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  • VATPAC Tutorials: Go Arounds/Rejected Take-offs  

    The pilot in command (PIC) of an aircraft is ultimately responsible for the flight's safety and can decide not to land or take off from a runway at any point if they feel it is in the best interest of the safety of the flight.

    The pilot will make this decision based on factors such as, but not limited to:

    • aircraft equipment, navigation and communications
    • wind shear, microbursts and reduced visibility
    • compliance with air traffic control clearances and instructions.

    Go-arounds and missed approaches

    The term Go-Around can be defined as the act of aborting a landing/approach and proceeding for a subsequent attempt.

    The term Missed Approach refers to a predefined procedure that is followed by IFR aircraft in the event of aborting an approach or landing.

    A go-around may be initiated by the pilot or an air traffic controller with numerous causes including additional aircraft on approach, aircraft slow to exit runway or poor visibility. During a go-around, a pilot will, apply full take-off power to the engine(s), point the aircraft nose up, retract the landing gear and flaps to climb into the traffic pattern to circle around for another approach. 

    Example IFR missed approach where possible conflict occurs:

    [VOZ887] "Velocity 887 going around."
    Analyse potential conflicts and give instructions
    [ML_TWR] "Velocity 887, fly heading 300, climb to maintain 3000."
    Coordinate with approach
    [ML_TWR] "Melbourne Approach, Melbourne Tower, Velocity 887 missed approach, heading 300, climbing 3000."
    [ML_APP] "Velocity 887, heading 270 climb to 4000."
    Transfer the aircraft to the approach controller
    [ML_TWR] "Velocity 887, right heading 270, climb to maintain 4000, contact Melbourne Approach 132.0."
    [VOZ887] "Right heading 270, climb to maintain 4000. Approach 132.0, Velocity 887."

    IFR Aircraft Conducting a Visual Approach and Going Around

    An IFR aircraft conducting a visual approach is not conducting an instrument approach procedure and therefore cannot be expected to track via a published missed approach procedure. In this case, the aircraft should be given instructions including a heading to fly and an altitude to climb to.

    It is good practice to be aware of the published missed approach track and altitude so that you can approximate this when giving instructions to an aircraft going around from a visual approach.

    When controlling a radar tower, such instructions must be coordinated with the approach controller and the aircraft transferred to the approach frequency.

    IFR Aircraft Conducting an Instrument Approach and Going Around

    An IFR aircraft going around from an instrument approach procedure will fly the published missed approach for that procedure unless instructed otherwise. The published missed approach procedure is designed to provide separation from other traffic and clearance from terrain, as well as facilitate returning to the arrivals sequence for another approach attempt. When controlling a radar tower, all such missed approaches should be coordinated with the approach controller and the aircraft transferred to the approach frequency.

    VFR Traffic Going Around

    Typically, VFR traffic that is going around will fly a visual circuit to return to the active landing runway to make another attempt.  The tower controller should facilitate this by providing instructions about circuit direction (if necessary) and other traffic in the circuit. When controlling a radar tower, the go-around should be coordinated with the approach controller and the aircraft transferred to the approach frequency.


    The tower controller should coordinate a go-around with the approach controller as soon a possible, however the priority is to ensure the aircraft going around is clear of other traffic.  A common practice is to instruct the aircraft to maintain runway heading however this is insufficient if the go-around was instigated by conflicting departing traffic.  

    1. Analyse the situation
    2. Give instructions to the aircraft to keep them clear of other traffic
    3. Coordinate the aircraft with the approach controller
    4. Transfer the aircraft to the approach frequency.

    Aborted take-off

    Similar to a go-around or missed approach, an aborted take-off is a procedure that sees an aircraft abandon its take-off. Usually, a pilot decides to abort take-off due to mechanical issues like engine malfunction or a bird strike. Clear communication is key in this process and as the pilot, you should advise ATC of your intentions after you have ensured the safety of the aircraft. Remember Aviate Navigate Communicate, telling the TWR should not be your number one priority. 

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