“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking, due to bad weather condition, we have to go around and try to take another approach. Please, remain seated with your seat belt fastened”! – Have you ever heard such an announcement during your flight? Probably not, but if yes, then I’m sure you started worrying and thought that something is not right with a flight! That is why, I decided to write an article to talk about the procedure called GO-AROUND and share some information, so next time if you hear such an announcement, you will not be worried and will patiently wait until the plane lands safely.
GO-AROUND DOESN’T INDICATE A PROBLEM
First of all, I would like to mention that go around is a quite normal maneuver that pilots often perform when landing conditions are not as good as should be. Because of these so-called bad conditions during the final approach, the pilots decide to go around by setting the go-around thrust (TO/GA mode), start climbing again, cleaning the aircraft by retracting the flaps and landing gear up and trying to make another approach if the conditions allow doing so. Now let’s understand those main conditions that make pilots go-around and you to fly some extra minutes:
- Weather – Imagine, that there are minutes or even seconds remaining for a touchdown, but there is thick fog around the airport or severe storm, with a high crosswind which exceeds the aircraft limits and makes the landing unsafe. These conditions immediately make our stable approach to an unstable one. So what we have to do to make a safe landing? That’s right! To abort the landing and try to make another approach. Statistics say that almost 70% of all “go-arounds” are because of bad weather conditions.
- Unstable Approach – Ok, this one has nothing to do with the weather but the pilots. Way before the landing, the pilots should set the correct altitude, speed, and proper alignment with the runway. This means if the airplane is flying too fast or too high, and it is not stabilized just before the landing, then this will be an unstabilized approach. A go-around should be done to ensure a safe landing.
- Traffic – Another problem is traffic. Sometimes, in very busy airports like JFK, New York, or Charles De Gaul, Paris, the air traffic can be very heavy due to too many aircraft landing and takeoff. So this is a normal procedure to be notified by the ATC that there is traffic nearby for the pilots to avoid landing at that particular time. This ensures a safe separation distance between the planes.
- Runway Incursion – Besides traffic, there can be another issue, this time with the runway. Probably you have seen in the videos that an airplane is about to land and suddenly another airplane, or an airport vehicle or even worse – AN ANIMAL appears on the active runway. Seems weird? Trust me, sometimes at non-towered airports or misunderstanding of the ground/tower controllers, pilots can cause this to happen. And the only decision to skip collision with these objects is to go-around.
- When We Are Not Satisfied With Any Aspect of Approach – The weather is fine, the approach is stable, no other aircraft or vehicle on the runway are disturbing us from the landing, but something is not just ok for this approach or landing. So, whenever the pilots feel that something is not right for a safe landing, they can decide to go-around and try it again. This doesn’t specifically mean that are some issues, but safety is the number 1 priority for us.
I brought 5 main reasons that will make your crew decide to go-around. There can be many others depending on a flight, but no matter what is the reason for the go-around, the most important thing is you already know that it is a quite normal and safe maneuver designed to ensure YOUR safety. So even if one day you will hear the captain’s announcement like the one above mentioned in this article, you will know that nothing extraordinary is happening, you are just about to fly some extra minutes.
Until next time, and as always, “We Speak Aviation.”