cannot ask approach for any service to the served airport or any other airport inside of 50 miles. This does allow a local pilot to takeoff from a local airport, fly out 50mi and ask approach for service back in. It also allows anyone that departed from an airport at least 50 mi away to ask approach for a service.

A local departing aircraft could ask for service to any airport at least 50mi away.

I’m trying to prevent pilots that takeoff from a busy airport where pattern work is not allowed, from asking for approach back in. I’m also targeting pilots that takeoff from a neighboring airport and ask for approach service for their 20mi flight. If it’s not too busy, and patterns are allowed, fine make your short flights. But when no pattern work is specified, you need to fly away, before you can request back in.

What happens now, is approach spends an inordinate amount of time denying and tracking these short flights. More often than not, these people are persistent, so it eats up more time.

But what if you are flying an actual flight in real life, doesn’t that take away some domestic/regional flights?


What happens if you need to return back to the departing airport for emergencies

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If we had all the controls in place that exist in real life, such as clearance delivery, and probably other things I’m not aware of, we could support real life flights at any traffic density. Unfortunately, what happens is everyone swarms the focus airport, which we can handle as long as we have time to organize the airspace. The pilots that takeoff from the focus airport when it’s extremely busy and want back in, throw a monkey wrench in the plan.

I just this happen in spades at PHNL. I was constantly tracking around 5-6 pilots that were told airport was full. Some flew away, some didn’t, but the ones that flew away were replaced by new locals. It was very disrupting, degrading the service I was providing.

Don’t forget this will only be applied when it’s extremely busy.


You can’t declare an emergency until you’ve been flying for 60minutes, so that’s covered


Let me see if I can understand this in a real life situation, basically a pilot takes off from an airport with no flight plan contracts approach for service back in. These are radar patterns and sometimes used to practice IMC approaches in RL but since it’s a way to get multiple take offs and landings your saying that people need a flight plan to depart so they don’t request service back in

Voted. This would let ATCs concentrate on controlling actual inbound planes rather those who want to fly in the pattern with approach.


Great Feature 👏 As an IFATC having people takeoff from airports in the ILS Cone to a big feature airport is the worse thing possible. Unfortunately you can only deny them but most time it leads to ghosting due to the pilot being inexperienced and just counting inbound. I would love to see how this would turn out or like how they would implant this but you got my vote

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I said nothing about flight plans. I said when ATIS specified no patterns, that you couldn’t ask for service inside a 50mi radius circle. If it’s not very busy (patterns are allowed), do whatever you want.


Got my vote Gary! IFATC lives need to be easier!


I’m agree with Gary Pplease have empathy, stick in place of the controllers. This way of flying in air spaces with heavy traffic, has a negative impact on the quality of the service of the controllers, and finally also on the rest of the pilots who can not enjoy a dense but orderly traffic, suffering long waits or being denied entry.
Got my vote!👍

Love this!! I am not qualified for approach yet but see this happening all the time when controlling tower / ground on expert. It is annoying for tower, but really disruptive for approach because they are typically there when the airspace is busy to extremely busy.

Freed up a vote to vote for this!


It’s very helpful for Approach controller!
I voted!

Actually this makes a ton of sense. It seems that Pilots can get around the system by simply departing going out some distance and coming back it’s really a shame that they take advantage of this. I can remember turning back one time for a legit issue when @DenverChris was in charge, there was no traffic in the area.

Edit: Not going to vote for it however as I’m not sure how this would be enforced/implemented.

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I’m confused by this, because departing then contacting approach then departure, or just approach for vectors back to the airport is not utilizing the traffic pattern. The traffic pattern is very precisely defined, and there is nothing wrong with, nor illegal (FAA regulation wise) about departing then asking for immediate vectors back to the airport. The approach controller has the leeway to vector the aircraft to the back of the approach order, thus removing any congestion this request is aimed at preventing.

Well, when the ATIS says No pattern work, it means the airfield is busy, or it’s operating in IMC. With that said, how could tower and App deal with people trying to return to the airport to add more clutter to an already dificult scenario.

In IRL, I cannot think 10 B737s / A320s taking off from LaGuardia requesting radar vectors to KJFK during peak hours( or normal hours). It’s feasible, just send them to the back to the approach cue, however, the work load of the Approch controller greatly increases, trying to get these people out of the approach paths, and his attention gets diverted into dealing with them, instead of focusing and providing the best experience to the people who are following a normal operational behavior.

As @GHamsz said, it’s only when “No Patrern Work” is active in the ATIS, meaning there is a reason for it to be in the ATIS.
If it’s calm, go for it !, a controller would even thank you for making the shift less boring.

I thinks this definitely needs to be added in the near future to improve both the controller and pilot experience ! You got my vote !


That is not a pattern. That is a short flight to a gifferent place. And if they leave and want to come back in the can because it is not pattern.

You didn’t say anything about if you have to go around. If I abort landing and contact ATC are you saying I’d have to fly 50 nm out just to come back in?

I believe you are missing the point.
Getting into the details about whether it’s a pattern or not, and that is not the case.

The point is, as soon as people see there is an approach frequency open, the spawn in local airports and clutter even more a very busy airspace, Again “No Pattern Work” in the ATIS means there is so much traffic, it cannot handle people wanting to stay in the airport’s airspace/traffic.

Sure, if the airport/airspace is not busy as stated above. If it is, all we are asking is that you don’t do that on the Expert Sever while approach control is open. If you really want to do that short flight, go to a different server, got to a different airport, wait until is less crowded or fly out 50NM and come back in.

Missed approaches and aborted landings are different, and I believe should not be forced to fly 50NM out.

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With a Missed approach and aborted landing, your tag still reflects the fact that you were granted an approach, so they would get to come back in.

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