Courtesy and Safety Considerations
And, there is the courtesy issue. While a common method of “flying wide” may help the faster/slower issue, it does nothing to “merge” the traffic and make it easier to see and follow in the pattern. How many times have you been told you were number “X”, and you could find all but one of those targets – and that one wound up being wide and low – or wide and high?
From a safety perspective, getting your airplane into a configuration that will allow for good flow and orderly progression to the airport also helps the controllers at controlled airports, as well as pilots at non-controlled airports. So why, then, do so many pilots not use, or shy from using, flaps on their approaches? I chalk it up to either lack of recent training or fear of flaps – and we can do something about both of those. It is an easy one to do, and it will make you look like a hero when the pilots with whom you fly find how much easier they can deal with patterns and approaches.