CAT-03 Flight: Class D Airport Pattern Work
Conduct 3 laps of the traffic pattern at San Luis County Regional Airport (KSBP).
- Become familiar with radio communications during pattern operations at a Class D airport.
- Demonstrate the ability to fly a traffic pattern.
Flying the Rating
To successfully complete this rating you must accomplish the following tasks:
- Fly three laps of the traffic pattern at KSBP
- Inform ATC on initial contact at KSBP that you are performing the CAT-3 Rating.
- Meet the CAT Ratings Practical Test Standards
KSBP is located in Class D airspace. In order to operate in Class D airspace you must establish two way radio communication with ATC by calling them and having them reply with your callsign.
When departing from a towered airport you will need to contact ground control prior to operating on any movement area (any taxiway or runway). Prior to calling get the ATIS.
When calling ground include your callsign, location, direction of departure, and the ATIS code.
N123AB: “San Luis Ground, Cessna 123AB, transient parking, request pattern work, taxi with echo.”
Ground will issue a runway assignment and a taxiway route.
San Luis Ground: “Cessna 123AB, San Luis Ground, runway 29 taxi via alpha.”
You are required to read back the runway assignment, and it’s a good idea to read back the taxiways as well.
N123AB: “Runway 29 taxi via alpha, Cessna 123AB.”
Ready for Departure
When you are at the end of the runway you can switch to tower frequency. Note unlike when arriving you are allowed to switch to tower without the ground controller specifically telling you.
N123AB: “San Luis Tower, Skyhawk 123AB, holding short runway 29.”
SBP Tower: “Skyhawk 123AB, San Luis Tower. Make left traffic. Runway 29, cleared for takeoff.”
or “…Left closed traffic approved. Runway 29, cleared for takeoff.”
N123AB: “Runway 29, cleared for takeoff. Make left traffic. Cessna 123AB.”
The tower controller may ask you to “Report midfield downwind,” or “Report base.” Make your reports as appropriate, but only if requested by the tower controller.
Conduct a standard traffic pattern around Runway 29. The tower controller will clear you to perform:
(a) the option, which allows you to conduct a touch-and-go, stop-and-go, go around, low approach, or full-stop landing (e.g. “Runway 29, cleared for the option.”);
(b) a touch-and-go, which only allows you to conduct a touch-and-go (e.g. “Runway 29, cleared touch and go.”); or
© a full stop landing, which only permits you to conduct a full-stop landing (e.g. “Runway 29, cleared to land.”).
You are required to conduct 3 laps in the traffic pattern to complete this rating. During the 3rd lap, or whenever you decide to make a full-stop landing, advise the tower controller of your intentions to make a full-stop. If you have already been cleared for the option, the tower controller is not expected to re-issue a landing clearance, because a clearance for an “option” permits you to make a full-stop landing.
Exit the runway without delay onto the first available taxiway. Do not exit onto Runway 25 unless instructed to do so by Tower. Remain on the tower frequency until advised. (Note that Tower may elect to have you remain on the tower frequency.)
After landing use the communication procedures detailed in the CAT-02 flight to return to the ramp.
The tower controller’s job is to ensure runway separation will exist for all departures and arrivals. The tower will also issue traffic information and sequencing. Here are some examples.
SBP Tower: “Skyhawk 3AB, traffic Bell helicopter departing the ramp southbound.”
N123AB: “Traffic in sight, Skyhawk 3AB.”
SBP Tower: “Skyhawk 3AB, traffic, Cessna ahead and to your right, northbound at 2,000.”
N123AB: “Looking for traffic, Skyhawk 3AB.”
If you have the traffic in sight, report it in sight. If you don’t, advise that you are looking for the traffic.
The tower controller’s other job is to sequence arriving traffic to the airport. Here is one example:
SBP Tower: “Skyhawk 3AB, number 3, follow Cirrus ahead on downwind.”
Advise Tower if you have the traffic in sight. If you don’t, advise Tower you are “looking for traffic.” Once you report the traffic in sight, expect your landing or option clearance.
SBP Tower: Skyhawk 3AB, number 3, follow Cirrus ahead on downwind."
N123AB: “Traffic in sight, Skyhawk 3AB.”
SBP Tower: “Skyhawk 3AB, Runway 29, cleared for the option.”
In this situation, you would be expected to follow the Cirrus. Adjust your speed or the length of the downwind leg as necessary to do so. Do not make a 360 unless approved by Tower.
Tower may also instruct you to extend your downwind.
SBP Tower: “Skyhawk 3AB, extend downwind. Tower will call your base.”
N123AB: “Extending downwind, Skyhawk 3AB.”
The tower will advise you when to turn base. This will usually accompany your sequence and a landing clearance, too.
SBP Tower: “Skyhawk 3AB, turn base. Number 2, follow Cessna on 2 mile final. Runway 29, cleared to land.”
N123AB: “Turning base, looking for traffic, Runway 29, cleared to land, Skyhawk 3AB.”
N123AB: “San Luis Ground, Cessna 123AB, transient parking, request pattern work, with echo.”
San Luis Ground: “Cessna 123AB, San Luis Ground, Runway 29 taxi via alpha.”
N123AB: “Runway 29 taxi via alpha.”
When ready for departure:
N123AB: “San Luis Tower, Cessna 123AB, holding short runway 29.”
San Luis Tower: “Cessna 123AB, San Luis Tower, make left closed traffic, report midfield downwind each pass, runway 29, cleared for takeoff.”
N123AB: “Cleared for takeoff runway 29, report midfield left downwind, Cessna 123AB.”
When midfield left downwind:
N123AB: “Midfield left downwind, Cessna 123AB”
San Luis Tower: “Cessna 123AB, runway 29, cleared for the option.”
N123AB: “Cleared for the option, runway 29, Cessna 123AB.”
When requesting a full stop landing
N123AB: “Request full stop, Cessna 123AB”
San Luis Tower: “Cessna 123AB, runway 29, cleared to land.”
N123AB: “Cleared to land, runway 29, Cessna 123AB.”
When clear of the runway.
San Luis Tower: “Cessna 123AB, contact ground 121.6.”
N123AB: “Contact ground, Cessna 123AB.”
After switching to ground frequency.
N123AB: “San Luis Ground, Cessna 123AB, clear of runway 29 at foxtrot, taxi to transient parking.”
San Luis Ground: “Cessna 123AB, San Luis Ground, taxi to parking via alpha.”
N123AB: “Taxi to parking via alpha, Cessna 123AB.”
VFR Communications Manual (commercial product) provides detailed guidance on ATC communications for VFR flights.
Brief overview of how to fly a GA traffic pattern