NTSB: FAA Can Do More To Prevent Go-around Midairs

 - July 8, 2013, 3:25 PM

There are still too many close calls between aircraft during go-around maneuvers at major airports (five in the past seven years), according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. On July 1, the Board recommended the FAA modify ATC procedures to do a better job of accommodating those events safely.

While current ATC procedures require controllers to separate aircraft departing from nearby runways, an unexpected go-around in the face of a departing airplane where closure rates are high can demand that pilots take low-altitude evasive action. According to the NTSB, existing separation standards and procedures are inadequate to prevent more close calls or ultimate collisions.

The NTSB report was compiled after a number of incidents. In an incident on July 14 last year an ExpressJet ERJ-145 regional jet executing a go-around at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) came within 1,000 feet laterally and 400 feet vertically of an Air Wisconsin Canadair RJ departing from another runway. In an incident 16 days later, a Spirit Airlines Airbus A319 flew within a quarter of a mile laterally and 100 feet vertically of a Cessna Citation CJ at Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS).

The NTSB can only recommend, not demand, that the FAA consider these procedural changes.