Figure 8s on the approach end, especially over rising terrain is dangerous. If I have to do a figure 8 or S turn on my final approach then I’ve already f*ed up somewhere in the pattern. It’s fine for the more advanced pilots to perform and is good to add to your bag of tricks when there is no traffic, but it is a disservice to teach or encourage low time pilots to use this as a crutch to make up for sloppy pattern work. An example of a “crutch” built into instructions is when a new skier is taught to do a wedge or snowplow, to help them slow down. Then they spend many lessons trying to overcome this bad habit that they acquired. Tim is right that a person behind the landing aircraft needs to have reasonable expectations of what the person in front of them is going to do. Sylmar has a designated staging area to loose altitude before you enter the pattern. All traffic follows the same pattern even in a crosswind. Many incidents have occurred in the past because of pilots maneuvering close to the terrain. Now compound this with multiple traffic maneuvering back and forth on final, all trying to land at the same place.