Getting ahead with going around

Much has been said about runway excursions and the need for adequate pilot decision-making when it comes to initiating a go-around procedure. After the Go-around Safety Forum in Brussels on 18 June, there is no doubt that positive change in pilot decision-making is in the pipeline and is coming from within the frontline operators’ community.

The Go-around Safety Forum, organised jointly by EUROCONTROL, Flight Safety Foundation and the European Regions Airline Association (ERAA) was a one-day event that discussed in-depth the issues related to go-around decision-making, execution, training and ATM aspects of safe go-arounds.

The facts have long been known: the lack of a go-around decision by the pilot is the leading risk factor in approach and landing accidents and is the primary cause of runway excursions during landing. An unstable approach should result in a go-around, but usually does not. In fact, less than 5% of all unstable approaches result in go-arounds. Experts have once again concluded that there is no other single decision, or procedure, beyond not initiating a go-around which has such a significant impact on the air accident rate.

A very vocal and present pilot community has this time added more value to the debate. Many of the speakers addressing the audience at the Go-around Safety Forum, including ECA’s Director for Technical Affairs, Álvaro Gammicchia, were active pilots involved in managing safety from different positions in the aviation industry. Their valuable advice to crews was to perform stabilised approaches and not reduce the buffers for avoiding a runway excursion. Even more importantly, more than half of the attendants of the Go-around Safety Forum were frontline operators. They will be the ones responsible for conveying the core messages and improvement strategies suggested at the forum.

A list with recommendations to ensure go-around decision-making, safe operational execution and communication improvement has been agreed upon at the Forum. These strategies will allow the industry to initiate this long-overdue change. 

All presentations from the Forum are available online.