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Have the Courage to Go-around, Wave-off, or Abort a Landing

  • In Uncategorized
  • 30 September 2015

This message is for pilots, especially those who are entrusted to carry passengers and other aircrew. The runway overrun mishap at Sedona, AZ in 2011, and the crash on landing into San Francisco International Airport in 2013—although different—originate from the same mistake. A pilot who flies a bad approach must have the courage to check his/her ego and go-around, wave-off, or abort a bad landing before reaching the point of no return.

Every pilot, me included, learns this lesson early on in aviation. However, as experience and confidence grow, we can be caught in the trap of thinking that going-around or aborting a landing is for amateurs. Not true.

If you are high & fast, or low & slow, don’t deny or ignore it. Go-around and get it right the next time to affect a safe landing. Yes, you might take a ribbing from your fellow pilots. But we’ve all done it at least once, and we will all do again … if we don’t kill ourselves or others by attempting to salvage a landing from a bad approach. High & slow, or low & fast—no problem. Make the correction. Suggestion, even on a visual approach on a clear day, use any glideslope indicators the airport/airfield has to keep you on the numbers. Please. Automation is great, but it is not perfect. Recent automation-related crashes have taught us that. In spite of it all, these crashes and resulting deaths/catastrophic injuries are avoidable.

All people have egos, some more so than others. All pilots definitely have egos. Remember to check yours before getting into the cockpit. Go-around, wave-off, or apply power and abort the landing if the situation dictates. If anyone in the crew tells you—the pilot flying—to go-around, wave-off, or abort a landing, DO IT! “No harm, no foul.”

Please don’t allow your ego, complacency, or overreliance on automation to needless endanger yourself and your passengers who trust you with their lives.

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