Quick atc question

Example: at ksfo someone has just done a touch and go on 28L and they are on upwind. If they request runway change to 28R should I tell them to enter right or left downwind for runway 28R?

As tower controller, you hand off to departure/approach and they handle it for you.

If no departure / approach, you can vector how you see fit. Being the only controller in this example, it’s up to you to control the airspace and maintain separation, etc.

Well, I believe it’s based on runway direction. So if they are on left downwind for the opposite runway of 28L and they request a runway change for runway 28R then you say enter left downwind then clearing them for the option of the requested runway. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.

I used KSFO as an example let’s say it’s not a class bravo airspace

You would tell them to enter right downwind for 28R, so it doesn’t interfere with the 28L traffic.


If an aircraft is remaining in the pattern, then they always stay with tower and never go to depature or approach.


So would I be incorrect to tell them to enter left downwind when they want 28R TSATC told me that was wrong

Edited my post.

I would go with what @Niccckk says here.


Event though they are on upwind?

Wait, so if they’re on the left downwind for runway 28L and they request a runway change for runway 28R, when you tell them to enter right downwind would they go over the runway at pattern altitude to actually get to the right downwind of the opposite runway that they requested for (in this case, this will be 28R)?

I should just be quiet now. I’ve confused myself.


Me too, I need to take a second to look at the layout of SFO. Give me one second.

Yes, even if they’re on upwind, the most logical instruction would to enter them on right downwind for 28R if they requested change to 28R.

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Oh, It makes sense now because he meant upwind so still following runway heading, oops.

Enter right downwind runway 28R
Number one cleared for the option runway 28R
After the option make right traffic
That will ensure they continue to go on right downwind. Than it’s just
Number one cleared for the option.

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Also you are not forsed to give runway change.

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Correct, @Elias_Elfvengren. For example, say the pattern is somehow full for 28R, you can deny their change to 28R, and keep them on 28L.

He’s talking about when the aircraft is on runway heading and not on the downwind or even crosswind yet.

Yes you would tell them to enter downwind.
How to chane runway:
Pattern entry
Sequence if possible

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Here’s the thing;

I would not say there’s any right or wrong here. It all depends on the traffic circumstances.

If there’s no departing traffic, it doesn’t matter.

If there is, turning left would be the appropriate action after making a touch & go at 28L and enter a left downwind. Otherwise you will interfere with 28R deps.

But then you also have to take arrivals into account. But that can be handled without issues if the sequencing is done correctly. It is, in my opinion easier to handle possible interference with arrivals than it is with departures as you can sequence them.

All the options work. But it depends heavily on the situation. This is only something you can answer when it’s actually occurring.