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Go-arounds Too Dangerous?  
User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4046 times:

I've always been amazed that go-around landing aborts are so common because they seem very risky. I've personally been on two commercial flights where this was done because other aircraft were on the runway.

I thought in aviation there is a safety margin for almost every procedure. What if the pilots don't happen to hear the go-around request from ATC? They could be on the wrong frequency. They could just have troubl hearing ATC. If they don't hear the request, then everyone dies?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFuturecaptain From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4035 times:

There is a safety margin built in. That is why on final airliners are kept miles apart. I'd estimate more that half the time a go around is not issued by ATC but done by the pilots because they dont like some aspect of the approach. They should not be on the wrong frequency, you stay with the tower until you are clear of the runway most of the time.
While go arounds are not normal or an every day occurance for most pilots they are usually nothing to worry about. They are a practiced maneuver and more often than not it is a non-event and the plane circles once to land.


User currently offlineFlight152 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 3394 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4035 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
They could be on the wrong frequency.

They were already on tower frequency when being cleared to land.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
They could just have troubl hearing ATC. If they don't hear the request, then everyone dies?

They should clearly be able to see the aircraft on the runway, if that is the case in your situation. The pilot need to make the choice to go around, regardless of what tower says.


User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4029 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
What if the pilots don't happen to hear the go-around request from ATC? They could be on the wrong frequency. They could just have troubl hearing ATC. If they don't hear the request, then everyone dies?

Quite often the pilots choose to do the go-around without ATC involvement... ATC is notified once the workload goes down (usually climbing through a couple hundred feet).

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I've always been amazed that go-around landing aborts are so common because they seem very risky.

Think of a go-around as a takeoff that starts at when you rotate. For my airline, our takeoff and go-around profiles are exactly the same after rotation or adding in thrust (depending on if its a takeoff or goaround). When we're going around/going missed... its just like we're taking off, only we didn't start with a takeoff roll.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I've personally been on two commercial flights where this was done because other aircraft were on the runway.



Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I thought in aviation there is a safety margin for almost every procedure.

Going around in a situation like this is by far the safer choice compared with not going around. Go arounds are the safety margin.. for landings.


User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1648 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3947 times:

You are being quite melodromatic; the go-around is the safety margin. Non-pilots tend to make a lot out of this ho-hum operation.

99% of the time, the other aircraft on the runway is waaay down the runway and just hasn't cleared, yet.

You might want to go out to the local flight school, get into a 172 with a flight isntructor, and have him/her show you what a big nothing is a go-around. Have the instructor do four go-arounds and, on the fourth one, you will be bored stiff by the whole business.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3931 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I've always been amazed that go-around landing aborts are so common because they seem very risky. I've personally been on two commercial flights where this was done because other aircraft were on the runway.

A go around is the safer option. It's "easier" to go around than to land. There may be a lot of sound and fury, but the greater risk would be to land a non stabilized aircraft, or plow into another plane.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):

I thought in aviation there is a safety margin for almost every procedure. What if the pilots don't happen to hear the go-around request from ATC? They could be on the wrong frequency. They could just have troubl hearing ATC. If they don't hear the request, then everyone dies?

If they don't hear the request (most unlikely) they'll definitely see the other aircraft. If you're talking low visibility ops, the spacing between aircraft is much increased, the hold lines used are further from runways and positive radio confirmation is required for both holding short and clearing the runway.

Furthermore, if either pilot calls "go around" for whatever reason, it is illegal to continue the landing. If one pilot gets a "bad feeling", this is not the time for the other pilot to question his/her instinct. A go around gives pilots time and space to evaluate options in a safe and controlled manner.

That's your safety margin.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3929 times:

And as for troublesome comms, it works the other way around. If you do not hear "cleared to land" you cannot land.

An aircraft should never be cleared to land unless it is confirmed safe to land. The requirements would include a clear runway.



I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlinePilotaydin From Turkey, joined Sep 2004, 2539 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3884 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
What if the pilots don't happen to hear the go-around request from ATC? They could be on the wrong frequency. They could just have troubl hearing ATC. If they don't hear the request, then everyone dies?

well, he's asking so let us pilots tell you. There isn't a procedure for EVERY situation, that's where your experience and airmanship come into play....going around...there are 2 climb gradienst a missed approach climb gradient, and a landing climb gradient...i forgot the numbers off the top of my head, something around 2.3 and 3.2 for the other, not too sure, but these all provide obstacle clearance in the event of a go around and engine failure, so there is nothing to worry about. As for the actual go around, it may seem a lil shaky and dramatic for a pax, but trust me, it's totally harmless...

if you're on the frequency and you've made it anywhere near the runway, then chances are that you won't encounter the situation you talked about, let's say that you lost radios on final, you have the help of your tcas to say the least, if it's bad weather and ur not sure if the a/c ahead of you has cleared the runway....guess what? GO AROUND  Smile and proceed to the IAF and carry out the full approach with 7600  Wink



The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3872 times:

Having done an uncounted number of missed approaches, rejected landings, go-arounds or whatever I am struggling to think of anything inherently "dangerous" about them. Especially when compared with the alternative in each situation.

