Acknowledgements: AIR FACTS

A properly executed go-around is one of the best accident avoidance procedures available, even though it is one of the least used. If a go-around is not properly executed, however, it can result in an accident. 

Official reports concerning go-around accidents frequently cite pilot indecision as a cause. What usually happens however is pilot fixation - trying to make a bad landing good, resulting in a late decision to go-around. 

Delay costs valuable runway stopping distance and causes loss of valuable altitude as the approach continues. If there is any question about making a safe touchdown and roll-out, take the aircraft around - and do it early. Treat the go-around as a normal procedure, not an abnormal or emergency action. 

Experienced pilots always determine in advance a go-around point on the runway. If they have not touched down by that point, it is go-around time. Follow these guidelines to execute a go-around:

Power is the single most essential ingredient. Every precaution must be taken to ensure that power is available when you need it. For example, be sure your mixture is leaned ahead of time, and employ full RPM on the prop.

Planning ahead is another "must". Know what you should do in case of trouble and where and when you should do it.

On approach, always be prepared to go around. If in doubt, go around.

·  Once you decide to go around, stick to your decision. Too many aircraft have been lost because a pilot vacillated, changed his mind, and tried to land after all. First and foremost, fly the aircraft. Forget UNICOM, and forget the passengers for the time being. Make sure maximum available power is applied and stays applied. Place the carb heat selector in the off position (*Note: At at a high-density altitude airport you might need to include the use of carb heat as necessary)

This is your go-around checklist: power, pitch, fly the airplane, clean it up, and then communicate.

• On the way around for another attempt, be especially sure to use your landing checklist. A go-around is the best time for a break in normal habit patterns. Stress occurs and normal tasks are out of order. More than one pilot has landed gear-up after a go-around.

·  Practice your go-around procedures regularly, so that when you really do have to go around you will be on top of the aircraft instead of the other way around!

Tony BirthComment