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Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

Missed Approach Experiences

Fri Jun 29, 2001 12:53 pm

Has anybody here ever experienced a missed approach or a go-around? I listen to ATC (different airports) a lot and have heard some pilots call missed approaches. Seems pretty normal for both the pilot and the ATC controller. But I wonder what it's like being a passenger in an aircraft that executes one. What was going through your mind when you saw the flaps go back up and heard the engine rev up again? Was it fun? Or was it nerve-wrecking?
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Fri Jun 29, 2001 1:11 pm

I've had go-arounds on commercial flights at LAS and SAC. LAS was a pretty eventful go-around due to a T-Storm with high winds and blowing sand at the airport and on the approach with the turbulence we were experiencing, I expected a go-around! We returned 5 min. later when things settled down a bit.

On a late night approach into SAC once, my flight went around due to fog but again after a circle around to catch the CAT II ILS, we landed uneventfully.


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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Fri Jun 29, 2001 1:25 pm

In the fall of 1986, I was aboard a Piedmont F-28 approaching Rochester, NY (ROC) on a flight from Newark, at about 10pm. We were approaching Rwy 22, and just after we passed over Brooks Avenue, a couple of thousand feet short of the threshold, the pilot jerked up the nose and hit the gas. We circled around and landed uneventfully about 10 min. later. The pilot explained that a small private plane had taxiied onto a taxiway too close to our runway, and we were instructed to abort approach and try again. By the time we returned, the small plane was clear.

In the spring of 1992, I was aboard an American MD-80 approaching the same runway, on a flight from Chicago O'Hare. We seemed unsually high off the ground, and a few miles out of the airport we abandoned approach and circled once. The pilot explained that we were approaching too high, and needed to circle once to lose enough altitude to land safely. We landed uneventfully.

Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
Tom in NO
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Fri Jun 29, 2001 1:26 pm

2 experiences come to mind:

1) a Piedmont 737-300 at Charlotte on a flight from Nashville in 1990. We were on final for 35L/36L, down to maybe 500 feet, I think someone was on the runway, and he went around and landed on the second try.

2) this one was more memorable. It was a United 737-300 on approach to runway 8 at Denver-Stapleton. We were coming in from Phoenix, I had a window seat on the right side up front. As we made a right turn to final (I could see the runway from my seat), I told my seatmate "we're too high". A minute later we started S-turning to the runway, but we ended up still being too high. Over the west edege of the airport, the pilot floored the engines, and we turned left over the airport, back to the west, over downtown Denver, and back to runway 8.

He made sure we landed this time. I thought I overheard someone ask "did we land, or were we shot down?!" afterward.

Tom in NO (at MSY)
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Fri Jun 29, 2001 2:02 pm

I've had plenty of missed approaches and go-arounds, but two recent ones stand out in memory.

a) March 2000 flying LGW-DFW on an American Airlines MD-11. Anyone familiar with the MD-11 knows about its poor handling characteristics in windshear conditions, and everyone knows about DFW's propensity for microbursts at low altitudes. To make matters worse, DFW had been hit by a tornado earlier in the day and the airport was backed up beyond belief. Our scheduled flight time of just over 10hrs had turned into a 12hr marathon by the time we were on finals to 31R. Around 300 ft, the aircraft began to shudder and our starboard wingtip suddenly dropped a few degrees. With the high level of humidity in the air, I was actually able to snap a picture of the wingtip vortex generated! Needless to say, our pilots decided to go around and we succesfully landed on 36L about 10 minutes later.

b) February 2001 on short finals into IND from MEM in a NW DC9-30. I was sitting in 1B as we made an EXTREMELY bumpy approach into Indy in a crosswind. I'm not sure what runway we were using, but I could see the airport out the window and felt that we were coming in a little too high (may just have been because of the unfamiliar runway though). Suddenly we were buffeted and dropped around 100 feet. The cockpit door came open (someone forgot to lock it!) and I could hear the audible "WHOOP WHOOP PULL UP" sounding. Once again, TOGA power was applied and we came in for a perfect touchdown a few minutes later on a different runway. I spoke to the captain while deplaning and congratulated him on a job well done, but he said that he was "sweating that one all the way after the first time round".
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Fri Jun 29, 2001 2:50 pm

