Question regarding traffic pattern

Do you have to enter a traffic pattern when landing or can you just request permission ahead of time and land without entering a pattern?

You have to enter some leg of the pattern when flying with ATC, whichever one you’re assigned. If approach is active, they’ll just vector you as necessary. Hope that answers your question.

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Technically, no matter how you’re going to land, you’re going to have to enter the pattern to get there.

No, you don’t have to do a crosswind, downwind, or base, but you always enter into the pattern.

Perhaps you enter left downwind for runway 22L. Perhaps you do a 45* entry to downwind. Maybe you join straight onto the base leg. Maybe you enter straight in, and join into final.

No matter how you enter an airspace to land, you’re always somewhere in the pattern.


Thank you for the reply. I have a another question, lets say you enter downwind, turn left base, and still are not cleared for landing, where would the next leg be? Would it be directly over the runway as stated in the diagram?

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If you’re flying on the Expert Server, I can pretty much guarantee you’d be cleared by then. But… let’s say you’re not!

If I’m in a scenario where I’m being instructed by ATC, I usually don’t turn base until I’m cleared to land/for the option. If you do, you’re in a risky area, what do you do?

If I turned base before being cleared, I’d simply report position to the ATC to let them know where I am in the pattern (assuming I’d called in before). This will let them know where I am as I said, but will also make them aware that I haven’t been cleared.

I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, please ask!

I just gonna say the correct pattern is downwind, crosswind, base, final so annonce to the ATC everytime you enter a leg.

Again, thank you so much for the replies, they help a lot! Last question, I promise. I assume that you yourself choose what runway you want to land on, and atc will then instruct you to enter either a left or right pattern, correct?

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If you’re cleared to land/for the option, please don’t do this. These are absolutely unnecessary messages.

You shouldn’t be reporting your position to ATC anyway, unless you’re reporting full stop, or if you haven’t been cleared at a reasonable time.

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That’s pretty much correct, yes. The ATC will take your runway request into account, but may assign you a different runway. Tip: Check the ATIS frequency before tuning to tower so then you know which runways are being used!

Regarding the left or right pattern, they will instruct you to enter a pattern leg, at which time you are then “in the pattern.”

Thank you! This helped a lot. No further interrogation on my part! :)

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Sure thing! I’m always happy to help. If you have any other questions, I’d be happy to answer them, either here or in DM. Have a great day, and safe flying. :)

Actually, it’s crosswind, downwind, base and final :)

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Always get them mixed up, XD

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Call inbound and enter the pattern in accordance with ATC instructions.

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