FROM THE FLIGHT DECK:
I was flying from the right seat, my check airman was the pilot monitoring, and the augmented crew sat behind us—Four pilots working together to bring the aircraft safely to a landing. I was the new pilot, my captain and the captain in the jumpseat were both check airmen.
The tower departed aircraft in front of us, as we approached on final. As they rolled another plane onto the runway, I asked the guys, “Do you think we’re a little close?” My experienced instructors assured me that we were good. And they were right. We continued. Then ATC taxied yet another aircraft onto the runway. I said, “I don’t think…” and then ATC broke in and told us “... Go-Around.”
“Go around thrust, flaps fifteen, positive rate… gear up, heading select!” I moved the power forward and pressed the TOGA (Takeoff Go-Around power) button. We climbed, flew downwind for another landing and burned about 10,000 lbs of extra fuel. After touchdown ATC changed the runway direction due to the strong tailwind we experienced on both approaches.
Thankfully this type of experience in the flight deck is a non-event, because we are trained to follow procedures.
This is not a common occurrence in the big planes, but pilots practice numerous missed approach scenarios in their annual training events to make sure that they're prepared.
Every approach I mentally prepare for the possibility of and talk through the missed-approach as part of my briefing. Not only where we'll navigate to and the altitude, but the procedure and sequence of power, gear, flaps, etc. I'm rehearsed and prepared in the unlikely event.
Do you have a technique that prepares you for the unexpected?
Enjoy the Journey!