Tag Archives: Eurocontrol

Is More Emphasis Needed on Commercial Aviation ‘Go-Around’ Procedures & Is More Training Needed to Improve Safety? : A Report of the Flight Safety Foundation European and International Advisory Committee June 2013 ‘Go-Around Safety Forum’

IMG_6024Commercial pilots do not often go around when an approach has gone bad. As a matter of fact about 97%  of the time, pilots have tried to salvage a good landing out of a bad approach. From that segment of attempted landings out of bad approaches comes nearly all of the fatal commercial aviation landing disasters. At least that is what seven separate groups of commercial aviation safety researchers have discovered.

Those seven separate and independent research groups presented their papers at the recent Go Around Safety Forum, June 18, 2013 held at EuroControl Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The Go Around Safety Forum was organized by the European Advisory Committee and the International Advisory Committee of the Flight Safety Foundation and co-sponsored by the European Regions Airline Association and EuroControl. EuroControl is the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, with 39 member nations. See http://www.eurocontrol.int/ .  After working on this joint EAC-IAC project for three years, which included international meetings and a great deal of correspondence, I am pleased to say that all of the formative work, persuading our safety community that we need to look deeper into the issue of go arounds has proven to be well worth the effort manifested today in this highly unique conference. The work of EAC. has been to look ahead and find new ways to dramatically improve commercial aviation safety.




All of the papers presented are now supported by EuroControl Skybrary, an on line reference web site open to all. See http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Portal:Go-Around_Safety and http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Portal:Go-Around_Safety_Forum_Presentations.

I would like to recommend the articles concerning flight crew Go Around Procedures Training to all commercial airline safety and training managers to determine how the syllabus at your organization compares. See http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Go-around_Training

IMG_6030_2Author and member of European Advisory Committee (EAC) Captain Paul Miller with long time committee member Jean-Jacques Speyer VUB University and current EAC chairman and Eurocontrol Safety Manager Tzvetomir Blajev at the June 18, 2013 Go Around Safety Forum.


IMG_5985Independent Pilot Association representative Captain Cris Simmons (middle) with chairman of the International Advisory Committee Captain Bill Curtis (left) and Captain Martin Smith, PhD, aviation safety researcher, Presage Group (right).


IMG_6025Author with Zeljko Oreski, Executive VP, Int’l Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Assns (IFATCA).



When airlines write Go Around procedures and then train their flight crew members on how to use them, somehow a disconnect may be happening.  What have here may be a failure to communicate. If only 3 out of 100 pilots is use the going around procedure when the approach goes wrong or as it is referred to in industry terms as “unstable,”  then statistics show that in that pool of the 97% of pilots who try to land, virtually all of the landing mishaps occur that involve runway over runs, excursions off of the side of the runway, short landings into terrain and other structures occur.

In safety terms, this is an area where industry wide, a great improvement in safety can be achieved if flight crew members execute a go around 100% of the time out of an unstable approach and come back around. Why there is a large disparity between what is trained and what done by line pilots is up to each airline to determine and remedy.  The Go Around Safety Forum was intended to bring the issue to the attention of the global commercial aviation community and in that regard it was a successful three year effort, capped off by the successful one day seminar. Now all of the papers, the data and discussion is available to all airlines and it now is up to the local safety managers at each airline to put this information to good use and improve safety.

IMG_6035Flags of the 39 European nations of Eurocontrol.


Safety versus Everything Else not SMS

Safety Managers can sort through legalities by remembering what safety is and what safety is not. Safety is about prevention, human factors, reporting and investigating, fixing the problem, communicating and looking forward.

Safety is not about criminal law, civil law, administrative law or regulatory law; it is not about public administration or zoning around airports. It is not about public relations, disaster preparedness and actually, much to the surprise of many, it is not about accident investigation.

All of these subject areas may involve commercial aviation and we have to be about the business of managing all of these areas, but they are not safety management.

Safety management is now going through the SMS phase and that is mostly good. But there is a mystic which may confuse some, turn off others or gray the black and white lines of aviation safety.

Safety must foremost be prevention, prevention of hazards from becoming mishaps. Strong leadership in safety is needed to make prevention happen; it does not come naturally to us humans to prevent mishaps, we tend to trip and skin our knees, we do not always seem ready to prevent the trip and fall. But prevention is cheaper. Straightening a rug by a door is cheaper that sending a guest to the hospital with a trip caused broken bone.

Safety is really all about human factors or what we really know as human error. There is no mishap on record that did not hold human error to account. So prevention really does seem to be a human error issue, what can we do as flight crew to improve our human performance. Training comes to mind, procedures and checklists as part of that.

Safety is all about the reporter finding a hazard and yelling out loud, “Hey, here is a problem everyone!” Those of us gifted to see thing may see more, but everyone sees something. Encourage reporting.

Fixing the problem is critical, don’t just report the hazard. There is no one other than the safety manager who is more in charge at this point; this is your time to shine. Do the work corporately or by your own imagination- but get the work done to find the solution and pronto. Remember that the flight on which the hazard was found will be repeated in an hour, a day or a week. No time for waiting for “the system to work.” The system didn’t work and now is the time to step in and take action, work with others to take action, manage others who are taking action or foster the action takers to hurry up.

Communicating is how safety works. Remember that you both speak for the pilots and to the pilots. They speak to you. Keep those channels open and flowing. Do whatever is needed in your organizations culture to encourage communications. Remember also that Tweets, emails, Facebook, IM’s and every new electronic media is whats happening now.

Lastly, safety is all about looking forward to mishap free operations.  Consider everything you do as influencing a safer tomorrow. You will be one of the few who do.

Remember, do not get involved, sidetracked or distracted by what safety is not. As the safety manager, you are the only one doing those six safety goals leading you to the now SMS.

Alone in the sky with the sunrise.

Alone in the sky with the sunrise.