Go-Around - The Answer to an Unsafe Situation Or an Unstable Approach

By Jeff Aafedt

A go-around or missed approach is a maneuver executed by the pilot if his aircraft is not stabilized on approach for landing or able to make a safe or normal landing or if instructed by the control tower in the event there is an object, vehicle or aircraft on the runway. There are other circumstances that are causes for a go-around and they are but not limited to not receiving landing clearance, a dangerous meteorological condition, certain instrument warnings during certain types of instrument approaches, extreme variations in airspeed, unsafe landing gear, and numerous birds reported in the touchdown zone of the runway or losing visual contact with the runway.

A go-around does not itself constitute any sort of emergency but it can be in response to an emergency. A properly executed go-around is a safe and well practiced maneuver. It is a maneuver that is executed close to the ground and must have a sense of urgency when executed as the purpose is to get the aircraft away from the ground and set up for another approach and landing or a diversion to an alternate airport. Because they come without warning to the passengers or cabin crew and are unexpected they can be a cause of flying anxiety and lead to a fear of flying for passengers.

Some airlines actually require the briefing of proper go-around procedures under certain types of approaches and meteorological conditions. Because the go-around mandates the application of full power this can be a cause of anxiety and concern to the nervous flyer. After the application of full power the aircraft is rotated quite abruptly to its appropriate climb attitude and accelerated to its traffic pattern airspeed. It is also a very noisy time in the cabin with the application of full power, the retraction of the landing gear and also the retraction of wing flaps. It is also a very disappointing time to passengers who have tight connections for their next flight.

Many modern aircraft such as Airbus and Boeing have the ability to fly a go-around on autopilot simply by the pilot pushing a go-around button on the throttles. Once this button is pushed the aircraft automatically applies climb power, begins a rotation at approximately 2 to 3 degrees per second to the go-around pitch attitude and fly's the appropriate missed approach procedure. The pilots are still responsible for monitoring the aircraft's performance and are responsible for retracting the landing gear and wing flaps. Airbus manufactured aircraft in addition will not only execute the published missed approach but enter the holding pattern as well if necessary.

After the aircraft is cleaned up and the cockpit workload has decreased the Captain will determine whether another approach will be briefed and flown to the original destination or if the cause of the go-around will require a diversion to the alternate airport.

The bottom line, the go-around is a safe maneuver and should cause no concern for the passengers.

Written by retired military fighter pilot and commercial airline pilot and instructor Jeff Aafedt. For more answers and resources about flying, commercial aviation and questions and answers most oftenly asked by the anxious and fearful flyers visit http://www.fearofflyingselfhelpcenter.com

To purchase an E-book written by the author and Titled "I'm Not Afraid to Fly Anymore, Answers to The Most Commonly Asked Questions by Fearful and Anxious Flyers" visit: http://www.fearofflyingselfhelpcenter.com/ebook.html

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