domingo, 28 de março de 2021

Pilot Go-Around (PGA) Vs. Pilot Not Go-Around (PnGA) - Psychology

Psychology of the Decision Making Under Time Pressure

SOURCE: Wright State University

International Symposium on Aviation Psychology

Haslbeck, A., Eichinger, A., & Bengler, K. (2013). Pilot Decision Making: Modeling Choices in Go-Around

Situations. 17th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 548-553.

Part of the Other Psychiatry and Psychology Commons



One important aspect of good airmanship is pilots’ decision making (FAA, 2004; DeMaria, 2006).

Long-term experience is needed to build up comprehensive knowledge for an aviator to find appropriate decisions in a certain situation.

One potentially hazardous situation is the approach phase, representing more than one-third of all fatal accidents (IATA, 2011; Boeing, 2012).


Two typical accident categories defined by the International Air Transport Association are runway excursions (23% of IATA listed aircraft accidents in 2010) and hard landing (5%). In-depth analysis has shown, that in 35% of the runway excursions in 2010, meteorology has been a contributing factor. To complement this information, in one-fourth of all cases, the flight crew has failed to go-around after an unstabilized approach (IATA, 2011).

Go-around can be a safe decision to master the high-risk situation of a hazardous approach.

For types 1 and 2, the time intervals between different wind checks can be calculated. If a pilot is aware of a wind potentially differing from the ATC information, he should early perform a first wind check (t1) in the final approach (below 1,000 ft above ground level) and should repeat this check continuously until a final decision to (not) go around is made. The final wind check before the go-around is also measured (t2). If only one wind check is performed first and last check time coincide (t1=t2).

What are the driving forces for pilots to consider relevant information sources, i.e. important data displays?

Rasmussen’s classification of action identifying skill-based, rule-based, and knowledge-based behavior can help to localize relevant mechanisms (Rasmussen, 1983).

According to O’Hare (2003), “it will be easier to continue with an existing course of action than to change to a new one” (p. 223). So, pilots will sometimes tend to stick to unsuitable skill- or rule-based behavior, where analytical knowledge-based strategies would be appropriate (O’Hare, 2003).

Research Hypothesis 1: Pilots with a high level of experience will come to "better" decisions based upon good airmanship.

Research Hypothesis 2: Pilotos not intending to go around (PnGA) perceive relevant information too late or not at all.

The first wind check is later for PnGA than for PGA.

Research Hypothesis 3: Pilots intending to land (PnGA) stick to a default option up to the point of deciding to choose the default of landing.

The first wind check is not differing between PnGA and PGA.

Took part in this research Pilots with different practices and training.

Twenty-six long-haul captains (CPTs) flying Airbus A330/340 types participated in the experiment in a full flight simulator (JAR-STD 1A Level D) with A340-600 configuration and twenty-seven firs officers (FOs) scheduled on the A 320 short-haul fleet participated in an equivalent A320-200 full-flight simulator.


An uneventful flight from the east to Munich Airport in the early morning hours. The PF came back from his last rest about 25 minutes prior to the landing to perform the approach and landing. In the first phase of the approach, using the autopilot, foreign air traffic control (ATC) communication (‘party line’) between other approaching aircraft and the airport could be heard. Pilots’ tasks were to plan, monitor, and communicate. When approaching the instrument landing system, it was the PF’s decision when to change from autopilot to manual control.

To provoke a hazardous situation, at 1.000 ft. above ground level (AGL), a gentle wind turned into an illegitimate strong tailwind (16 knots) by a scripted event. The wind information given b ATC was constantly good over the whole scenario. For pilots, this information given by ATC is binding. Only the non-binding wind indicator located at the pilot’s navigation display has shown the real wind strength and direction.

Such a hazardous situation can occur when the wind turns because the wind information given by ATC is averaged over several minutes. So, the situation was inexplicit and uncertain for the participants to make the trade-off between a fuel-saving and economic landing with a noticeable higher risk or the abort of the approach for a safe second try (Haslbeck et al., 2012). The chance to go around was given to all participants until 70 ft. AGL. At this height, the PM was structured to callout ‘go-around’ and abort the approach due to a strong tailwind.


The long-haul captains with a lower level of practice and training but a high level of operational experience show significantly more willingness to land in a risky situation with strong tailwind than short-haul first officers do.

Interestingly only a small number of pilots (26 %) would have landed without the PM being instructed to trigger the go-around in any case. Instructor pilots normally report a higher tendency to go-around when being in the flight simulator in comparison to real flights.

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