Premium on Safety - Issue 35, 2020 - 10

FOCUS POINT

Why Go Around? Why not?

Finding a way to make go-arounds fit into effective risk management
BY AMY LABODA
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF), an international non-profit
chartered to provide impartial safety guidance and resources
for aviation and aerospace released its 55-page executive report
"Go-Around Decision-Making and Execution Project" and lit up
a problem professional pilots were thought to have outgrown.
The report details both pilot decisions made during unstable
approaches and the problems with management oversight
of a maneuver rarely performed among Part 121 pilots-
go-arounds. Lessons learned from studying the decisions of
highly experienced and proficient pilots and flight department
managers are salient for Part 135 and Part 91 operations, as well.
The report suggests that flight departments revise their final
approach and touchdown zone standard operating procedures
(SOPs) for pilots, and encourages more management oversight
through the use of flight data analysis (FDA).
Unstable approaches at the root of landing accidents
Southwest Airlines' runway overrun at Burbank-Glendale
Pasadena airport in 2000 is an example where a go-around
would have prevented the accident. The captain in that accident
told the NTSB that he knew as the aircraft passed 500 feet (150
m) that he was not "in the slot," meaning the conditions had not
been met for a safe landing, in this case because of an excessive
airspeed. He said that he understood that procedures demanded
a go-around. He could not, however, explain why he did not
perform a go-around maneuver.

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The interviews and data collected in the FSF report revealed
that compared with pilots who decide to go around, pilots who
fly unstable approaches to a landing rated their flight outcomes
less positively, believed less often that they had made the right
decision, and believed more strongly than go-around pilots that
they should not have made the decisions they did. Essentially,
many regretted deciding to continue the approach, even if no
accident or incident resulted.
"We analyzed a statistically significant group of pilots who
made decisions to go around, and a group of those who chose
to continue. The data indicate the go-around group clearly
showed different characteristics; one of them was that they
had briefed more on the potential threats and they adjusted
more, and had more communication-collaborative decisionmaking was much higher.
"They were ready for a go-around," said Capt. William Curtis of
The Presage Group, and Co-Chair and FSF International Advisory
Committee Chair. Curtis was a co-author of the report.
Oversight? Maybe not.
The study acknowledged that it struggled for management
participation. Among those managers who did participate a
majority were largely unaware of unstable approach-go-around
compliance and policies in their own companies, even though
91 percent of the companies involved in the survey had FDA


https://flightsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Go-around-study_final.pdf

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