I had two, they were along time ago but they were on consecutive flights, which is probably unusual and which left me bit scared for a while after.
First one was a CO 737 from Cincinnatti to Newark. Breaking through the cloud on the approach - probably a thousand or so feet up i looked below and could see a big airport...i thought hmmmm what big airport is under the approach to Newark, before i realised it was EWR itself! (I recognised SAS 767s on the ground!!) All the pilot said after was that we were too high and would go around again and interestingly asked if anyone had had a computer switched on, and if they did would they switch it off. Anyway there was no noticeable increase in power when it happened, and it was quite dull. Landing was normal in the end.

The second a few days later was much more scary. This on a US Air 737 from La Guardia to Norfolk VA. All was normal and we were about to land (we were over the threshold because looking out to the right I could see we passed another plane sitting beside the runway waiting for takeoff) We must have been only a few feet from the ground when WHAM...on went the power and we went back up.....Seriously pressed back into my seat by that....We pulled a VERY sharp left turn still at quite a low altitude about halfway down the runway I think - a really really steep turn. I was definitely sure we would crash. The pilot came on and said another plane had gone right across our path....anyway we landed normally next time. That one was frightening.

As I said they were within about a week of each other, in the mid 1990s, nothing since then.
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Violent Turbulence In Nice & The Herd Of Cows!

Fri Jun 29, 2001 3:44 pm

I´ve experienced quite a few go-arounds. I guess it pretty normal and I´ve never talked to frequent flyers that was unfamilar with go-arounds.

Some have been quite scary. I remember one back in 1993 on approach to Nice (NCE) on a BA 737-200 from LGW. We came in - quite unusual I think - over Marseille and followed the coast-line towards east/north-east towards NCE. As we were on final approach a sudden and - by all means - heavy turbulence hit the aircraft which was thrown around at low altitude. From what I learned later we dropped from around 1700 feet to almost sea level in a very short time before the crew managed to regain control of the aircraft. We climbed up again while making a right turn out over the Med and the cabincrew checked around for injuries and damage. Need I say that it was a load of appalled passengers that left the aircraft safely in Nice 25 min. later.

Another one that is very clear in my memory dates also back a few year. I was on OO-SCC (Sabena A310-300) flying from Brussels to Yaounde (Cameroon) with a stopover in Lagos (Nigeria). We were almost on the ground in Lagos when the pilots made a very steep claim. Our approach had been normal and I could not find any explaination for the sudden go-around. However me and my fellow passengers were not left with our thoughts for long as the captain - clearly laughing - informed us that a farmer had decided to cross the runway with his herd of cows while we were about to touch down!! As we landed 10 min later we saw the farmer in what seemed to be a heavy argument with the airport security  Smile/happy/getting dizzy. I spoke to our Belgian captain while the passengers for Lagos disembarked, and he said that things like the was not unfamilar in Lagos and other airports in the region. He had seen people walk and ride on bicycles along the taxiways many times - but the herd of cows on the runway was a first for him as well!
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Fri Jun 29, 2001 3:44 pm


I had a similar experience as the second one you mentioned.

