"Remaining in the Pattern" violation

Continuing the discussion from Pattern altitude assigned by tower:

Pilots should receive a violation if they say they are doing pattern work, and instead leave the airspace. As soon as they claim they are doing pattern work it would trigger a virtual-geofence around that airport with a radius of about 10-15 nm. Any thoughts?


This doesn’t work, what if you have to vector people around because its busy at the time of the pattern work? You can’t just freeze their position… ;)


Make the radius bigger? If you’re handed off to approach it’s not really pattern work, is it? I’d consider that a new inbound flight.

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When I am on approach I always take care of the pattern work as it will be a big mess if approach & tower will sequence for the same runway. The best is when this is done by one person.


Good point…

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@Aernout…you’re correct i see this alot and it does get messy and screw ups do happen…but violations when airspace is busy could implemented,cause even though a controller says “pattern work is not accepted”…pilots still ask,or simply just remain in the pattern"…so good point/suggestion @Swang007 & @Aernout.

I like the concept but I also agree with @Aernout that this version of the idea doesn’t work. There is a good idea in there somewhere though. Maybe ATC can impose the violation…which is less penalizing than ghosting.


I always had the question, how far from the airport should/can you venture out so to speak if you are doing pattern work?

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I believe that approach is still responsible for pattern work in case of large aircraft, like go-arounds. Those aircraft don’t have the best turning radius.

Being an ATC on IF, I hate pilots that say remaining in the pattern but they fly out and above the airspace. But I think that they need to learn what “remaining in the pattern” means.



Interesting question :smile:

It all depends on the amount of traffic around at first as must important is to remain safe, 2nd consideration is the altitude at which you fly he pattern.

If you do a visual pattern, so when you stay on tower frequency and you are the only one, you can use 3 sec for every 100 feet you are above aerodrome level. This timing will start when passing abeam the landing runway threshold. So for 1500 feet you get 45 seconds.

@Swang007 would you care to write a tutorial on pattern work?

I use ‘remaining in the pattern’ because I want to expres to Tower that I planning to stay in line and wait my turn (to take off). From what I read above, this is not how it works. Sk my questions is: how does it work?

Looking forward…

I see your issue. This is similar to what I first thought- I thought that remaining in the pattern meant taking off in the same way as the last person. This is not correct. There are already tutorials on this. I will find one for you, and then @azeeunwl you in it, it should appear in your notifications.
Edit: It’s done! Credit to @BBJMAX for the tutorial.

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Remaining in the pattern means: "I will stay in your tower airspace and will be flying a circuit and come in for landing or for touch and go’s. There are 2 tutorials in the “tutorials” chapter. If you have any more questions just PM me, you can PM me in Dutch to make it more easy ;).


I think some pilots are just to lazy to say “Departing West” or whatever.

I suspect there are many casual players who just don’t know and select the option which seems to fit. An interesting question is what is the %age of casual players v aircraft nerds play on the ATC playground server? This may help answer your question.

29 - super de duper nerd :)

CORRECTION! you can remain in the pattern for touch and goes OR

Remaining in the pattern can also mean leaving the pattern in a direction opposite to how your taking off.

Lets say I am leaving KLAX for example, I am in a Cessna and am flying VFR. I take off at runway 25L “remaining in the pattern” this lets the TOWER aware of what I am doing. When following the pattern normally you enter in on a downwind at 45 degrees and leave the downwind at 45 degrees. so lets say instead of heading out over the coast I want to make left traffic head towards the east. This also depends on the airspace you have recently been cleared for early talking to ATC.

Reminder there are air traffic controllers and TOWER controllers and Ground controllers.

back on topic: so I am on the downwind for 25L and now I am ready to make my departure to the east. I leave the pattern according to the pattern instructions ( 45 degree exit of downwind) and now I am out of he pattern and also away from the departing and the arriving traffic from the runway.

OR you can just remain in the pattern and contact the tower and report I am left base for 25L. You will most likely get clearance to land ( TOWER WILL NOT TELL YOU WHEN TO TURN FINAL!!!)

Keep in mind while flying in the pattern you MUST maintain the pattern altitude (Generally about 2500’MSL above the airport for major airports)

Granted this is a video game but its always nice to get some actual knowledge.

NOW to the question NO There shall not be a barrier locking the people who are doing pattern work. Towers should just keep and eye on them when they are flying. PILOTS follow the pattern diagram and follow Towers instructions!

Happy flying!!!

Castle 55

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I totally AGREE

The way that I see the scenario of using the pattern to set yourself up for a desired heading is that if you do declare you’re ‘remaining in the pattern’, once you’re on downwind you have to contact tower and say 'requesting departure to the [direction]. If you just randomly leave the pattern, the tower can’t possibly know your intentions and in those scenarios it’s best to be explicit.

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