Dangerous Go Arounds Earn the AP the Cranky Jackass Award

You know that feeling when you see a news report from a reputable news source that is just so insanely wrong that it makes you question everything they do? 06_09_12 jackassWell, here’s a good one for you. This report is so absolutely ridiculous that it has earned the Associated Press a Cranky Jackass award.

This video has apparently been making the rounds of various news outlets lately, and it needs to be stopped. It must be a slow news week for this to get picked up. The premise? When an airplane aborts its landing and goes around, it’s a horribly unsafe move. The reality? It’s far safer than continuing to try a landing that shouldn’t happen. Take a look for yourself.

Where can I start with this steaming pile of crap? How about the opening line . . .

Last December, Howard Kronberg was a passenger on a flight about to touch down at the airport in Newark, New Jersey when he feared his life was over. “It’s a catastrophic accident waiting to happen.”

Oh good, so a passenger with no flying experience knows that it’s a horribly unsafe maneuver? Please. As tempting as it may be, I can’t say I fault this guy for thinking that. A go-around can be a scary thing if you don’t know what’s happening. So who can I fault? The AP for putting this garbage on the air.

Go-arounds are a normal part of flying. If there’s any question that landing on a runway would be unsafe, then the best possible move is to go around and try again. This can happen because another plane doesn’t clear the runway fast enough, the plane comes in too fast or too high, or maybe the weather is too bad at the moment. In these cases, it’s a safer move to go around than to try to get on the ground.

I find it incredible that the report states that some controllers say that going around makes a mid-air collision more likely, yet there’s no source on that at all. In fact, the only controller they interview says it’s “the safe route out.”

I’ve been through more than one go-around in my life, and I’ll admit that it can be a little tense since you don’t know why it’s happening. But just remember, pilots don’t want to go around either. The sooner they land, the sooner they can go home (or to the hotel). So if you’re going around, there’s a good reason for it, and your pilot is keeping you safe.

Pieces like these hold absolutely no value other than to scare people with something that isn’t unsafe. I wish there was some stronger oversight at the AP, because this report never should have seen the light of day.

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38 Comments on "Dangerous Go Arounds Earn the AP the Cranky Jackass Award"

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Lucky
Guest

Cranky, call me naive, but this has to be a joke. It absolutely must be. If they’re serious… well… wow.

Rob
Guest

“News” in America is just sensationalist pap to keep the sheeple entertained, and ignorant of current events. Better get used to more and more of that.

Xnuiem
Member

“Mr Kronberg, what you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on YouTube is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Tracker
Guest
Wow. Are they stupid or something? Would that obviously in-experienced non-flyer of a guy have preferred that his plane go ahead and land, in which case his “life would have been over.” What an idiot. Of course the bigger idiot is the AP for not doing their homework. Of course it’s no surprise to me. The last time I was on a plane, some moron sitting across from me as we were coming into land at DFW, saw a plane that passed us, probably more than a mile away and thousands of feet below us, and exclaimed “OMG! That was… Read more »
Xnuiem
Member
I live at DFW, and let me tell you….I am so sorry. The way they come in here on the parallel runways, and traffic for ADS, DAL, AFW, and all the other little ones, you are going to see a lot of airplanes in the skies here. And if the pilots have visual, they can get as close as they may (with a few provisions), it’s not a deal if they see each other. *sigh* But you are right, his alternative was to land, crash, and burn. Either that or “climb drastically”. And ya wonder why the flying wing Boeing… Read more »
Roy
Guest

OMG…I saw the report on NBC this morning and I was floored. NBC mentioned the airport was at fault…yeah more like the controller who could decide what he wanted to do with the Cayman Airlines aircraft.

I second the cranky jackass!!!!

– Roy

Zach
Guest
Here’s yet another gem from a media outlet that apparently can’t find a decent aviation expert to cite (re: the Obama “emergency” landing): “As the pilot struggled to re-gain control of the pitch of the plane – the angle of the nose of the plane – Obama was told that he and the other 44 passengers on board might have to assume the brace position upon landing, bending forward with their heads between their knees.” Is this a joke? To read this account (from somebody who was not on the aircraft), you would think that the plane and its occupants… Read more »
Zach
Guest

Oh, I failed to mention that the above is from no less than ABC News.

