Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

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  1. #1
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    Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

    I'm a pilot at one of the majors and I have a question. New guidance on visual approaches they handed us says level off at 1500' on a missed approach until ATC says otherwise per 7110.65W 7-4-1a.

    Basically, per 7-4-1a: "aircraft executing a go−around may be instructed to enterthe traffic pattern for landing and an altitude assignment is not required".

    Because of that, we are to set 1,500' AFE regardless of the airport on every visual. So if we shoot ILS 27L into ATL and it becomes a visual 27L, then missed is now 1,500 until we hear otherwise.

    Now they actually added 1,500, or as terrain dictates, which to me is MSA, but they really want 1,500'. It's someone's thing and they say its directly from you. I wouldn't care but it presents a threat if we start at 1500' and change it to a higher altitude on one of our airplanes and the pilots concentrate more on heading, altitude and configuration and miss something key in th go around and end up at min speed because of the altitude change, but that's a us problem.

    Then there is the AIM 5-4-23 which is not referenced in any material from the company:
    AIM 5-4-23 says: e. A visual approach is not an IAP and thereforehas no missed approach segment. If a go around isnecessary for any reason, aircraft operating atcontrolled airports will be issued an appropriateadvisory/clearance/instruction by the tower. Atuncontrolled airports, aircraft are expected to remainclear of clouds and complete a landing as soon aspossible. If a landing cannot be accomplished, theaircraft is expected to remain clear of clouds andcontact ATC as soon as possible for further clearance.
    So what are you guys really expecting from us on a missed from a visual approach, where we remain IFR, if you don't give an altitude assignment? 1,500', MSA or whatever just remain clear of clouds?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

    The short answer is that we aren't expecting you to execute a missed approach on a visual approach, so we're going to scramble a little to figure out why you couldn't land based on what we know about weather and airport conditions.

    If you go around on a visual approach and the airport has a control tower, Local should be: (1) asking why you went around if he doesn't already know, and planning to resolve the issue if it has to do with the runway you were cleared to land on; (2) asking whether you'd prefer to make closed traffic with him or be vectored for another approach; (3) giving you a direction of turn and pattern altitude in the first case, or a heading and altitude to maintain in the second case.

    If you go around on a visual approach and the airport does not have a control tower, then your choice is between trying to execute another landing on your own if you still have the airport in sight, or going back to the last controller's frequency for him to vector you again. I work at a center, so after I clear you, I simply block the airport 1000 feet above the last altitude data I see until I have a cancellation or down time from you or the FSS. If you return to my frequency from a visual approach declaring that you went around, I'll (1) identify your airplane, (2) verify your Mode C, (3) climb you to the MIA, and (4) ask what happened so I know whether you want to return to that airport and what the constraints might be.

  3. #3
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    Re: Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

    Quote Originally Posted by forgot to bid View Post
    So what are you guys really expecting from us on a missed from a visual approach, where we remain IFR, if you don't give an altitude assignment? 1,500', MSA or whatever just remain clear of clouds?
    9 times out of 10 you’ll get a heading and altitude regardless of whether or not you were on a visual approach. ATL won’t keep you in the pattern. I’m at MDW and we very rarely keep one. Most places just treat you like a departure and you get worked back in by approach. Even if I’m going to keep you, I’ll give you a climb to the MVA and runway heading and then ask what you’d prefer, vectors or pattern. Point is if you’re IFR and not on a published route or procedure, you need an altitude assignment unless you’re technically still on the visual approach via the pattern.

    I guess to answer your question, if you’re on a visual approach and go around and your instruction is “make left traffic runway xx” and that’s it, you’ll be expected to fly at a reasonable pattern altitude. 1500’ AGL would definitely be appropriate. Keep in mind this would be extremely rare and you could always ask what altitude they’d like if you ever found yourself in this situation.