They are very low drama. I recognize that they startle passengers who were expecting to land at that time. Seasoned travelers always seem to check their wristwatch when a go-around happens. "Damn! I'm going to be late for my meeting!" For the nervous flyers we like to make a quick PA once the intial flurry of activity is over.

* * *


You are driving down the freeway in the right lane; I was coasting down final approach for a landing.

A car enters the freeway from the right, maybe a hundred yards ahead of you; a plane that was supposed to exit my runway at taxiway K is unable to do so and will have to proceed down to taxiway L.

You change lanes to the left; I do a go-around.

Has there been an emergency?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3837 times:

Quoting FredT (Reply 6):
An aircraft should never be cleared to land unless it is confirmed safe to land. The requirements would include a clear runway.

That would certainly seem like a sensible idea, however in the US for example "clear to land after..." clearances are very common. An aircraft can be given clearance to land even when the aircraft in front of it is still in the air. Therefore a situation can easily arise where an aircraft has clearance, and then is told to go around before actually landing because the aircraft in front hasn't vacated the runway quickly enough.

In the UK there is definitely a more sensible approach, where clearance can only be given when the runway is clear. If you listen to LHR ATC for example, you'll often hear that the clearance can be given extremely late for this very reason - the ATC will wait until the runway is completely clear.


User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5413 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3824 times:

Quoting Star_world (Reply 9):
however in the US for example "clear to land after..." clearances are very common. An aircraft can be given clearance to land even when the aircraft in front of it is still in the air. Therefore a situation can easily arise where an aircraft has clearance, and then is told to go around before actually landing because the aircraft in front hasn't vacated the runway quickly enough.

Actually it's not even a 'land after..' ...just 'cleared to land', even if you're #2 on final.

Quoting Star_world (Reply 9):
In the UK there is definitely a more sensible approach, where clearance can only be given when the runway is clear. If you listen to LHR ATC for example, you'll often hear that the clearance can be given extremely late for this very reason - the ATC will wait until the runway is completely clear.

Having flown both in the UK and USA, I do much prefer the UK/Europe method, although I'm sure the US style has not proved to be any more dangerous.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 8):
whatever I am struggling to think of anything inherently "dangerous" about them.

The only thing 'dangerous' about a go-around, is the human factor. When a go-around is performed, it changes the usual 'flow' of the descent, approach, landing phases. There have been a few cases where after a go-around, the pilot forgets to do something again, because he already did it once. For example, lower the landing gear again, forget flaps etc. This happens more with smaller aircraft, but the possibility still exists for airliners. I don't know of any examples.

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3802 times:

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 10):
The only thing 'dangerous' about a go-around, is the human factor. When a go-around is performed, it changes the usual 'flow' of the descent, approach, landing phases. There have been a few cases where after a go-around, the pilot forgets to do something again, because he already did it once. For example, lower the landing gear again, forget flaps etc. This happens more with smaller aircraft, but the possibility still exists for airliners. I don't know of any examples.

My airline has distinct seemless profiles to go from an approach/landing to a go-around to another landing. I can list off the top of my head every single callout that will be made by both pilots, exactly how the airplane will be configured, and when and which checklists will be run. "Descent, approach, go around, approach, landing" is a flow too

Like I said in my previous post, once the goaround is initiated, it is just a takeoff that didn't start on the runway. Coming back to land is just like if we were to takeoff with the intention of "flying the pattern" and coming back for a landing.


User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5413 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3736 times:

Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 11):
My airline has distinct seemless profiles to go from an approach/landing to a go-around to another landing. I can list off the top of my head every single callout that will be made by both pilots, exactly how the airplane will be configured, and when and which checklists will be run. "Descent, approach, go around, approach, landing" is a flow too

Yes, I'm sure it is almost 'normal' for an airline operation, which I why I did mention incidents happening with smaller (Part135/91) ops. I agree the go-around procedure is a flow too....but a far less common one, and therefore does have more risks involved...however small that risk might be, and a go-around is often executed under high-stress conditions...for example, an aircraft crossing runway at the last minute.

Also, a very near-miss with an A320/DC10 in Sydney highlights the human-error factors...from the synopsis:

"It is evident that crew co-ordination broke down somewhat as the go-around was initiated, because the company standard hand-over/tak-over procedure was not employed. "

As long as it's by the book...it's OK.


Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently onlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 927 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3731 times:

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 10):
This happens more with smaller aircraft, but the possibility still exists for airliners. I don't know of any examples.

Not if the pilots are well trained. I was part of a very small (one airplane, two pilots) corporate department for a year or so, and I had to do a few missed approaches in my time. Honestly, a missed approach is a basic flight maneuver, even in IMC at an uncontrolled airport in mountainous terrain - apply takeoff/go-around power (depending on your aircraft) while simultaneously raising the nose to establish a positive rate of climb, clean the aircraft up as much as possible, adjust trim settings as necessary and follow any missed approach instructions, simple as that. Only after that do you worry about radio communications, and only after that still do you worry about dealing with your passengers...really, its no different than taking off, only you don't start on the ground.

