Remaining in the pattern with departure / approach present

I was at EDDL today on expert and wanted to complete a pattern before departing for EHAM.

ATIS included the instruction that only straight out departures were allowed.

I requested takeoff with ‘remaining in the pattern’. Tower replied C4T, make left traffic. Once airborne I was handed off to departure. I was still flying RW hdg.

DEP had me turn to the right and then handed me off to approach.

From an ATC perspective everything was executed perfectly.

The confusing part is ‘make left traffic’. As a (non IFATC) controller I have wished there was a cleared for takeoff, fly runway heading command. Maybe because there is no such cmd make left / right traffic is the best option?

This isn’t a complaint in any way! Just clarifying.



It could have been an accident. With approach in the picture it was up to approach to get you back in the pattern but ATC needed to give you a direction.


Who was the IFATC controller. I was at EDDL controlling today. What time was it? What was tour Callsign?


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Tower was Alex W. DEP / APP was IFATCristian-AFKLM.

The handoff from tower -> DEP -> APP -> tower were done well and I was appropriately vectored at all times. The potential conflict would have been if I followed “make left traffic” instead of flying RW hdg.

It the correct response from tower ‘unable pattern work’ in this instance?

I was Lufthansa 479. This was about 20 min ago.

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Im the contoller. Im controlling now later i read your post and reply to you🙏✌️

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Hello! I will try to explain what happened to your employer. you requested takeoff remainning in the pattern. I indicated cleared for take off make left traffic, up there well. The fact is that there is a departure controller, and it is he who definitely directs his flight so as not to enter into conflict with other aircraft. Both I and the departure controller were in contact by other means, I told him that you were in pattern work so that he would take it into account. but I insist, it is the departure driver who directs his exit from the runway.

The work is different as only tower control. It depends of the volume of traffic too

Thanks Cristian. Will keep that in mind for the future. Sounds like my intuition was correct. It is too bad there isn’t a ‘fly RW hdg’ cmd.

Great controlling today from both you and Alex W today.

No this command dont exist. We can do 2 things: give you to departure frequency, or stay on tower frequecy. In this case you efectively must to do left traffic, but i have lot of traffic on te ground and i cant see every time the traffic incomming controlled by approach controller

I understand it doesn’t exist. I am suggesting that FSD should add that as a command as I think it would add clarity for both controllers and pilots.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss my question!

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Thanks for you for request explanations, is usefull for all. We work to made your flights as funny as possible

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Thanks @DenverChris for coming to the forum to seek clarification. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page I just wanted to empathize what should happen under these circumstances.

Tower should always keep pattern work (because the aircraft are flying a VFR pattern). If the tower controller does not deem pattern work acceptable, which could be due to weather below VFR minima or if they are too busy (as we see on FNF etc), then they can deny pattern work.

If pattern work is accepted, they should clear you for take-off and issue left/right traffic, They should then ‘sequence’ you (if required) and ‘clear you for the option’.

If they are not accepting pattern work, then they would deny this request (if it was requested at take-off) and after departure, would hand you off to the radar frequency that is active, or if there is no radar facility available, issue a ‘frequency changed approved’ message.

Radar facilities (i.e. approach and departure) are not involved in VFR pattern work. You can of course take-off, check in with approach and request an approach back at the airport, which would be a radar pattern, but if the controller is busy they may ask you to go elsewhere instead (it might be a good idea not to do this on FNF or when you can see we have a lot of inbound aircraft!).

Generally speaking however, all controllers are encouraged to allow pattern work when the weather permits to gain more practice and to offer a better service to the pilots.

Hope this helps and please shout if you have any questions!

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A perfect explanation @RAH .
As you see @DenverChris I have had some mistakes regarding what happened to you. For this I ask you to apologize publicly, and I thank you for requesting clarifications.
In this way, together we make this game bigger.
Greetings and I hope that we will meet again in the IF skies.


@Cristian_Gonzalez … no apologies needed! We are all learning together and I don’t expect you guys to be perfect. I wasn’t sure what the right answer was in that situation either.

Thanks for clarifying @RAH.



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