View Full Version : Tower instructed go-around
2nd Mar 2005, 02:40
This happened yesterday to me. On the established approach to 12R in VMC in STL, tower instructed us to sidestep to the left, due to an aircraft holding in position. Once established on short final 12L (after the sidestep), tower instructed us to go-around. When I inquired for the reason later on, tower said that "we were too low and they received a low altitude warning".
This brings up a few questions: A sidestep to a parallel runway is considered a visual maneuver if I am not mistaken. Can tower instruct go-arounds on visual maneuvers due to low altitude? What does the controller handbook say regarding this issue?
7 7 7 7
2nd Mar 2005, 14:51
You're right. a sidestep is a visual manoeuver. The tower controller does not have the right to instruct a go around solely because of low altitude.
The controller concerned can onlt advice you that you APPEARED to be too low. The decision on whether to go around rest with the pilot.
2nd Mar 2005, 18:17
If the ATC facility is equipped with an instrument which warns if certain parameters are exceeded the controller may be bound to send the aeroplane round, whether the pilot likes it or not. (Similarly, if you get a GPWS warning you climb, irrespective of whether you think all is well). If he was an experienced controller he has also probably seen a few dodgy incidents and may well have believed that the aeroplane was endangered.
I can immediately recall at least three events at a very large UK airport where ATC sent aircraft round when to ignore the situation would have resulted in major incidents, even though the pilots appeared to be happy. (One resulted in the controller receiving substantial "thanks" from the airline).
Nobody disputes that the pilot is ultimately responsible, but if ATC sends you round the controller must have a good reason so you should go-around without question and discuss the matter later.
The tower controller does not have the right to instruct a go around solely because of low altitude.
The tower controller has the right to instruct you to go around for ANY reason.
As HD says, many towers have radar tracking kit that alarms if an a/c is off the azimuth/glideslope by a certain amount. If that happens at Heathrow, my book says I have to send you around, even if you are on a visual approach.
2nd Mar 2005, 19:40
Can you imagine having to explain at the Court of Enquiry why you chose not to go-around (no matter what the reason) after you'd been told? You'd need to be michty sure of yourself to ignore a GA call from tower!
3rd Mar 2005, 02:39
towers have radar tracking kit
So Heathrow tower controllers are all radar rated!
But that doesn't mean that we don't use an SMR and ATM.
4th Mar 2005, 08:55
Whilst it is true that the tower has the right to tell you to go around for any reason.....the pilot has the right to ignore that instruction and land anyway, on any runway he fancies.
Of course he may have to stand up and justify his decision at the subsequent inquiry.
The man with his hands on the throttle and stick has the power of veto over everybody else.
Gonzo... at what part of a visual switch from the left to the right, do we stop being monitored by one rwy tracking system and get switched to the other?
I think the system we have now starts tracking at six miles from touchdown, but only alarms if you deviate inside three miles, so a visual switch shouldn't set it off, unless it's a really late one!
4th Mar 2005, 10:07
<<the pilot has the right to ignore that instruction and land anyway, on any runway he fancies.>>
And only a complete and utter fool would.... and I've met a few, believe me. Thankfully not during my time at Heathrow!
<<Quick question for all ATC folk - If you give a go around command, does this not automaticaly CANCEL any previous landing clearance ?>>
Point to remember in this discussion is that no matter what a pilot thinks he sees out of the window, ATC may be aware of something he can't. Aircraft aren't sent around for fun; there has to be a very, very good reason.
7th Mar 2005, 20:26
Gonzo, thanks for your answer.
As for whether or not a sane pilot would choose to land after an ATC commanded go around. I guess that would depend on what he knew about his own aircraft's circumstances. Can't say i have ever done it, but i can dream up circumstances where it might be necessary, and i know of at least one occurence where the alternative was a certain crash, so the pilot landed and who would blame him?
Like my post said, you will have to be able to stand up in court and justify your actions. We are talking rare and extreme circumstances!
10th Mar 2005, 09:36
MATS Part 1
A landing aircraft, which is considered by a controller to be dangerously positioned on final approach, shall be instructed to carry out a missed approach. An aircraft can be considered as 'dangerously positioned' when it is poorly placed either laterally or vertically for the landing runway.
10th Mar 2005, 11:13
A few years ago, a friend of mine was in the tower at EGPH, he instructed the pilot of a 146 from a now defunct Belgian Airline to go around at 4 miles due to a disabled light aircraft on the threshold of rwy24.
After several calls instructing the aircraft to go around, the pilot flew over the disabled aircraft, said "tower was that for us, we land anyway"
Whatever you as Pilots think, we in ATC do not instruct a/c to go around for anything other than a very good reason, the additional workload that a missed approach creates for us means we don't do it unless the safety of your aircraft would be compromised should the approach be continued.
11th Mar 2005, 09:06
I feel I should also point out that failure to comply with ATC instructions, particularly in this case, would most likely end up with an MOR being filed!