What should I do when the ATC told me No. 7, traffic to follow is on left downwind

image Do I need to count planes on final? It is hard to count 6 planes ahead of me. I don’t think I need to count planes on right downwind, right? I was also on left downwind.

Shouldn’t be too hard. Just enter the pattern and follow the plane closest to you. If you feel the need to count, go ahead, but ATC shouldn’t tell you to follow a plane you wouldn’t be following anyway.

But I did not extend upwind, the other plane did. So other planes are at the right, as I am on left downwind

I’m a bit confused. The traffic is on left downwind, as were you. It shouldn’t matter if they extended as you were still following them

Something like this. I think.
X means a plane. V means velocity

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Yep so the plane you want to follow is the one to the right of you…the only other one on left downwind. (The other one is turning left base)

So you slow wayyyy down and turn to the right a bit to get behind the other plane.


When ATC assigns you a sequence, it can be difficult to know exactly where you fit in. What’s important is to look around and listen. If tower tells you that you are number 7, that mean that at that time there are 6 aircraft ahead of you. Those aircraft could be on final, left or right base, left or right downwind, or approaching the pattern.

Count, starting at the closest aircraft to the runway, and go out until you get to 7, which should be you.

Here’s a great tutorial put together by one of our highly-skilled ATCs: The Art of Sequencing: A Guide to Success


what i do when on busy airspace is not just listen to ypur commands but stay active with atc. whrn atc tells you number 7. listen to it. ATC will tell someone number 6 pay attention who he is… if you missed it scroll your log and find out. simply find no 6. and follow that aircraft in. thats what i do. this will also help ypu achieve good spacing as you know who is ahead of you.


The more confusing thing is that the Warsaw airport actually has two runways. I cannot tell which aircraft is inbound for which one.

Yep, it can get confusing and there is not much you can do than actively listening to the radio comms to get some hints. That way from the landing clearance you can hear who is on what runway and was sequenced as what number.
I believe irl they will specify the type of the aircraft which makes it much easier to follow, but for now we have to make some sacrifices for having such a clean and intuitive design of the ATC system


Unfortunately pilots can only work out who’s going where, by listening to the radio messages. So let’s do that.

The art of sequencing, listed here by @tomthetank provides good general info.

Now to your specific case here: you’re number 7, so it’s not your turn to (turn base and) land yet; that’s for sure. From what I see and read you’re already on left downwind, just as the aircraft you need to follow. When you’re not clear who exactly you need to follow, the best you can do (being number 7) is to widen your approach and extend downwind. And wait for a re-sequence. Often ATCs provide new sequence info, to create more clarity. Just wait for this and check your radar to see who is communicating.

Hope this helps


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