  4. #4
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    Re: Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

    I've worked at both places where a tower would keep you in the pattern and where they wouldn't. You should expect to get an immediate vector and altitude to maintain. Usually just runway heading unless there's something in the way like traffic departing below you. Then either a pattern entry or be switched to departure for re-sequence. Even at the place where we would always keep the go arounds in our pattern we normally climbed a little bit above the normal pattern. Mostly because it was easier for pilots that were not used to being put in a pattern to use an even altitude rather than trying to figure out what the pattern altitude was.

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    Re: Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

    I'm so glad this thread was started, because this will be the nail in the coffin for the debate at my facility now that I finally *read* that reference in 7-4-1.

    I can honestly say, I'm not "expecting" an airliner to do anything if they call they're going around besides climb on runway heading, until they're 400' AGL. I'll probably leave you on RH unless I have a good traffic reason to move you elsewhere - departures, pattern traffic, etc. My first call is going to be "climb and maintain xxx, fly runway heading/assigned heading. Our altitude is *always* going to be above the MVA (well, it should be, because you shouldn't be assigning an IFR an altitude below the MVA), so as an airliner, the 1500 thing is probably more of a formality/paper stop than anything, until you get further instructions.

    Most likely, I'm going to ship you back to approach for re-sequence, unless there isn't another plane for 30 miles and I can afford you the space to go out to the FAF for the RNAV or ILS on your own nav (Even though you're on a "visual approach). Now, with the props that fly IFR - they'll probably stay with me in the pattern 9/10 times, where an airliner is probably going to go back to approach 9/10 times.

  6. #6
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    Re: Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

    Quote Originally Posted by customcables067 View Post
    I'm so glad this thread was started, because this will be the nail in the coffin for the debate at my facility now that I finally *read* that reference in 7-4-1.

    I can honestly say, I'm not "expecting" an airliner to do anything if they call they're going around besides climb on runway heading, until they're 400' AGL. I'll probably leave you on RH unless I have a good traffic reason to move you elsewhere - departures, pattern traffic, etc. My first call is going to be "climb and maintain xxx, fly runway heading/assigned heading. Our altitude is *always* going to be above the MVA (well, it should be, because you shouldn't be assigning an IFR an altitude below the MVA), so as an airliner, the 1500 thing is probably more of a formality/paper stop than anything, until you get further instructions.

    Most likely, I'm going to ship you back to approach for re-sequence, unless there isn't another plane for 30 miles and I can afford you the space to go out to the FAF for the RNAV or ILS on your own nav (Even though you're on a "visual approach). Now, with the props that fly IFR - they'll probably stay with me in the pattern 9/10 times, where an airliner is probably going to go back to approach 9/10 times.
    You have people at your facility saying you have to give an altitude assignment to someone staying in the pattern?

  7. #7
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    Re: Airline Go-Around on Visual... Automatic 1500' Pattern Altitude?

    Hey everyone thanks so much for the replies and it absolutely answers some questions.

    I'm in the school house at DL and we just got this 1500' thing not to long ago. Our fleet wasn't crazy about it because we have a little gotchya that could bite a crew not on their A-game because of a low altitude level off coupled with an altitude change. But we lost the argument, so from now on we will set up all visuals to be straight out to 1500' AFE until we hear otherwise.

    As you can imagine a go-around is a bit involved in the cockpit and you couple it with a jet that can quickly go from -700fpm to 4000fpm climb, 1500 is a quick capture. Compounded of course by the fact we make it a deliberate back and forth between the two pilots plus a reconfiguration and all that. So i looked like a wet cat getting the news this is how it shall be done. �� Fwiw, from the school house we try hard to get crews aa proficient with it as we can because for line pilots they are rare. In recurrent we can easily have a dozen approaches and 0 landings. We try to make it second nature but for a line pilot they're still rare.

    As to what you guys mentioned it helps, because for the longest time I've always wondered why we didn't have a concrete plan on a visual because we're kind of deseprate to set up the airplane for a go-around and yet we don't know the plan. But I get it now.

    I wish however we were just sticking to the FAR/AIM and not using the 7110 manual. Plus we're making the "may" into a "shall". But my thoughts on it matter to nobody and will be entertained by even fewer people. But at least I get the AIM from your perspective and can make it more understandable in my corner of the worl... basement.

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