Copyright – Chris Kyle
Did you know that we all have a little bit of ‘Magician’ in us! Yes that’s right magical powers! Have you noticed that under some circumstances we have the ability to turn all of the fingers on our hands into THUMBS and if we’re really good at this magician stuff we can even turn our entire hands into HAMS and thus become HAM HANDED! ‘All thumbs’ and ‘ham handedness’ can be described as – blundering, bumbling, bungling, clunky, floundering etc and all put into one neat and descriptive word –maladroit – which means all of these things.
For example in an attempt to catch a cricket ball the arrival of which is unanticipated, watch your fingers all turn into thumbs (or hands into hams) and now watch how clumsy your hands become and then watch how you drop the ball!
On the other hand though (excuse the pun) if we are fully in tune with the game and situationally aware as to why and how balls are being flung, thrown and hit in all directions we can stand in readiness for action. Then in the interest of winning the game we can decide when the ball must be caught and then execute the necessary action to effectively do so.
How well we have been trained will determine how competent we are to execute the catching of the ball
Note, the key words here are:
? Situational awareness… Following the dynamics of the game
? Readiness…………………… in anticipation by planning and being prepared
? Trained……………………….. to apply what we’ve been trained to do
? Execute…………………….… so that the procedure can be executed
? Competent ………………… in a proficient, well controlled and safe way.
As was discussed in the previous chapter ( Stabilized Approach). Read there that:
Statistics show that ‘unstabilised approaches’ are cited as being a causal factor in a very large percentage of approach and landing accidents and serious incidents world wide – a major contributor to accidents indeed!
Runway excursions caused by loss of control and poor aircraft handling techniques are frequent’.
Many such accidents could have been avoided if only the pilot had not pressed on with a bad approach or one in conditions beyond his/her ability and the aircrafts performance capabilities but instead had opted to go-around.
It is the trait of a good pilot to execute a go-around if not absolutely happy that a safe landing can be made off of an approach and that landing performance can be met!
The decision to execute a Go-around and being equipped with the aircraft handling skills required to carry out the manoeuvre is critically important!
That is why it is a ‘competent/not yet competent’ item included in the ‘Initial Skills Test or Competency Check Report’ SACAA form CA 61-03.4 – Section 7 – Approach and Landing Procedures – Aspect 8 ‘Go around from flaps fully extended’
It’s sometimes shockingly astounding to observe the antics, poor airmanship and bungling that takes place when an unthinking, poorly trained and unprepared pilot is requested to demonstrate a go-around at a crucial phase on the approach. This is where the unpractised, unprepared pilot demonstrates his/her adeptness at being a profoundly talented magician by turning all fingers into thumbs and hands into hams. Not funny – very serious indeed and can cause horrible loss of control whilst executing this relatively simple but very important procedure.
The GO-AROUND PROCEDURE for most single engine aeroplanes is similar. However the Pilot Operating Handbookmust be consulted for each different type but it usually goes something like this.
· POWER UP (pilot operating handbook)
· RAISE FLAP TO RECOMMENDED POSITION(pilot operating handbook)
· ESTABLISH POSITIVE RATE OF CLIMB.
· TAKE OFF SAFETY SPEED (pilot operating handbook)
· UNDER-CARRIAGE UP – ONCE OBSTACLES CLEARED.
· FLAP UP.
That’s how it looks on paper but what actually happens in flight might offer a few in flight aircraft handling challenges that we must be aware of and manage smoothly and efficiently
You will remember from Exercise 4 (Effects of Controls) – (can you remember that far back?) – if you can’t perhaps now’s a good time to go back and refresh your memory.
Nose Up Pitching Moment.
As power is advanced from a low power setting to full power as in executing a go-around the nose of the aircraft will pitch toward the canopy and in some types especially the more powerful ones this nose up pitching moment can be very strong requiring considerable stick forward pressure to prevent the aircraft from pitching to a perilously high nose attitude at low speed. Why does it do this? – remember the couples of the forces acting on an aircraft!
The condition is exacerbated by the trim position as set for final approach.
I once knew a little sprig of a person who hardly had enough physical strength to hold off these stick forces until a trim change was made.
These forces can become even stronger in aircraft that have a wide Centre of Gravity location envelope and the C of G is at it’s rearmost extremity but still in the envelope.
Yaw and Directional Control.
