September 2001 Issue

No-Fault Go Around

Rejecting a landing is less a sign of failure than a showcase of steely-eyed judgment

We were inching our way in a long, twisty conga line toward a runway 27 departure at this year’s Oshkosh AirVenture. Weather, an airport closure for a T-6 fly-by and arriving traffic had conspired to jam up the departures. When we were finally number five for takeoff, I noticed a Bonanza on a low, close-in right downwind.

The Bonanza’s base and final approach weren’t much more than a tight, descending 180-degree turn. During the maneuver, the Bonanza developed an extreme sink rate and overshot final. I thought to myself, “This guy has got to go around.” But he pressed on in what was obviously an unsalvageable approach. I turned to my rightseater and said, “He’s going to crash.”

And he...

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