Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Escape! (the go-around)

Escape!  (the go-around)

When we approach an airport, we are usually only thinking about getting on the ground and what we are going to do after the flight.  Rarely do most pilots plan for the go-around, (balked landing).

At the airlines, we continually practiced the aborted takeoff procedures.  During every takeoff we were ready for that procedure should anything go wrong.  I am proposing that go-arounds should be viewed and practiced in much the same way.

The go-around is the escape route - as in "let me out of here".  It should not be something to avoid, or thought of as an unsuccessful landing, but something readily available and doable if necessary.

Do you remember the correct procedure?  I was on my takeoff roll on runway 30 at San Carlos last week when someone on approach commenced a go-around.  They were flying over the runway directly above us at only 100-200'.  Apparently it didn't occur to the pilot that an aircraft on takeoff roll (the reason they were going around), would be lifting off and climbing out, right in to their flight path.  Do you offset to the runway when you do a go-around?  Not only do you want to gain altitude, but you want to safely side step the runway to make way for any traffic taking off.  Your objective should be to climb away from the runway and avoid any traffic. To help with your climb out, (reduce drag), add full power and remember to immediately retract the first notch of flaps, get to a good climb out speed of around 60kts and at 200' retract the remainder of flaps, (based on a Cessna 172 with 30 ° of flaps used).

Have you practiced a go-around recently?

Check out "Diversion due to Cross Winds and Wind Shear" for more reasons to practice the go-around.

For information about safety when flying in proximity to an airport, see "The importance of being situationally aware".

Sue Ballew

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