I was on an Air Canada DC-9 from Calgary to Winnipeg back in the 80's so I was just a kid. But I remember it quite vividly, it was winter and the whole flight had been uneventful, almost no turbulence. Approach was normal, when the rear wheels touched down.... WHAM, pilot floors the throttle, everybody was pushed back into their seats. Shortly after, the pilot said over the intercom that there was a snow-plow on the runway, we landed normally the second time around. It kind of scared me, but not too much, just a little surprised. My sis however just about soiled her drawers I think  Nuts
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Sat Jun 30, 2001 7:13 am

I've been in three, but they they were pretty much uneventful. They were all due to an aircraft being cleared for takeoff on our runway. The first one was in October 1990 on a TWA L-1011 arriving into St. Louis from PHX. The second was in January 1999, in San Diego on an America West A320. The last one was at night in Milwaukee aboard an America West 737-300. The pilots all did excellent jobs and keep the aircrafts smooth and stable during the go arounds.
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Sat Jun 30, 2001 10:55 am

My only ever missed approach if you could call it that was when I was flying from BNE to AKL on a NZ767. Just before landing the Pilot said that we where coming in from the west over the Manakau HArbour onto RWY 05(?), but then the wind might change which would require us to fly down the RWY do a 180 degree turn and land on 26(?). Well about 400m from the threshold the Pilot powered up, and we flew down the entire length of the RWY at a very low height before a very steep turn before landing. My friend who I was with was already air sick, and the sick bag was put to good use on the landing!!
Anyway I loved it, more flying time, its got to be good!!!!!
sam  Big thumbs up
Airbus Lover
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Sat Jun 30, 2001 11:14 am

As a frequent flyer, there is loads to list. I personally think it is no big deal especially in unpleasant weather conditions.

Here are the ones that come in mind, not all though:-

1) Thai Airways Airbus A300-605R at PEN, Malaysia
---bad weather conditions
2) Malaysia Airlines Boeing B737-4H6 at SGN, Vietnam
---sudden change in wind direction
3) Malaysia Airlines Boeing B777-2H6 at Kaitak, HK
---too high
4) Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 at Kaitak, HK
---bad weather
5) Malaysia Airlines Boeing B747-3H6 at Kaitak, HK
---ran out of runway length by the time the plane aligns on rwy 13
6) Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 at HKG, Hong Kong
---strong wind
7) Thai Airways Boeing B747-400 at HKG, Hong Kong
---bad weather
8) Singapore Airlines Airbus A310-300 at SIN, Singapore
9) Vietnam Airlines B767-300 at SGN, Vietnam
---too high and plane didn't have time to flare properly
10)Malaysia Airlines Boeing B737-3H6 at SZB, Malaysia
---avoid collision
11)Siem Reap Airways ATR72 at Phnom Penh, Cambodia
---recently...unknown reason
12)Thai Airways MD-11 at HKT, Thailand
---circled for a long time due to bad weather
13)EVA Air at TPE, Taiwan
14) lot more......can't finish writing...just want to stress that go-arounds aren't anything big... to me they are normal and should be glad as the pilot is not risking our lives

the all-time AIRBUS LOVER
I didn't say Boeing suck!
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Sat Jun 30, 2001 11:54 am

Southern Airways, Flt 826, MEM to BHM in a Martin 4-0-4, this flight was a milk run, with stops in Columbus, MS, Tuscaloosa, AL, Birmingham, termination at Gadsden, AL, my destination. A cold front had passed thru that day, at the time of the flight, late evening, there was a brisk wind from the Northwest. BHM has only one long runway, and as we approached and was at about 300 ft alt, ready to cut power , a cross wind gust pushed us out of alignmemt, and the Pilot gunned the old piston engines, we took off pointed up. He leveled off at a couple thousand, then announced we would'nt be stopping at BHM, and proceeded to Gadsden, only 56 miles North-Northeast.
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Sat Jun 30, 2001 12:41 pm

The first time I experienced a go-around as a pax, it scared the living crap out of me! I did not hear the engines rev up, all I felt was the tail going down, which I thought we were stalling. Of course all it was is that we started our climb again. And what made it even worse is that it was at night coming into JFK. It scared me so much that I actually had a pain in my chest.

Now I am so used to it, that it doesnt bother me anymore. Plus, when it happens now, I get extra flight time, which means more money!!

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Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 9:38 pm

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Sat Jun 30, 2001 12:46 pm

Twice - both runway incursions.

