Study: Too Many Pilots Continue Unstabilized Approaches

 - June 25, 2013, 3:20 PM

On average, 96 percent of unstabilized approaches do not result in a go-around, according to preliminary findings from a go-around study being conducted by the Flight Safety Foundation’s international and European aviation committees. “Data and anecdotal information are showing there are increased exceedances in aircraft performance and rates of violation of air traffic control instructions,” the FSF noted. Foundation president and CEO Kevin Hiatt said the data indicates that flight crews often continue an unstabilized approach “because the pilot has enough confidence in the airplane or the situation.”

Using 2011 statistics, the FSF said data analysis shows that potentially 54 percent of all aircraft accidents that year could have been prevented by a go-around decision. “This is based on 65 percent of that year’s accidents being in the approach and landing [ALA] phase, and using our analysis that 83 percent of ALAs could be prevented by a go-around decision,” FSF director of global programs Rodolfo Quevedo told AIN.

The foundation’s international and European aviation committees are still gathering data for the go-around study via the FSF website and LinkedIn. According to Hiatt, the go-around study will be completed by the end of this year, and a white paper on this topic–to include guidelines for safe go-around operations–will be available on the FSF website by early next year.