In standard American type aeroplanes (propeller rotating clockwise as viewed by the pilot) the nose of the aircraft will yaw to the left due to the Slipstream Effect of the propeller wash over the Vertical Fin area. There is also a certain amount of‘asymmetric blade thrust’ caused by the down going blade having a higher angle of attack than the up-going one at low airspeeds and high nose attitudes. This bit of asymmetric blade thrust also favours a yaw to the left.
As power is increased, Torque Effect causes roll to the left because there is a tendency for the propeller to ‘twist’ the aircraft in the rolling plane to the left resulting in some left roll. Now if this is corrected by aileron only to maintain level wings, the down going aileron on the left wing used to correct this, causes more drag than the up-going one on the right wing thus – further left yaw (adverse aileron yaw-remember)
All of these combined forces can induce control problems if not checked by the application of appropriate control inputs. Nothing worse than seeing an aeroplane heading for the windsock or hangars during an attempted Go-around!
In very powerful aircraft with large propeller discs such as some of the famous World War 11 fighter aircraft, these forces were sufficient to cause the aircraft to roll into the ground if the throttle was not handled gently and the necessary control inputs were not applied at a go-around. Who needed the enemy to do the job!
It is imperative to be aware of this and to keep the ball in the centre and maintain a safe airspeed! WE ALL KNOW OF THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE BALL BEING OUT OF CENTRE AT LOW AIRSPEEDS!
Here’s a thing to remember POWER UP – Right Rudder PURR!
Once full power is applied and the aircraft is under control the flaps must be raised carefully and in increments as soon as possible to whatever stage the Pilot Operating Handbook says for the go-around.
This can also offer a number challenges.
At least in most aircraft, as flap is raised, there is a nose down pitching moment thus alleviating some of the forward stick pressure required. If not done carefully though, considerable ‘sink’ might be experienced and this is not good when very close to the ground and especially if an obstacle must be cleared. Thus a positive rate of climb must be sought as soon as a safe speed is reached (POH)
For most single engine aeroplanes the Gear should be retracted only after all obstacles are cleared – the reason for this is that on some types the drag caused by the retraction of the wheels can be considerable and can have a profound transient effect on climb performance.
Some ‘nasties’ have happened whereby during a go-around pilots have opted to select gear up before retracting full flap to the recommended setting. The combined drag of the full flap and cycling gear can be sufficient to cause the aircraft to sink to the runway. Guess what – ‘aeroplanes bounce better on their wheels than on their flaps!’
NOW HERE’S THE THING:
As any pilot worth his/her salt formulates a well thought out and planned take-off briefing prior to departure (not just a recital of a standard briefing but altering it to be appropriate for the conditions at hand while assessing the threats possible for the particular departure) he/she should also then review and brief on the Go-around procedure, aircraft handling techniques and intentions thereafter prior to landing?
Pilots flying under Instrument Flight Rules do this as a matter of course and carefully scrutinize and understand certain published ‘Missed Approach Procedures’ way before an approach is attempted to a landing facility. These procedures give these pilots a well defined path to follow that will take them back to ‘a safe place’ should a landing not be possible off of an approach. They can then make further decisions based on information available to either attempt another approach or to continue on to a preplanned landing alternate aerodrome where a safe landing can be made with enough and legal fuel reserves remaining. These pilots are, or should be, very proficient at the aircraft handling skills required to fly away from a rejected approach and thus construct a suitable climb gradient in order to comply with the missed approach procedure and terrain clearance requirements.
With this in mind the VFR pilot should include the possibility of a go-around into his/her Field Approach Checks and Considerations?
Plan for the landing but plan even better for the Go-around!
The Considerations should be.
Threats – Topography – lay of the land, mountains, hills etc.
Trees, power lines, radio masts etc.
Intentions after Go-around. Notify ATC or broadcast intentions (unmanned)
Weather, wind, possible wind shear- rotor caused by wind etc.
Go- Around Procedure as per POH, System Status, Loading, Speeds, Climb Performance etc.
Threats after Go-around is commenced e.g. other aircraft, fuel, time, conditions as experienced on first attempt, possible conditions at alternate etc.
These are only guidelines as to how we should be thinking and forward planning during flight.
The point is:
Let’s not wait until it’s too late to commence a go-around. Let us rather be well prepared by thinking ahead and having a plan to make an early decision to climb away from danger to safety!
It’s all about the way we think, apply and act out sound principles of ‘Threat and Error Management!’
Until next we meet get out there and practice those Go-arounds – the aim is to strive for consistency of performance!
Happy and safe landings!
The contents of this article is not meant to be prescriptive but was created to offer guidelines only. Information may not be technically correct and should therefore not be used for actual flight situations.