Pattern work clarification.

Hello everyone, was just wondering if I could get some clarification on pattern work. Now, before I joined the expert server I made sure I did a fair bit of research on pattern work, traffic etc. I thought I had a pretty clear point of how pattern and traffic work worked. Recently though as I was turning onto final from what I thought was left base I was told by tower controller to check forums on following ATC instructions. I was following the controls tower was giving me and I’m not entirely sure what I would of been doing wrong unless I misunderstood what left base was. This is how my conversation went back and forth between the controller at Hong Long international and I.
Tower: Jordanian 182 enter left base runway 7L
Jordanian 182 (me): roger, enter left base runway 7L
I continued on what I believed was left base, as I was approaching onto the ILS and announcing on final when as said above I was told I had done something wrong. I’ve drawn a brief diagram here of Hong Kong international and my perspective of how I’ve always seen pattern work. I just need some clarification on if I’m right or wrong, so any correction is appreciated. Thanks.

To clarify, I was NOT doing pattern work, I was approaching Hong Kong international after a flight from Bangkok international.

(Excuse my horrible drawing.)

I didn’t have enough space to draw a full proper pattern work for both runways so I just did left traffic on one runway and right traffic on the other.

My question is, why were you doing patterns at an international airport? What server was this on and who was your controller?

We’re you cleared to land when you announced that you were on final?

You have the general idea down, can you share your replay maybe get some details of altitude and all that to get an idea what happened that moment?

Sounds like you’ve done everything correct apart from this small part. With active ATC there is no need to announce where you are in the pattern. You only need to do that on unicom. Tower keep track of you and know where you are. Once called in there is nothing you need to send to ATC barring replies until you’re on the ground.


Sorry should of clarified, I wasn’t doing pattern work. I was approaching Hong Kong from Bangkok and that’s when this went down.

Pattern work can be allowed at any airport, provided that a pattern can be completed (no high terrain), visibility meets requirements, and traffic is manageable.


Oh okay.



Here is the diagram I always use when remaining or entering the pattern. Your diagram is correct, you may want to sort it out with the controller. Who was your controller?

@Matt answered why he was told to check help


Needless to announce where you are. On final in this case. ATC is watching you, knows where you are and tells you when and what to do.

The only time when you need to announce your position is if you are changing from touch and goes to full stops. This is a courtesy to controllers so they can prepare to give you an exit runway command, and organize their airspace. You have the traffic pattern right though.

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Sure, I’m Not sure how to share the replay though so I’ll give you a brief description on how it happened in my words.

I missed my approach to Hong Kong as as I wasn’t paying attention. There was no controller so I just went into a pattern formation to lose altitude (upwind, crosswind, downwind and base) it all went smoothly and as I was approaching left base a controller joined so I tuned in and announced my inbound we passed those messages back and forth then I successfully landed. I did realize that I had forgotten to check ATIS but I checked after parking at a gate and I didn’t do anything that ATIS prohibited. I don’t remember the controller name as I just brushed it off because I was pretty sure that I was right in what I was right and continued to land.

Ah ok, I’ll keep that in mind, thanks. On second thought, I announced I was on final because controller hadn’t cleared me, so I was announced it because I wasn’t sure what controller wanted to do with me, I had no instruction to go around and I wasn’t cleared to land, I announced I was on final to get controllers attention. I would have gone around without instructions but the runway I was landing on was clear and there was no one else on final.

No, which was why I announced that I was on final, to get controllers attention so I could either get go around instructions or landing clearance. The runway was clear and there was no other planes on final which is why I continued onto final.

In that case send a PM to the controller and he’ll be happy to explain why he gave you the command.

I can’t comment on the specific situation, only the controller can do that, but it can happen you aren’t cleared until at least on final for a multitude of reasons. There is no defined point for a clearance so don’t worry if you aren’t cleared before turning final. If you want to talk through your specific case with the controller could you let us know his display name and I’ll put you in touch. If not have a great day :)

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Ah it’s ok I wasn’t upset at the controller I was just confused and wanted some clarification if I was in the right or the wrong in patter work or anything else. You have a good day too. :)

Thank you for posting. I am always delighted when people contact me about a question like this from controlling. Without doing this you would not learn from the experience.

When I control, I will send a “check the tutorial” message when people do something wrong that is a common mistake but not interfering with anyone. It could be for things like calling inbound incorrectly, not departing straight out or requesting to take off into a pattern and not doing a pattern.

This is a great tutorial explaining common errors that we see:

So it sounds like you might have called inbound incorrectly.

On a side note, if you got a message “Please follow instructions” that is is usually more of a more significant mistake and “please follow instructions or you will be ghosted” is for when you seem to be ignoring our instructions and look like you are going to interfere with others.

Check this site out for info on how to share your replay and we can give you more specific advice.

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