NTSB recommends new separation standards for go-arounds

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Aircraft separation standards used for departing aircraft would also be applied to aircraft performing a go-around after a missed approach under a new recommendation proposed by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The proposal sent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is aimed at preventing mid-air collisions caused by a go-around by one aircraft.

The letter sent by the NTSB identifies five such near-collisions on US runways since 2006, although manoeuvres by the flight crews prevented any damage or injuries.

FAA standards already require controllers to keep departing aircraft from starting a take-off roll until a landing aircraft crossing an intersecting flight path or runway is no longer a threat.

But a gap exists when a landing aircraft essentially becomes a departing aircraft during a go-around procedure, the NTSB says.

"In the event of a go-around, the arriving aircraft effectively becomes a departure," the NTSB says.

Air traffic controllers have no viable options under the current standards for aircraft in such circumstances to maintain safe separations.

"Instead, separation was established by resorting to impromptu evasive manoeuvres by pilots during critical phases of flight," the NTSB says.

The NTSB concludes the letter by recommending that the FAA establish new standards for safe separations.