Casey
Guest
While although they did sensationalize a horribly insignificant statistic, the AP story did have legitimate basis … and it was worth reporting. The real news is that the FAA and airports have been proactively correcting any broken procedures that could make a go around unsafe under very specific conditions. IE: making procedures in place so a plane is not in the way right after an aborted take off. As airport schedules become more compressed, this type of thing can become a problem if not planned for properly. Preventing incursions on the ground and immediately after take off does have the… Read more »
Casey
Guest
People are afraid of things that they cannot see or understand. Aircraft floating on an invisible swath of air, flown by methods not understood will always be a target. I am certain the AP (among other news outlets) will continue to produce stories to keep us in fear — because people like reading stories like this. What kind of headline would this be: “Floating 7 miles in the air at 600 miles per hour safer than brushing your teeth” compared to this number: “perfectionist pilots put your life in danger with go-arounds, seeking the ‘perfect landing’ to win employee contest… Read more »
The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist
I love a good story….even one as off the mark as this. My first go around was at Santiago, Chile, of all places. We held on the ground for an hour in MIAMI hoping the expected morning fog would lift by the time we got down there. Nine hours later, we’re circling, cleared to land, gear down then BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, engine roar, G-forces up, gear up and off we go…….to Mendoza, Argentina, our alternate! Why? The controller who cleared us was overridden by his supervisor because we were attempting to land below mins in fog conditions (pilots can be chatty if… Read more »
The Traveling Optimist
Guest
The Traveling Optimist

By “Big ol’ party” at Mendoza, I meant inbound flights from American, LanChile, Flying Tiger and Iberia and a couple of local names were all waiting for clearence back to Santiago. By no means did we break out the bubbly, despite Mendoza being in wine country. They wouldn’t let us off the plane!

Wonko Beeblebrox
Guest

I’ve only been in a go-around once. Back in May 2004, I was on a ~2 week old N919FJ as Mesa/AmericaWest and it did a touch-and-go in ELP because it (seemingly) came in too high and couldn’t find the runway. Just as the engines revved back up, the back wheels touched. We went around anyway and got a tour of the nearby oil refinery….

David
Guest

Had one go around in my life at LGA. We were coming in for landing on a CRJ and then the engines suddenly came back to life. I look off to the right side of the plane and see a 737 coming up underneath us. My heart could have done without that, but glad that the pilots and ATC did their job.

Axelsarkiss
Member

What a joke.

Yo
Guest

The media has always been pathetic about airlines. What do you expect? Barbie and Ken, no journalism, just sensationalism.

I’m working on a blockbuster story. Did you know that a huge percentage of people who go to nursing homes DIE there? Its an outrage, we need an investigation!

Yo
Guest

I had a go around, on one of the first AWA 747 flights. Coming back to PHX, sitting upper deck.

My seat was comfy, I didn’t care about the extra 10 minutes.

Rob
Guest

I have a go-around story to beat ALL your go-around stories: landing at Reedley International Airport (population 50 or something like that) in my rented Cessna 172, at about ten feet above the runway I suddenly spotted a large dog capering around the runway ahead of me! With heroic lightning reflexes I zoomed back into the air and did a brave go-around. Probably saved at least two whole lives that day (mine and the dog’s). Why didn’t I think to alert the media???

Zach
Guest

I’ve had one that I can remember.

Landing at JFK coming in from Copenhagen on a DL 767 about 10 years ago, we landed, rolled for about 3 seconds, and then powered up and took off for the go-’round. There was never any explanation, and once we landed the second time, the crew made the arrival announcements as if nothing had happened.

