Pattern Work in Large Aircraft

I’m not sure if there are any other posts like this but I was wondering how to realistically do touch and goes at an airport with an airliner. In small GA aircraft It all makes sense but how is it done in large aircraft. Controllers always tell me to fly at pattern altitude but there is no way that you should be flying a 747 1,000 ft Agl. In real life are you supposed to completely exit and re-enter the airspace?

Thanks for your help!

When flying a pattern in any jet aircraft, you should be at 1,500 feet agl.
Additionally, patterns should not be flown to the end of the cone. If you are in a C172 or a 747, that stays the same.


Large jet aircraft flying pattern work does occur in real life occasionally, and they do it at 1,500 feet AGL. However more commonly, they will do something called “practice approaches”. This is where an airliner is vectored out and back in by ATC for an approach.


Hi there! Here is a thread regarding how to do a pattern approach, and it includes the Altitude, the speed, etc.

Hope this helps!

A couple of days ago I was doing a quick pattern with the A380 at LAX on casual. It was pretty hard to do so…

Is it just me or is the bigger the aircraft is, the longer it takes to turn

I True, but a piece of why the turn takes longer is because jet aircraft have higher stall speeds, therefore you are flying at a faster speed. More speed = longer turn. Other things like maximum bank angle among others also factor in.

If you’re in a jet, fly a longer crosswind leg to account for the rate of turn. No need to extend your downwind leg to the start of the ILS cone if you fly an appropriate crosswind leg and fly at the correct pattern altitude.

You shouldn’t be doing patterns in an airliner in the first place.

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They don’t really have a problem with airliners doing patters in the sim (although I’m not a fan of it with active atc. Patterns are pretty much the same though. Just remember in an airliner your going to be going a bit faster so you’ll have to adjust your turns and what not. Think about an a320 getting vectored for a left downwind and getting cleared for a visual.

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