Pattern questions

I have got several questions regarding pattern:

  1. Do you always have to enter downwind with 45°, also when you are approaching straight to the runway? (Would you have to fly a circle around the airport in order to enter the downwind leg with 45°)

  2. Do big planes like ERJ 195 and bigger always these pattern too?

  3. I have heard that real pilots don’t always fly the standard pattern… Does somebody have a picture of such an approach (for example the pilot enters the instantly 45° angle final)?

PS: I know my English isn’t the best :D but I am really confused if you always have to fly the standard pattern no matter from where you heading and if you do the same pattern with big aircrafts too…

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Nope! You can enter a pattern at any angle. 45° is just the standard entry. All aircraft can perform patterns, but it’s usually more common in smaller aircraft.

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So it isn’t to bad if I enter the ILS corridor (?) how ever I want?
Because I tried to fly the pattern with a A 320 and it was pretty bad…

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Well, not however you want. You can enter at any angle (that makes logical sense, depending on your position), but you do have to be cautious of other traffic. Don’t cut right in front of people to get in the pattern; find an opening that’s big enough for you to enter the pattern without causing a collision.

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Ok thanks :D
I was just confused about the sense of always flying the pattern and also with bigger aircrafts
Thank you so much I searched years in the internet and always found the same about Cessna’s but never about Airliners

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No problem! Feel free to ask if you have any more questions. Happy flying!

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If you’re talking about the cone, that is simply a visual aid.

If you’re talking about flying actual patterns, they are flown at 1500 AGL for commercial, 1000 AGL GA, and you turn your base leg 5 or less miles out from the threshold. You do not fly a full pattern with a flight plan to the end of the cone every time. Patternwork is VFR, not IFR.

When you’re talking about pattern entry, that is how you enter the pattern when coming from outside of it. Taking off from the runway already in the pattern, this wouldn’t apply.


It’s hard to tell if you’re actually talking about flying patterns or just coming in for landing from another field. It seems like you may be getting the two mixed up (I know there’s a language barrier, which is fine).

When people say “bigger planes don’t fly patterns” what they mean is that you’re not gonna see a 388 in pattern at KORD like you do in IF, as patternwork is more of a GA (Cessnas, Cubs, etc) thing, usually done at smaller fields. The larger planes can do patternwork, it’s just not as prevalent as it is in IF.

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Adding on this post: Pattern work by airliners (e.g. the A320) is often done during pilot training at airfields with low traffic (e.g. Chateauroux in France).

@anon2996007: if I can help clarifying anything in German don’t hesitate to send me a PM.

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Thank you I think I got it now :D

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Going to ask a follow-up here. Since ILS approaches are not batters, do you only call unicom on final if you are doing a 180 to join the approach, or do you call downwind as well?

You announce all pattern legs. Downwind, base, and final.

There was a typo in my question… I was asking if I’m not doing a true pattern (eg. at a higher altitude), do I still call my legs?

Yes, you do.

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OK thanks. What I’ve been doing already then.

And what do you have to do when you’re coming straight in? Do you also have to announce the legs? And if yes when?

Call inbound for straight in and then announce final.

If you’re on downwind you’re not entering straight in.

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