Airplane Go-around

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One of the most important facts a truly competent pilot carries in mind is that not all approaches can be successfully completed. Perhaps you have misjudged the wind or are too high or too low to comfortably complete the approach. Or maybe someone has pulled out onto the runway in front of you. In any case, the prudent thing to do is to go around and try it again.

Some pilots feel a go-around is a sign of poor pilot technique or a lack of piloting skills or just plain embarrassing. Wrong. A go-around, done because it is needed, shows the pilot is thinking well and deserves an “A” for exercising good judgment.

Generally speaking, a go-around is merely the transition from approach configuration back to normal climb attitude. A little dose of common sense, along with some dual, should help you realize the ease and importance of this action. If you have misjudged your approach, the go-around can be done as you continue your track straight down the runway. If someone has pulled onto the runway in front of you, you should move off to the side in order to keep the other traffic in sight as you continue your go-around. Since you will probably be in the left seat, this would mean moving off to your right, just to the side of the runway, not into the next county.

Let’s say you’re on short final with full flaps and low power and you have to execute a go-around. Proceed with these steps:
• First, add full power as you begin the transition through level flight to a climb attitude.
• Second, take off the carb heat in order to develop full power.
• Third, bring the flaps up to the manufacturer’s recommended go-around setting. This decreases your drag and allows you to accelerate better.

After completing all of these steps, make sure you are at least at Vx airspeed holding your own, or better still, climbing. When you are sure the airspeed, heading, and altitude are stable, retract the remainder of your flaps, allow the airspeed to accelerate to Vy, and continue a normal climbout.

In the event the situation requires a sidestep to avoid another aircraft, the go-around would be completed as shown above, except you would have to make a shallow turn. Unless the situation requires your immediate action, I believe it is better to get powered up and cleaned up before attempting the turn. Then, you will not get involved in a low-airspeed, low-power, flaps-down bank that can prove to be troublesome, even for a very experienced pilot.

There is one other problem that might necessitate a go-around —a bounced landing. If you haven’t done any yet, you will. Most of the time, the bounce is slight and you can recover by adding a little power, lowering the nose to level flight attitude, and then flaring again —most of the time.

But if you really bounce it by dropping in from about 15 feet and spreading out your spring-steel gear to the point it groans, snaps back into position, and sends you about 30 feet back toward the sky, you just might want to consider a go-around. Let’s face it; you’re already up there, so you might as well go around. When this happens, stay calm and smoothly add full power. Lower your nose to level flight attitude and accelerate to climb airspeed as you slowly retract your flaps to the manufacturer’s recommended go-around setting. You will probably experience a little sink as you bring the flaps up, but don’t pull the nose up. Leave it at about level flight attitude so you can gain speed more quickly. Complete the go-around by heading straight down the runway, and climb out normally.

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