Korean authorities bid to instil go-around culture

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Korean authorities are claiming that pro-active measures to instil a go-around culture is improving pilots’ responses to unstable approaches among the country’s airlines.

Flight operations quality assurance data to be presented to the upcoming ICAO Assembly shows that, over the year to March 2010, Korean carriers made 725 unstable approaches.

Fifty-two of these, it says, called for a missed approach but a go-around was performed in only 18 instances.

“This demonstrates the reluctance that pilots have to follow normal procedure and make a go-around,” says the presentation from Korean representatives.

"Pilot ability is a significant factor in this issue, since pilots who made an unstabilised approach demonstrated low flying time in general."

Between 1991 and 2013, it adds, unstable approaches in Korea have resulted in eight fatal accidents.

Analysis of unstable approaches and landing accidents in the country found that non-awareness of the situation, failure to make a go-around at the proper height, and delayed go-around decisions were primary contributors.

“Pilots have a strong urge to attempt landing during an unstabilised approach, being reluctant to do a go-around,” the presentation states.

It says that analysis of quality assurance data, and pre-emptive training to execute missed approaches, have been shows to improve pilot judgement.

“No sanctions will be imposed on a pilot who makes a normal go-around in response to an unstabilised approach,” it adds.

Follow-up assessment covering the period from January-October 2011 indicated that the proportion of unstable approaches calling for go-around had fallen by nearly 30%, and that a go-around had been conducted in more than half of the 27 instances recorded.

The Korean presentation is timely, in the wake of the fatal Asiana Airlines approach accident at San Francisco on 6 July, during which a Boeing 777-200 descended below the glidepath. US investigators have yet to reach conclusions about the accident.

Korean representatives will stress to the Assembly the need to create conditions enabling pilots to perform a go-around “without hesitation”, without the fear of criticism or pressure to write reports justifying their decision.