THe first in '79 EAL L-1011 from MIA to LGA. Beautiful clear January day in New York. Lovely views. We were practically on the threshold when the engines revved and we abruptly climbed. The *very* irritated pilot came on the intercom and I think said Shit (It really sounded like it!) and then explained that a private plane turned onto the runway. Lots of nervous passengers but the landing was perfect.

The second time two years later at National Airport the Eastern shuttle. We weren't as close to the runway so the pilot was not as angry.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 4:01 am

God, all of these stories almost makes me want to experience a missed approach just for the thrill of it!!! Of course, I'll also probably want to kiss the ground after I survive one of those.  Smile
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 6:37 am

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 4:36 am

I have experienced 2 go-arounds while I was on the jump seat! The first one was @ CDG (B737 Aeropostale)It was a foggy day and this rwy was not available on CatIII. The 2nd one was @ ORY (Paris-France) (AF A320), due to rwy occupation...
It is AWESOME! But you feel really safe as the full-power comes quickly and you gain altitude very fast.
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2001 6:14 am

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 5:04 am

Nothing major, thankfully, but it was June '93 an MD-80 flight from Melbourne FL to ATL. A/c "stopped" descending at around 5-600 ft and just flew over the runway before powering up again for a go around. A very calm captain came on the PA and annouced that the "Gear Down and Lock" indicator had malfunctioned and therefore, he needed the tower to confirm that the gear was indeed down and locked  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

This was enough to scare me as it was my first go around experience.

 Laugh out loud
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 5:24 am

I had a very cool approach in Bremen (Germany), aboard a Cathay Pacific 747-400 (SOHK2000). It was during a special flight from Frankfurt to Bremen and back to FRA.

The pilot anounced, that he will make a go arround, to offer the more than 1000 visitors at the airport two approaches. It was the really first landing of a 747 in Bremen.

It was a cool feeling when I saw the runway and suddenly, the engines went on full power again. And as there was no cargo etc. abord, the aircraft was not very heavy.

You could feel the power of the 747 then!

The landing itself was also very impressive, as the runway was very short and the 747 is not a really small plane. But that's another story...

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Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2000 10:11 am

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 6:15 am

On final for 28L @ SFO a few years ago, riding a 735 with united Shuttle. Listening to ATC, they ask us to slow to allow for either a private jet, or United Express plane to land and clear the runway. A few seconds later, they asks for us to slow more, and a few seconds after that, I hear, United XXXX Go around.

Wham, power on, flaps up some, gear up and off we go. It was a lot of fun, but prolly only for people like me on the plane.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it,
They're not handing trophies out today
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 6:49 am

I've never experienced one, but I bet it'd be cool.
Work Hard. Fly Right. Continental Airlines

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 7:25 am

Guys, just remember those who experinced go-arounds, but didn't live to tell their stories. My guess is that it was not that cool for them!
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Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2001 12:01 am

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 7:27 am

I have only had one (poor me  Sad) in my short life, but i have to say it was memorable.

Back in the days when i didn't know Jack about Aviation, we were flying with Airworld on an A320 MAN-ATH.

Just the night before we had been watching Black Box (ironic huh?) and there was this story about a B737 approaching an airport before a problem with the Autopilot caused the aircraft to ascend steeply before stalling and crashing.

Well, we approached ATH over Pireaus and central Athens, and it was quite bumpy although not that much wind or turbulence. We passed the last rows of buildings around the airport perimiter and crossed the threshold. Just before touching down, maybe 40 or 50ft off terra firma full thrust was applied and we climbed steeply, suddenly i wished i hadn't watched Black Box the night before! I gripped the Armrest expecting to get that dropping feeling and plummet to the earth, but then we turned and levelled out a little before the pilot informed us over the com that an aircraft was leaving on that runway, when i looked out of my window (we were maybe at 1500-2000ft i could see an Olympic Airways B737 just airborne leaving in the opposite direction we arrived in.

Its probably lucky because we were very late going around considering the pilot of our A320 could undoubtedly see the 737 sitting at the other end of the runway powering up!

