What is the traffic pattern for DCA?

Yesterday I was controlling KDCA on the training server and the visual approach of runway 19 was in use. That made me wonder what the standard traffic pattern is and how I should map that out with the River Visual added on.

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Looks like right traffic for 19


I hope this will help, if not take a look above. If it were me, I would also look at IRL traffic patterns at DCA

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there is no traffic pattern, patternwork isn’t permitted


Thank you for clarifying that and with that my question has been answered.

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Pattern work availability is up to the discretion of the controller. There must exist a standard traffic pattern.

Well, its a question of reality vs IF.

In reality, there are no training flights and pattern work is not permitted.

In IFATC, you are obligated to provide a pattern unless traffic or terrain inhibits it.


The purpose of a traffic pattern isn’t just for providing pattern work.

In IF, everything is up to the controller. However, in real life, you may if you would like take your CFI/CFII on a training XC flight to DCA in your Cessna 172. Just do the TSA paperwork and strap in the security officer.

Well, why must there be a published traffic pattern? Let’s say it’s 3AM, you got cleared for the visual approach into 19. A go around was called due to an unstable approach. What’s tower going to do? There is no one in the airspace - sending you back to Potomac would only cause an unnecessary 40 minute delay. Now it’s where the traffic pattern comes in. East of DCA is no-no zone. However, west of DCA is mostly benign: the establishment of the right traffic pattern means that tower can just clear you to make right traffic for 19 and you’ll be on the ground in a few minutes.

In conclusion, a traffic pattern exists at DCA, in real life and on IF.

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The best way to get traffic patterns is look up flights on flightradar24 try to find IRL pilots pilots traffic patterns at that airport

Send the aircraft to Potomac

Oh well

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