The only time 747s become more prone to more go-arounds vs. other aircraft are when the airplane is approaching max landing weight. The speed of the approach at max landing weight is on the high side (160-165kts), so a great deal of runway is required for the landing. There can be no obstacle whatsoever on the runway or any potential for obstruction, as once the wheels are down, it is very hard to get back off the deck. Not impossible, but very hard. As a result, most pilots tend to be very conservative on the approach at high weights and speeds. In the sim, when flying the 747-400 near max landing weight, I have a lot of difficulty keeping the aircraft on the glideslope without either the autoland system, or if hand flying, a lot of throttle input...max flaps and keep the HSI just above center. Ground effect kicks in at about 500 feet and if everything is not configured properly by 200 feet (decision height), you must go around or have a very hard landing. At 200 feet, you can firewall the engines and with the flaps full down at 160 kts, you can pull up one notch to kill the sink and at 180 kts, pull back to 15 degrees, positive climb, gear up, clean up, accelerate to 250kts and 3000 feet and make a big 360 turn (however ATC turns you) back around for another approach.
Now, insofar as go arounds are concerned, they are no big deal. They just extend the flight time another 20 minutes or so for the pilots to bring the aircraft around for another approach. I have had only three of them in 30 years of flying. The closest to landing was at Denver Stapleton in a United DC10, when we got down to 50 feet and then suddenly bailed out of the landing and climbed out and circled Denver for four orbits, then landed. The crew kept us informed the entire time...the flight crew spotted something on the runway as they were making their flair and decided to go around and have the airport have a look at the runway. All it turned out to be was an exceptionally large piece of ice kicked up by another aircraft on landing, so once it had been removed the runway was fine. The piece of ice was large enough that it had the potential to seriously damage a larger aircraft; so it was a good call on the part of our captain. Either way, I don't really care if he made a mistake. As long as any action is taken in a conservative manner and as long as the action is taken in the interest of safety, I really don't care. I put my life in the flight crew's hands every time I step on board on airplane.
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998