Pilot's Tip of the Week

Aviation Safety Go-around

Featuring Bob Martens


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Mark:

practice"We're going to discuss the topic of go-arounds. And this is a topic so basic, so fundamental. Why should we focus additional attention on the subject of go-arounds?"

Bob:

"Mark, I've always been a big advocate of the go-around. I refer to it as the most under utilized maneuver in aviation! Think about it. When was the last time you did an intentional go-around without being required to? I'll bet it's been a while!

Now, think about how many of our awful landings might have been avoided had we exercised the good judgment to do a go-around.

When I queried the NTSB data base to check out go-around accidents, there were over 1300 go-around accidents in the data base! That's a lot of accidents. Clearly we have some work to do in this area."

Mark:

"Why do we have so many go-around accidents, Bob?"

Bob:

"While the go-around is certainly not an inherently difficult maneuver, the fact that it is most often accomplished in close proximity to the ground cuts into our margin of error. Add to that the fact that the pilot is probably experiencing at least some degree of stress associated with the reason for the go around, and we start to understand the problem.

Now, factor in that the pilot has probably not done this maneuver in months, and we are now looking at a very serious problem. How can you expect to be good a something that you don't practice regularly? Simply stated, you can't!

The challenge of go-arounds is that they must be performed instinctively, without hesitation, with precision. Far too many pilots are just not up to that challenge!"

Mark:

"Bob, why is it that pilots fail to integrate go-arounds into their training regimen?"

Bob:

"Well Mark, first, and foremost, not enough pilots have a training regimen. I challenge all pilots to look into their log books and validate just how little time we spend on training. We all need to get back to basics, working hard on take offs and landings, heading to the practice area for stalls, steep turns and slow flight drills, and practicing emergency procedures. Integrated into this training must be go-around practice.

Any time we find ourselves out of sync with our airplane, go around and catch up! Far too often we find ourselves frantically chasing our airplane, hoping to catch up and make all the corrections before the airplane lands. That's a dumb way to fly. Flying is like playing chess. We should be always looking several moves ahead, not playing from behind.

The go-around is our tool to do just that. Far too many pilots perceive the go-around as a negative procedure after a mistake. That is wrong! The go-around demonstrates excellent judgment and has no down side! By practicing it and integrating it into our flying, we will be real good at go-arounds and not hesitate to perform one at any time."

Next week's tip: Simple go-around procedure