Occasionally it may be advisable for safety reasons to discontinue the landing approach and make another approach under more favorable conditions. Extremely low base to final turns, overshot or low final approaches, the unexpected appearance of hazards on the runway, wake turbulence from a preceding airplane, or overtaking another airplane on the approach are hazardous conditions that would demand a go-around.
Although the need to discontinue a landing may arise at any point in the landing process, the most critical go-around will usually be one started when very close to the ground. Nevertheless, it is safer to make a go-around than to touch down while drifting or while in a crab, or to make a hard drop in landing from a high roundout or bounced landing.
Regardless of the height above the ground at which it is begun, a safe go-around may be accomplished if an early decision is made, a sound plan is followed, and the procedure is performed properly. The earlier a dangerous situation is recognized and the sooner the landing is rejected and the go-around started, the safer the procedure will be. The pilot should never wait until the last moment to make the decision.
When the decision is made to discontinue an approach and perform a go-around, takeoff power should be applied immediately and the airplane's pitch attitude changed so as to slow or stop the descent. After the descent has been stopped, the landing flaps may be partially retracted or placed in the takeoff position, as recommended by the manufacturer.
Caution must be used, however, in retracting the flaps. Depending on the airplane's altitude and airspeed, it may be wise to retract the flaps intermittently in small increments to allow time for the airplane to accelerate progressively as they are being raised. A sudden and complete retraction of the flaps at a very low airspeed could cause a loss of lift resulting in the airplane settling into the ground.
Unless otherwise specified in the airplane's operating manual, it is generally recommended that the flaps be retracted (at least partially) before retracting the landing gear - for two reasons. first, on most airplanes full flaps produce more drag than the landing gear; and second, in case the airplane should inadvertently touch down as the go-around is initiated, it is most desirable to have the landing gear in the down and locked position.
When takeoff power is applied, it will usually be necessary to hold considerable pressure on the controls to maintain straight flight and a safe climb attitude. Since the airplane has been trimmed for the approach (a low power and airspeed condition), the nose will tend to rise sharply and veer to the left unless firm control pressures are applied. Forward elevator pressure must be applied to hold the nose in a safe climbing attitude; right rudder pressure must be increased to counteract torque, or P-factor, and to keep the nose straight. The airplane must be held in the proper flight attitude regardless of the amount of control pressure that is required. Frequently, this pressure is quite strong.
While holding the airplane straight and in a safe climbing attitude, the pilot should retrim the airplane to relieve at least the heavy control pressures. Since the airspeed will build up rapidly with the application of takeoff power, and the controls will become more effective, this initial trim is to relieve the heavy pressures until a more precise trim can be made for the lighter pressures.
It is advisable to retract the landing gear only after the initial or rough trim has been accomplished and when it is certain the airplane will remain airborne. During the initial part of an extremely low go-around, the airplane may "mush" onto the runway and bounce. This situation is not particularly dangerous if the airplane is kept straight, and a constant, safe pitch attitude maintained. The airplane will be approaching safe flying speed rapidly and the advanced power will cushion any secondary touchdown.
If the pitch attitude is increased excessively in an effort to prevent the airplane from mushing onto the runway, it may cause the airplane to stall. This would be especially likely if no trim correction is made and the flaps remain fully extended. NEVER ATTEMPT TO RETRACT THE LANDING GEAR UNTIL AFTER A ROUGH TRIM IS ACCOMPLISHED AND A POSITIVE RATE OF CLIMB IS ESTABLISHED OR THE DESCENT STOPPED.
After a positive rate of climb is established and the landing gear is retracted, the airplane should be allowed to accelerate to the best rate of climb speed (Vy) before the final flap retraction is accomplished.
From this point on, the procedure is identical with that for a normal climb after takeoff.