VC10DC10
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DCA Missed Approach: How Common?

Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:36 pm

This morning I found myself stuck in traffic in Virginia, waiting to cross the 14th Street Bridge into DC (it was about 9:15 or 9:20 am). I noticed a B737-800 (couldn't make out the livery, as with the position of the sun the aircraft was silhouetted against the sky) execute a missed approach.

I found myself wondering how common this is at DCA, and specifically what might have caused this event today. Thanks in advance for any comments.
 
bri2k1
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RE: DCA Missed Approach: How Common?

Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:42 pm

I see that no one has commented yet. Let me start by apologizing for I don't know the answer to your question about how common it is.

What I can offer is that such things are not usually (officially or publicly) tracked. It's a safety concern, since if "number of missed approaches" was used as a measure of performance, it could encourage pilots to avoid conducting them, even when prudent, and thus reduce safety. I imagine it is unlikely that you could get much more than an anecdotal response to this kind of question about any airport for this reason.
Position and hold
 
PGNCS
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:07 am

RE: DCA Missed Approach: How Common?

Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:48 pm

Quoting bri2k1 (Reply 1):
What I can offer is that such things are not usually (officially or publicly) tracked. It's a safety concern, since if "number of missed approaches" was used as a measure of performance, it could encourage pilots to avoid conducting them, even when prudent, and thus reduce safety. I imagine it is unlikely that you could get much more than an anecdotal response to this kind of question about any airport for this reason.

Not at my carrier. At my rather large carrier go arounds / missed approaches are required when several parameters are not met at certain gates (i.e. the approach must be stabilized) and NOT doing one is what gets analyst's attention. Our manual set specifically states that go arounds are not considered a sign of poor performance, and should be executed whenever the outcome or stability of the approach is in doubt. I have never, ever seen a pilot disciplined or counseled for executing a go around when they thought it was necessary, the opposite is not true.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: DCA Missed Approach: How Common?

Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:50 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 2):
I have never, ever seen a pilot disciplined or counseled for executing a go around when they thought it was necessary, the opposite is not true.

I would certainly hope that in these days no crew would be dealt with in a negative manner, only as you mentioned when the opposite is true and they attempt to salvage a very bad approach etc.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
bri2k1
Posts: 952
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2004 4:13 am

RE: DCA Missed Approach: How Common?

Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:19 pm

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 2):
At my rather large carrier go arounds / missed approaches are required when several parameters are not met

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Perhaps I worded it in a confusing way. I'm trying to say if a pilot's performance was measured according to how few missed approaches he conducted it would be a detriment to safety. So, it's not something that people go around bragging about, i.e. no one would ever say "Carrier XYZ has the lowest percentage of missed approaches!"
Position and hold
 
PGNCS
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:07 am

RE: DCA Missed Approach: How Common?

Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:45 pm

Quoting bri2k1 (Reply 4):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 2):
At my rather large carrier go arounds / missed approaches are required when several parameters are not met

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Perhaps I worded it in a confusing way. I'm trying to say if a pilot's performance was measured according to how few missed approaches he conducted it would be a detriment to safety. So, it's not something that people go around bragging about, i.e. no one would ever say "Carrier XYZ has the lowest percentage of missed approaches!"

I read and re-read your original post agian, and perhaps I misunderstood you. If so I apologize. I thought you were saying that pilots didn't miss when they should for fear of disciplinary action, when it actually seems that what you meant was that if we started using rate of missed approaches as a metric then any given missed approach could be taken as a sign of poor performance. I think I was confused by the wording of the post, and while I am not sure about your premise, I do recognize the nuance in it now. Thanks for clarifying!  
Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 3):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 2):
I have never, ever seen a pilot disciplined or counseled for executing a go around when they thought it was necessary, the opposite is not true.

I would certainly hope that in these days no crew would be dealt with in a negative manner, only as you mentioned when the opposite is true and they attempt to salvage a very bad approach etc.

Programs like FOQA and ASAP are great for situations like this, and I am all for them. If you are making good decisions, or if you made a poor decision and decided to abandon it with a missed approach (there are other scenarios, of course), which is a good decision, you will (virtually) never be hassled for it. If you force a bad position, aren't stable, land long, heaget overheated brakes, or worse, depart the runway, obviously that is more deservedly attention getting.

From the time I came into the industry until now, the philosophy at our carrier (and others) really has markedly changed from a punishment culture to a safety culture.
 
jcs17
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RE: DCA Missed Approach: How Common?

Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:17 am

Compared to most major airports, many more than average, especially on the river visual approach. It's a challenging approach even in good weather as the PIC has to follow the Potomac's curves, has to monitor the aircraft's parameters, all the while keeping in mind its a relatively short field.
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