simon.forbes
Member
Can I just say in the four months I’ve been reading this blog, it’s been entertaining and informative in probably equal measure (just about how I like it), good work CF, keep it up. I’ve recently started commuting between London and Dublin, using BMI – pretty respectable airline, good points system, part of the star alliance, etc etc. But your point about flight crew communication with the SLFs (self-loading freight) in the back took me back to a flight last week – approaching London ready for the turnaround to get onto the landing approach, we went through an electrical storm,… Read more »
Tracker
Guest
Rob, that’s a great story. You should have called NBC, CNN, ABC and had them come out there and interview the dog. I bet that poor mutt recognized the benefit of go-arounds. And I think the dog would have had a heck of a lot more common sense than the guy they interviewed for this story! Simon, I tell you have only been afraid once on a flight, and that was landing at BWI on my way to England in a lightening storm. There was lightening all around the plane, and I nearly flipped out LOL. Of course, my mother-in-law… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Are go-arounds really that uncommon? I know I’ve been through at least 5 of them. Usually the pilot comes on in a bit to explain that “there was another aircraft on our runway” or somesuch.

The AP reporting here is atrocious, no two ways about it.

pbz
Guest
CF you are 100% right with the exception of your last comment. Oversight of the AP (i.e. infringing on freedom of the press) is not the answer to this! The answer is better schooling and MORE freedom of the press, i.e. blogs such as yourself to expose inaccuracies and MORE newsfeeds with higher quality news that can cause AP to go out of business if they keep this up over the long run. Sorry to get political but keep your hands off AP’s typewriter, let them put themselves out of business if they keep it up, but it’s not the… Read more »
TR
Guest
I flew TWA to Milan from NYC in 1988 or so. The plane was a 747-200 and I was sitting in a window seat towards the back. Upon arrival at Milan, we had to circle the airport for 1-2 hours due to heavy fog (prior to instrument landing?) or else relocate for another airport according to the pilot. After quite a long time, the pilot announced that he was going to try to land. We descended in no-visibility clouds, FA’s were told to strap in, one of them crossed herself a couple of times which made the people in my… Read more »
Marvin Schuldiner
Guest
They do deserve the jackass award. When I was a student pilot at LGB (Long Beach), I was ordered on a go-around but I was doing it without the controller having to say so. LGB is laid out like a tic-tac-toe board with a 10,000′ runway bisecting it diagonally. I was (cleared by ATC and) landing on the usual 25L and looked to my left at the head of the long intersecting runway to see a corporate jet landing at the same time. We would have been at the intersection at the same time. I opted to do a go… Read more »
pbz
Guest

CF you are right. Better oversight AT the AP, not better oversight *OF* the AP. My misreading I’m sure. Thanks & keep up the good work,
/pbz

David SF eastbay
Member

The Associated Press and any station that runs this video should be ashamed of themselves. Aren’t most go arounds due to bad weather? They act like a go around is something new. Guess these idiots aren’t smart enough to know go arounds have been happening since the beginning of flight when a pilot didn’t think they could land the first time they tried.

j
Guest
That’s right, “Yo,” the media should never investigate anything. We should just always trust government officials and big companies who employ us and sell us stuff. They know best, right? right!? Rip the AP for blowing this issue out of proportion, but let’s cool it with all the sanctimonious pot shots on how superficial and dumb the media is.
Tracker
Guest
j, perhaps you haven’t watched most of the news networks in the US lately. Their top story is like “Brittney Spears in Rehab again”. So come off it. Most of them are too scared (that they’ll lose their jobs) to mention any REAL issues (because the giant media corporations that own them don’t like them to point out anything that might muck up the status quo), and so they have to divert to scare tactics about things that aren’t true, or don’t really matter, to keep their audience attentive. When it’s not scare tactics, it’s cheap paparazzi crap about what… Read more »
Yo
Guest

Oh “J” you are being hyperbolic.

Whenever there is a crash, the networks fill time with endless uninformed speculation, graphics of planes that are usually very wrong, and then they call in Mary Schiavo to spread even more bilge.

You sound like a borderline conspiracy theorist.

Tracker
Guest

Yo wrote: “…then they call in Mary Schiavo to spread even more bilge.”

OMG, I was drinking a soda right when I read that and almost choked! You are so right. They go on and on and on about a single plane crash, and yet WAY more people are killed on our nations highways every year and that’s not news, unless it involves some cute blonde girl, then it gets 24-7 coverage until something else happens (i.e. Britney in rehab again).

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