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Is there a difference between a balked landing and a go-around?

If there is, what exactly is a balked landing?

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The only term in the Pilot Controller Glossary is Go Around, so should technically be the only term used, at least when communicating with ATC:

GO AROUND- Instructions for a pilot to abandon his/her approach to landing. Additional instructions may follow. Unless otherwise advised by ATC, a VFR aircraft or an aircraft conducting visual approach should overfly the runway while climbing to traffic pattern altitude and enter the traffic pattern via the crosswind leg. A pilot on an IFR flight plan making an instrument approach should execute the published missed approach procedure or proceed as instructed by ATC; e.g., "Go around" (additional instructions if required).



The ATP PTS also includes a Rejected Landing, which is what our simulator instructors refer to as a Balked Landing, and must be at or below 50 feet AGL. It has the following note describing it in the PTS:

NOTE: The maneuver may be combined with instrument, circling, or missed approach procedures, but instrument conditions need not be simulated below 100 feet above the runway. This maneuver should be initiated approximately 50 feet above the runway or landing area and approximately over the runway threshold or as recommended by the FSB Report.

The pilot follows the same procedures for both of them by aborting the landing, cleaning up the airplane, and flying the appropriate procedure afterwards.

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I'm thinking "balked landing" might be some kind of local terminology. I've never heard that one before, it's always "go around". – Brian Knoblauch Mar 5 '14 at 15:53
@BrianKnoblauch Yes, as I said that's the "official" term that should be used by ATC. I've only ever heard balked landing in the training environment. – Lnafziger Mar 5 '14 at 15:55
Yeah even if you bounce it off the pavement it is still a go-around. It might be considered a balked landing below DH but over the radio it's "N1234 going around.." or going missed I guess if your doing an instrument approach. – p1l0t Apr 16 '14 at 20:31
also note that the little button on the autopilot is the "go around" button, not the "balked landing" button: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeoff/Go-around_switch – rbp Dec 8 '14 at 15:17

Almost everything I read says that a balked landing is the same thing as a go-around. (Indeed, the wikipedia page for balked landing redirects to the 'go-around' page).

In these cases, a balked landing, also known as a go-around, creates a better opportunity for a near perfect landing [src]

A balked landing – also known as a go-around, is an aborted landing of an aircraft that is on final approach … for landing [src]

This thread mentions that they are the same as a go-around, but can include when the wheels briefly touch down.

However, I did find one slightly dissenting opinion here:

I don’t know of an official definition of a balked landing that makes it different from a go-around. The way the balked landing term is generally used is that the actual landing procedure has begun and must be aborted. A go-around generally begins at a higher altitude and lacks the urgency of the balked landing.

So, in summary, they're pretty much the same thing (or exactly the same thing), but some people differentiate the two by the altitude the procedure begins at.

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I'm accustomed to the terms meaning the same thing too. I suppose from a purely grammatical/linguistic standpoint "to balk" means "to hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking", so when one "balks" a landing (unwilling to land because the approach is bad, the winds just shifted, the ILS died, a truck pulled onto the runway, etc...) the result is a go-around - hopefully a successful one. – voretaq7 Mar 4 '14 at 19:35
@voretaq7 I agree with you, you should put that in an answer. The go around is a procedure (and in my opinion extends beyond the balked landing), balking the landing is just that, not landing. It has (as you say, hopefully) the same result, but they have, as I understand it, "linguistically" different scope. – falstro Mar 5 '14 at 7:20
@roe I consider it a minor grammatical nitpick -- in aviation the two terms are essentially interchangeable in my experience (though "Go Around" is the only officially defined term) – voretaq7 Mar 5 '14 at 19:08

While there is no distinction between balked landing <-> go arround, "technically" you will find in regulations a difference between balked landing and missed approach.

Missed Approach climb is defined as a go-around from at or above DH (possibly with one engine inoperative). CS(Part) 25 assumes required gradient on:

  • Go-around thrust on remaining engines
  • Landing gear retracted
  • Approach flap set

Balked Landing climb is a go-around from below DH, possibly in the flare (note that all engines are assumed available). CS (Part) 25 assumes required gradient on :

  • Go-around thrust all engines
  • Landing gear down
  • Landing flap set
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The missed approach procedure is published with considering the terrain in the area. It is calculated that an aircraft can safely go around clearing the terrain if it starts go-around at the DH. If the aircraft descents below DH, and decides to go around things go different. Because now it starts the procedure approximately 200' below and also 1NM ahead of the published missed approach procedure. This is a balked landing, and has to be handled with more care. to carry out the engine out SID after balked landing in low visibility conditions also has to be considered

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Balked landingd it is not a simple go around or missed aproach landing, in a balked landing the airplane must be able to maintain a steady gradient of climb of at least (different for each airplane)with:

(1) Not more than the power that is available on each engine eight seconds after initiation of movement of the power controls from minimum flight-idle position;

(2) The landing gear extended;

(3) The wing flaps in the landing position; and

(4) A climb speed equal to VREF,


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A balked landing is a go around in the landing configuration: flaps and slats at the required setting, gear down, etc.

A go around can be performed in any aircraft configuration.

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Balked Landing is a very low altitude Go-Around. Not a term you would use with ATC, they don't care. It's a term found in certain aircraft flight manuals and requires a slightly different procedure than a normal go-around, similar to a rejected landing. Usually wheel touchdown is likely and you must verify airspeed increasing past a certain point (safe flap retract speed) and positive rate of climb before de-configuring, otherwise you risk touching down with the gear in transit or slamming down because of loss of lift from flaps/slats.

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Can you provide links to, or at least descriptions of, the "certain aircraft flight manuals"? It would be interesting to know which aircraft require these different procedures. – FreeMan Oct 6 '15 at 13:37

Balked Landing – A discontinued landing attempt. Term is often used in conjunction with aircraft configuration or performance assessment, as in “Balked landing climb gradient”. Also referred to as “Go-Around”

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