As for communications, the tower will often tell you that they have you in the missed approach and to contact the applicable control agency (departure, terminal, etc.) when able, so there is no rush to broadcast your intentions. Even at an uncontrolled airport, by the time you get the airplane established in the missed approach, you will often be able to announce your intentions well before anyone else on frequency would be expecting a "down and clear" call. Really, it all comes down to the old adage in aviation; AVIATE, NAVIGATE, COMMUNICATE in that order only.

[Edited 2006-10-23 00:59:25]


Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5413 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3692 times:

Quoting MrChips (Reply 13):
really, its no different than taking off, only you don't start on the ground.

I fully understand and I am actually a pilot, so very familiar with missed approaches and go-arounds.

As I already mentioned, in reply to the original question, of course a go-around is standard procedure, and in no way dangerous.

I was really playing devils advocate, in saying that however small the increased risks are, there are inherently more risks involved in doing a go-around, than continuing the landing (if you ignore the reason for the go-around in the first place of course Wink).

For single pilot operations that don't operate under strict checklist controls (as they do in Part 121), there have been more than one example where on the second landing attempt the pilot has forgotten to lower the gear again.

Of course, since we were talking airlines anyway, it's fairly irrelevant  Smile ...and it's obvious there is a reason for performing a go-around and far more risks would be incurred by continuing the landing.

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3666 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I thought in aviation there is a safety margin for almost every procedure.

There is a safety margin in aviation.. but there is not one dangerous thing about a go around. I always give a silent chuckle everytime I read here on A.net that it 'freaked' someone out to be on one. In my 10+ years in aviation I've seen well over 100. I've been on around 20 or so as a passenger.....most planned as part of Flight Testing and twice on one flight. The Glide Slope was acting up on a rainy, dark night trying to get into PWM.

[Edited 2006-10-23 04:51:30]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 60
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 3501 times:

Go arounds on MadDogs are quite interesting..just love the thrust on them when pulling up.....




"Up the Irons!"
User currently offlineBuckfifty From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 1316 posts, RR: 20
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3464 times:

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 10):
Actually it's not even a 'land after..' ...just 'cleared to land', even if you're #2 on final.

Well, they do tell you there's traffic on the runway when they give you landing clearance.

We train for go-arounds so often that it normally just runs like clockwork. The ones I've been involved with were quite serene, just as if it were part of our normal routine. I go through the procedure all the time in my head, as part of normal ops.

Insofar as I know, there hasn't been an accident involving airliners doing a go-around (a colleage of mine suffered an engine failure during the initial go-around a while back, but that's a minor detail). But there has been accidents where pilots chose not to go-around, or made the decision to go too late, and thus suffered the consequences.

What's the worst thing that could happen if you do go-around? Certainly, the company cannot fire you, because you deemed there was a safety issue to continue. Right or wrong, as long as you choose the safe option, then no one can blame you for the result.

Quoting Jacobin777 (Reply 16):
Go arounds on MadDogs are quite interesting..just love the thrust on them when pulling up.....

I love it when the kid starts crying, right on cue.


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3462 times:

Quoting Buckfifty (Reply 17):
Insofar as I know, there hasn't been an accident involving airliners doing a go-around

There is a rule-of-thumb that says that you don't get hurt colliding with the sky. Good stuff to remember.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineFlyMatt2Bermud From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 563 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3448 times:

Quoting Buckfifty (Reply 17):
I love it when the kid starts crying, right on cue.

I thought it was the crew.



"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward" Leonardo Da Vinci
User currently offlineDeltamike172 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3420 times:

Two things.

The few go arounds I've experienced as a passenger on an airline have been very interesting. That phase of flight seems different, in that you can tell its being hand flown and the pilots are going step by step through what they're trained to do. They are very smooth, deliberate and concise when flown compared to the autopilot flying, or vectors to final. Its not meant to be all comfy for the passengers, yet the pilots fly it so well, its relativaly relaxing.

Second, back to the thought on "what if the pilots loose their radios" or "what if they're not on freq" for any reason. Please go back to the first transmissions made to the aircraft from tower when they DEPARTED, and then think about every transmission made to that aircraft after that, from departure, center, approach and then tower again. Could be up to 50 transmissions, even more on a long flight. Now lets think about how "what if he's not on freq" could affect decisions on all of them. It SHOULD hurt your head to think about it. Things like that ARE considered heavily, and the solution is....... Tell the other aircraft to alter course in some way to avert a crash. Both planes lost freqs you say? Pray that TCAS is working. TCAS's are broke on both planes? Its a big sky out there. I say we use it.

DM


User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1648 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3360 times:

I love it when the kid starts crying, right on cue.

Kid? I thought it was the thread-starter.


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