Pilot's Tip of the Week

Botched Go-Around

Featuring Wally Moran


Subscriber question:

"Go-arounds are an important maneuver, but are easy to mess up if you don't practice them. Can you review some of the common mistakes pilots make when performing go-arounds?" - Anonymous
Press to play audio

Wally:

"My friend Bob Martens calls the go-around one of the most underutilized maneuvers in aviation. I often wonder how many pilots who have overshot the field and wound up off the far end of the runway now wish they had utilized the go-around.

botched-go-around-updated.pngThere have been accidents where a pilot elected to go-around but waited too long. They were too far down the runway and not able to clear obstacles off the end. This is usually a situation where a pilot is high and fast on final. Now the aircraft floats and floats down the runway, the pilot is beginning to wonder if he will get stopped in time and the longer he waits and uses up more runway, the less his chances of a successful go-around.

If you find yourself wondering if you will make it or not, consider that a signal that it is time to utilize that go-around. So the moral here is to go-around early and often.

Another go-around accident is caused by the pilot who is not proficient in go-arounds and either has directional control problems or stalls the aircraft. I have seen examples of both. The solution here of course is training and practice. How long ago has it been since you practiced a go-around?

Another go-around issue in general aviation is what I call the multiple go-around problem. This is a situation where a pilot makes a series of go-arounds and then crashes on his third or fourth attempt to land. If you are unable to land after two attempts, something is wrong. Perhaps the turbulence is excessive or the crosswind is too strong or the field is just too short. But in my view, after two failed attempts the correct action is to go somewhere else.

So, don't be afraid to utilize this safety tool called a go-around. Make sure you are proficient and don't be afraid to divert if conditions are not up to your skills."