My understanding of instrument approaches, at least those I do, is that you can make as many attempts as you feel safe to do so, taking account of fuel remaining, visibility, aiport status (ie open) and any ATC instructions. I was once on a Virgin 747 that took 6 attempts to get into San Francisco. So no reason why this Metroliner crew couldn't make 3 attempts (other than the reported viz and cloudbase seem incredibly poor).
And to the news hacks logged in, runways 17 and 35 are in opposing directions (170 and 350 deg)
How common an occurrence is it to miss an approach, then come back and make an attempt in the opposite direction?
Due to the nature of fog, you might find that as the fog sets in at one end of an airfield, the other side can be slightly better and after a go-around, after a discussion with your colleague on the flight deck and ATC, the information presented may well suggest an attempt on the opposite end would be your best chance of landing successfully before diverting elsewhere.
Must admit I've never seen it written down, but I once did 2 unsuccessful NPA's, then they opened the ILS, but wouldn't permit me to do a third approach! (Maybe it was a local rule) Was also told of the max 2 approach rule, but dunno where it comes from.
The number of approach attempts you are allowed will be defined in that Company's Operations Manual (which is approved by the authority).
With the airlines I have operated for you are only allowed a third attempt if there has been a significant improvement in the weather (this also is usually defined). There are also sometimes stipulations that the previous 2 attempts must be on autopilot. (Once again though this would depend on that Company's OM).
So this decision rests with the aircraft Commander (he obviously should be obeying the rules!).
Only exception would be if you have to declare an emergency for some reason.
Another reason for doing approaches onto a different runway is that this might save time and therefore fuel but usually it's because of better RVR etc.
decoding the weather from an earlier post (below) gives: 09.30 status, runway viz 300metres but 375m to the north on 17, 350m to the north on 35 At 10.00, they had 400m viz with 600m to the north on 17, 450m to the north on 35 Cloudbase 100ft but viz marginally improving but still pretty poor
The condition of the u/c indicates the wheels made no contact with the ground, so it seems the a/c contacted in present and final attitude. Therefore this was more than a hard landing from a botched approach, or so it would appear.
Flew into Kerry this morning and that was nice and clear, but flying in there you could see lot of fog in the valleys and also over large parts of Ireland. Including Cork, which we overflew coming in from the East, but that was before the time of the crash in Cork.
@ FourTrails: actual current readings in wind or vis can be different then on a METAR or ATIS. And even with vis lower than minimum required passing 1000ft you can continue, because once you pass the OM and the vis then drops below minima you are allowed to continue to your mimimum alt for your approach. So please be a bit careful in what you say and have some respect as you dont know the exact details and the guys are not around anymore to defend themselves.
Last edited by Horsepowerrr; 11th Feb 2011 at 20:34.