Unable Pattern Work

Let’s say you are on expert and you plan to flight circuits. You are first in line, and you request takeoff to remain in the pattern. ATC then says you are cleared for takeoff but they are “unable pattern work”. What do you do in that situation? You can’t turn around, because there’s no room to. You can’t just do it anyway, or you’ll get your ass ghosted to next Saturday. You can’t sit there and file a flightplan, because if you do, you’ll be holding back a line. Really, the only solution I see is to leave.

What are you supposed to do?

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ATC command: Cleared for takeoff, unable pattern work, straight out departure approved

Did the last part ring a bell?

It should be mentioned in the ATIS before you push, but anyways I would depart straight out, do an FPL and fly elsewhere.

DONT take off and call inbound


No, it doesn’t actually…

Well that’s what the command says, look at the log or listen carefully when you do it next time

I believe it does say that in the ATIS. Sometimes I’ll look back to the ATIS to make sure I read it through

“Straight Out departure.”. You depart straight out of the runway heading.
If I were in this situation, I would just takeoff and then land at a nearby airport.

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The controller is simply telling you that it is to busy to do circuits and patterns. Takeoff with a straight-out departure (RWY heading until out of the airport’s airspace) then continue to your destination.

Depart straight out as told to by ATC and then fly to a nearby field for patterns.

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But you don’t have a planned destination…

Then land at a nearby airport or airfield :)

And if you listen carefully or read it, the ATIS does inform about whether you should do a “Straight Out Departure”.

So here’s what I’m picking up:

If it’s not mentioned in ATIS, and you end up in this situation, you depart straight out of the airspace. Then you land somewhere else, or leave once you are in uncontrolled airspace.

I’ll be honest, it should be on the ATIS, it’s a requirement for us

Straight out departures on the ATIS is used to ease your app/dep controllers load so planes won’t crash into each other on a parallel departure. No pattern work is a separate button


I guess sometimes I don’t listen as well as I should. Thanks for the info guys.

This has happened to me once. I requested pattern work and was told unable pattern work. I took off, straight out, left the airspace and returned to the airspace 10min later for a full stop landing. The controller was not that busy when i left but there were quite a few inbound aircraft at the time i took off. I did not get ghosted.

Unable Pattern Work = Leave the airspace, go to another airport, and do patterns where you will not be interfering with ATC operations due to work load or poor weather.

That’s what you’re supposed to do. ✅


Question answered by multiple folks.