Well, Goodnight!

Regards, Dan
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RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Tue Jul 03, 2001 11:06 pm


I had a similar experience about 2 years ago on flight from ATL to MSP on a Delta 727. The main gear did not touch down but we couldn't have been more than 40 ft off the ground when we had to go around. As an aviation enthusiast I thought it was interesting and we got 2 approaches for the price of 1! A NW DC9 had crossed the runway during our initial approach.

From my regular spotting trips to MSP I've seen as many as 3 deviations in a span of 4 hours.
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 1999 4:47 am

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:24 am

I have experied one so far. I was aboard an Aloha Airlines B737-200 and we were flying from Honolulu to Lihue. Only about 30 seconds before landing we entered a huge rain front, which I already saw while approaching the island of Kauai (where Lihue airport is located). So we reached the runway, but gusts forced the aircraft to roll every few seconds, and my major concern was that the right wing will hit the ground. So we flew along maybe half the runway, only a few feet above the concret when the pilots initiated a go-around. The engines got very noisy and a steep climb and a sharp right and left turn were executed. About 10 minutes later we landed on a different runway.
I even took some photos right after the initiated go-around.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris Waser

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris Waser

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Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2001 3:43 am

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Wed Jul 04, 2001 3:30 am

Until very recently, I'd only ever experienced 2 aborted take-offs (which I think is not much considering the amount of flying I've done), but I'd never once experienced a go-around. That's why it was such a thrill when it finally happened while I was aboard an Air Canada CRJ on approach into Boston Logan back in January. We'd been holding for about 20 minutes because there had been some bad weather and we were finally cleared to land. We were over the runway and in fact, I think we'd just begun to flare up when the pilot suddenly throttled up and we began ascending again. It was strange only because it was unexpected, but I knew immediately what was going on. Anyway, we had to rejoin the stack, which was now even longer, and we wound up circling for another 25 minutes or so. The reason for the go-around was because the aircraft that had landed before us had taken too long to clear off the runway. Not as eventful as some of the experiences people have described, but it was my first and only go-around so far, so it was pretty exciting.
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Thu Jul 05, 2001 8:26 am

Great stories guys!!! Thanks.

My main goal was to figure out how common missed approaches happened. From your replies, it sounds like it doesn't happen all that often, but often enough. I'm glad you lived to tell it!!!
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
Posts: 5750
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:43 pm

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Thu Jul 05, 2001 2:10 pm

Only one for me and that was a British Airways 747-400 trying to land on RWY 31 at Kai Tak. (NOT 13 !!!)
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 1999 7:12 pm

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Thu Jul 05, 2001 3:38 pm

I had a missed approach on a BA 744 from JNB to LHR during July 2000. I was waiting for the tyres to make contact when suddenly I heard the engines rev up and the nose pulled up. At the time it was nerve-wracking as you suddenly find yourself confronted with an abnormal situation. My first though was that something was wrong with the plane. One we gained altitude the pilot informed us that ACT instructed him to go around at the last minute due to another aircraft not clearing the runway in time. He explained that this was a fairly common occurance at LHR and everyone settled down again. The worst was going back into the stack and spending another 45 minutes in the plane after a 11-hour flight.
Posts: 2433
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 5:31 am

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Thu Jul 05, 2001 11:32 pm

I was in a USAir 737-200 from MCO-PHL in 1994. Just another aircraft a little slow getting off RWY 27R and we began the climb at about 400-600ft. maybe. We went right to HDG 090 over downtown Philly, a great view, and then right to 27R final again.

RE: Missed Approach Experiences

Thu Jul 05, 2001 11:44 pm

In addition to thinking about those passengers who weren't fortunate enough to survive a missed approach, think about about the crews who accidently strayed onto the runway that caused the go-around. Runway incursions can just about kill a career, especially if you are a fledgling pilot trying to get hours. I'm not by any means justifying the mistakes of these pilots who happened to lack situational awareness at a crucial time, but think about it, it sucks!

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