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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