Traffic to follow is on final


So I was approaching in EGNM and than the Atc told me “runway 19L cleared to land traffic to follow is on final” so I didn’t understand him. And continued in my original flight plan and than he told me “number 3, cleared to land traffic to follow is on final”, so I didn’t understand him again. I decided to dispawn because I was afraiding he’ll ghost me. Can someone explain me?



When was this?
Im currently controlling ENGM and i’ll be happy to PM you and explain if it was me :)



So he didn’t tell me to make some direction work, just told me to aware, right?


Also, this belongs in the #live category.


That was you, yes, I was SAS4022


Now it’s in live, OK?


Will contact after finished controlling :)


OK, thank you I’ll be here


Traffic to follow is on final is telling you where the aircraft that is sequenced in front of you is so you know where to look. In this case the number 2 aircraft was already on final.


Ohhhhh so I need to follow them? Like the Atc says “follow the aircrafts in front”?


Exactly that buddy, it’s a sequence.


Yes, you should follow them and maintain appropriate spacing. Furthermore, if you’re sequenced as number 3 you should listen out for anyone sequenced as number 4 as they will be following you 😉

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions



Thanks, I think I understand


I’ve added you to the PM :)

You’re probably way better at explaining it than me lol


I’ll throw in a short scenario explanation, just to make it easier to grasp:

Let’s imagine you’re on left downwind for runway 19L, just passing the end of the runway. There is an aircraft on a 2 mile final, and an aircraft an a 15 mile final. You are sequenced as number 2, whilst the aircraft on 15 mile final is number 3. This tells you that you are supposed to be landing after the aircraft on the 2 mile final, but before the one on the 15 mile final. It is important that you know this, because it means that you won’t be able to fly the whole 10nm downwind, and should turn sooner. Hope this makes at least some sense.



Correct. It sounds to me with the clearance you got that there were 2 aircraft already on final and you were the 3rd aircraft to be cleared.
So what happens in real world is there could of been a 4rth aircraft that called in sooner but had a much slower approach speed they may have gotten an extended downwind to allow 3 aircraft with a similar approach speed to land first preventing a go-around for any one.
So the number they give you (in your case number 3. Tell you there are 2 aircraft in front of you. Traffic to follow tells you where the aircraft that you are expected to follow is. In your case it was already on final.


Ok, I’ll see what I can do



You are right it can be confusing and we try to give you the best clearance based upon where the other aircraft are on the approach. A straight in will be on final so you could have 1 in the cone, 1 north and outside the cone but both would be on final. Under these circumstances we realize it can be confusing so we would issue updated commands if we see that it can help. I wouldn’t worry about being ghosted here, if we see a big issue we will issue updated patterns, go arounds, or missed approaches. We all make mistakes during confusing situations, just make sure you listen to the udpated commands so that we can keep all the aircraft with great separation. If you were to continue a landing after go around request that is when you should expect to be ghosted. Also, we will issue a warning before ghosting so there is time to you to correct the concern.

I hope this helps and best wishes,


A lot of people have answered your question, but if you have anymore questions about ATC, feel free to PM me, or any other member of IFATCA lot of IFATC are always willing to help


@Luke_M will explain you the specific situation that happened at your airport.

In general:

The instruction above doesn’t exist.

The ATC would have first given you a pattern entry instruction, which tells you how to approach the runway. This instruction can be complimented with a sequence instruction, telling you (1) your sequence and who to follow and (2) where this aircraft you need to follow currently is in the pattern.

The picture below shows you the pattern.

As a pilot you never enter the ILS cone straight in at a 0 degree angle. You approach via a base leg, or via a downwind leg and then a base leg.

Any more questions, @Luke_M can explain 😊