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When, for any reason, it is judged that an approach cannot be continued to a successful landing, a missed approach or go-around is flown.
Reasons for discontinuing an approach include the following:
- The required visal references have not been established by the Decision Altitude/Height (DA/H) or Minimum Descent Altitude/Height (MDA/H) or is acquired but is subsequently lost;
- The approach is, or has become unstabilised;
- The aircraft is not positioned so as to allow a controlled touch down within the designated runway touchdown zone with a consequent risk of aircraft damage with or without a Runway Excursion if the attempt is continued;
- The runway is obstructed;
- Landing clearance has not been received or is issued and later cancelled;
- A go-around is being flown for training purposes with ATC approval.
Missed Approach Procedure
A missed approach procedure is the procedure to be followed if an approach cannot be continued. It specifies a point where the missed approach begins, and a point or an altitude/height where it ends. (ICAO Doc 8168: PANS-OPS)
A missed approach procedure is specified for all airfield and runway Precision Approach and Non-Precision Approach procedures. The missed approach procedure takes into account de-confliction from ground obstacles and from other air traffic flying instrument procedures in the airfield vicinity. Only one missed approach procedure is established for each instrument approach procedure.
A go-around from an instrument approach should follow the specified missed approach procedure unless otherwise instructed by air traffic control.
The missed approach should be initiated not lower than the DA/H in precision approach procedures, or at a specified point in non-precision approach procedures not lower than the MDA/H.
If a missed approach is initiated before arriving at the missed approach point (MAPt), it is important that the pilot proceeds to the MAPt (or to the middle marker fix or specified DME distance for precision approach procedures) and then follows the missed approach procedure in order to remain within the protected airspace. The MAPt may be overflown at an altitude/height greater than that required by the procedure; but in the case of a missed approach with a turn, the turn must not take place before the MAPt, unless otherwise specified in the procedure.
The MAPt in a procedure is defined by:
- the point of intersection of an electronic glide path with the applicable DA/H in precision approaches; or,
- a navigation facility, a fix, or a specified distance from the final approach fix in non-precision approaches.
A visual go around may be made after an unsuccessful visual approach.
A go-around is often unexpected and places special demands on the pilots, who may not often have an opportunity to practice this procedure. Some aspects of the go-around which deserve special study are:
Often, if an emergency or abnormal situation develops during the approach, the approach will be continued to land. However,in some cases, such as a configuration issue, performing a missed approach, completing the appropriate drills and checklists to prepare for a non-standard approach and then conducting a second approach to a landing is the more prudent course of action.
- Go Around
- Go-around Decision Making
- Precision Approach
- Non-Precision Approach
- Visual References
- Decision Altitude/Height
- Minimum Descent Altitude/Height
- Bird Strike on Final Approach - Guidance for Flight Crews
- Pilot Workload
- ICAO Annex 6 (Aircraft Operations)
- ICAO Doc 8168 (PANS-OPS)
- IR-OPS CAT.OP.MPA.110 & 120 & CAT.POL.A.245
- IR-OPS AMC3&4 CAT.OP.MPA.110 Aerodrome operating minima
EUROCONTROL, European Regions Airline Association, and Flight Safety Foundation
Flight Safety Foundation
- ALAR Briefing Note 6.1 — Being Prepared to Go Around
- ALAR Briefing Note 6.2 — Manual Go-around
- ALAR Briefing Note 6.4 — Bounce Recovery — Rejected Landing
The Flight Safety Foundation ALAR Toolkit provides useful training information and guides to best practice. Copies of the FSF ALAR Toolkit may be ordered from the Flight Safety Foundation ALAR website Flight Data Services Case Studies
Go-Around Safety Forum
- Go-Around Safety Forum (GASF), Brussels 2013: Findings and Conclusions
- "Do you really understand how your trim works?" - Captain Alex Fisher
Airbus Descent Management Briefing Notes