NTSB Seeks Go-Around Changes from FAA

Based on its analysis of five near-misses by planes at major U.S. airports, the agency's safety recommendation letter asks FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to make air traffic control changes.

The full National Transportation Safety Board has sent a safety recommendation letter asking FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to change air traffic control policy related to "go-arounds," when an aircraft aborts an attempted landing while on final approach. The board based this on its investigation of five incidents in which commercial jetliners came close to other aircraft at major U.S. airports, with three of those incidents occurring at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport.

In all five incidents, airplanes making a go-around maneuver took a flightpath that intersected with that of another airplane that was departing or arriving on another runway of the same airport, according to the board. Its July 1 letter describes the incidents in detail and includes a basic map of the flightpaths in question, along with information showing how close to each other the planes were in each case.

The McCarran incidents occurred in July 2012, April 2012, and January 2006. The other incidents occurred at New York John F. Kennedy International Airport in July 2012 and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in July 2012.

The recommendation is: Amend Federal Aviation Administration Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," to establish separation standards similar to the provisions of paragraph 3-9-8 between an arriving aircraft that goes around and any combination of arriving or departing aircraft operating on runways where flightpaths may intersect.

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