Back in June, we mentioned an entry by Todd Macrock on My Flight Blog about the critical need to think about making a go-around decision early in a landing approach and this critical need was further emphasized with a video clip showing a plane skidding off of the runway at St. Barthelemy Airport (a small 2,100 foot airstrip located in the Caribbean).
Well recently, Vincent of Plastic Pilot also touched on the subject in an entry (entitled Going around is not a crime… and even less a threat) that is also well worth reading. As Vincent explains, a pilot can make a decision to go around again for five major reasons worth that are worth repeating again:
- Runway not in sight at the minimum altitude
- Unstable approach, incorrect speed or altitude, or too much deviation from the prescribed track
- Obstructed runway
- No landing clearance received
- Sudden wind change
In addition, ATC can also command a pilot to go around again for some of the same reasons or when there is conflicting traffic or not enough separation between other aircraft that are also landing.
And if the above reasons are not enough for you to decide to play it safe and go around again, then watching the video of that plane skidding off the St. Barthelemy Airport runway should give you enough reason to pause and think again.
Patrick Flannigan says
Even though I know the outcome, I always find myself telling the pilot of that light twin to go around about 20 times during that approach.
Glad you mentioned to consider a go-around when no landing clearance is received. Sometimes controllers (and pilots) get busy and the magical words "cleared to land" never come. Of course, if you have a little time, it never hurts to ask the tower "are we cleared to land?"
No shame in going missed. In fact, it is a sign of superior judgement. Remember the old quote: "superior pilots use superior judgement to avoid using their superior skills." It's true.