If I was cleared for a touch and go and go-around on short final or just before touchdown, do I have to notify ATC?

I still would have made a takeoff after the touchdown during a touch and go, so it's basically the same when I start the climb a few seconds earlier isn't it?

  • $\begingroup$ You don't really ever have to "declare" a go-around, it is your option as a pilot to discontinue an approach and make another attempt any time you feel uncomfortable about continuing. ATC will see what you are doing and won't talk to you, they will assume you will climb to traffic pattern altitude on the runway heading and follow the traffic pattern. Once you get stabilized and your workload goes down, contact ATC for further instructions. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Aug 30 '16 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ Yes; It may be interesting for ATC to know the reason for your go around. Was there traffic on the runway? Birds on final approach? Wind shear? $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard Aug 30 '16 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ Which country are you asking about? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Aug 30 '16 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Pondlife I asked in general, but if there are significant differences I would be interested in them. $\endgroup$ – Noah Krasser Aug 30 '16 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ @NoahFisher It would be nearly impossible to list "significant differences" for every country in the world, so we restrict regulatory questions to a specific locality so that they may be answered. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Aug 30 '16 at 23:27

From the Instrument Procedures Handbook, page 4-41 (as part of the Missed Approach section), there is a quote about what to do when you need to go around when operating beyond the missed approach point:

In the event a balked (rejected) landing occurs at a position other than the published missed approach point, the pilot should contact ATC as soon as possible to obtain an amended clearance.

I have seen several other references in FAA documents which say to "contact ATC as soon as practical" in similar situations, but nothing which specifically says to do it any time that a go around is initiated by the pilot (i.e. under VFR).

That being said, if you have received a specific clearance (for a touch and go), and decide that you prefer to do something else (low approach/go-around), you should always receive an amended clearance first. If you know ahead of time, your best option is probably to request the "option", in which case you have a clearance to do either one.

On the other hand, if the reason for the go-around is due to a safety issue then execute the go-around immediately when needed, and follow the above guidance to contact ATC as soon as practical if they don't call you first.

I was taught by my flight instructor to always report it, and the tower certainly needs to know about it in order to provide proper separation with other aircraft operating in the area. If nothing else, it is a "best practice" to ensure that the person in the tower doesn't get distracted and not notice that you didn't land.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't see the relevance of the IFR procedures covered in the Instrument Procedures Handbook, and the present discussion of touch-and-goes at a towered field. When going missed under IFR, you need to amend your clearance. When doing a go-around at a towered field, there is no IFR clearance to amend. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Aug 31 '16 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters Well, he didn't specify IFR or VFR, so my answer is generic and covers both. As for your second point, even when VFR you are given a clearance (not an IFR one) when you are cleared for a touch and go, etc. and therefore need to obtain an amended clearance if you want to do something different. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Aug 31 '16 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters Oh, and actually your statement that you need to amend your clearance when going missed under IFR is wrong too. A clearance for an approach included a clearance for the missed approach (ref AIM). The quote that I included above is for a balked landing, which is a VFR procedure since you are operating on a visual approach or below IFR landing minimums (and therefore quite similar to a VFR go-around), not a missed approach. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Aug 31 '16 at 16:45

From my experience, it is definitely good airmanship to advise the tower (and thereby other aircraft) of your intentions if you are doing something unexpected. If you are on IFR and cleared for the touch and go or "the option", then you should already have received climb out instructions, which would apply whether you actually touched down or not. So there's no issue from a clearance perspective.

The reason for announcing it is that going around instead of touching down can significantly change the pattern spacing. If you are following close behind another aircraft, going around would put you much closer. Tower may ask you to extend upwind a bit. Like Dingo_Chaser said though, Aviate Navigate, Communicate. If you've got your hands full then don't worry about it.


From my experience and conversations with my CFI, I think it's more of a courtesy to the tower and to the other planes in the area, so they know what to expect. After all, if it's at a controlled airport, the tower will have a visual on you during your landing.

  • $\begingroup$ I would say it is Good Airmanship to announce what you are doing rather than just a courtesy. When ever an aircraft does something unexpected it could easily cause a conflict or safety issue. $\endgroup$ – Mike Sowsun Aug 30 '16 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, but it's not mandatory to declare a go-around when you're performing one. If the conditions aren't optimal, there's a lot more to worry about in the cockpit than declaring intention. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. $\endgroup$ – AaronJPung Aug 30 '16 at 14:59

The general answer is: yes, you have to notify ATC that you are going around. This is clearly stated in the ICAO Manual of Radiotelephony (doc 9432) (emphasis mine):

4.8.3 In the event that the missed approach is initiated by the pilot, the phrase “GOING AROUND” shall be used.

Note the use of the word "shall", which denotes a mandatory action.

This applies equally to approaches with the intention to land and approaches for touch and goes (since not stated otherwise).

As others have pointed out, you should always focus on flying the aircraft first before worrying talking on the radio. Make sure you have the situation under control before talking to ATC.

Note that the other answers posted so far only focus on local rules in the USA. The answer I have provided here is general since it is based on ICAO SARPs, and applies to the entire world, except for specific countries which have decided to not follow certain international standards.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, he actually should specify the rules that he is asking about (I wrote my answer before I noticed that he didn't specify). As you say, there are specific countries which have decided to not follow certain international standards, so this answer could be wrong as well. (I still gave you a +1 for the SARPs quote, but your last paragraph shows that your answer could be just as wrong as the others that assume a particular jurisdiction.) $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Aug 31 '16 at 16:42

Required, no. But it's always a good idea.

In the Airman's Handbook, it says that you should always contact the tower when a missed approach procedure must be executed. The purpose for this is to alert the tower of any air or ground conditions that caused you to abort the landing attempt, which they may not be aware of.

However, remember your priorities: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Your first priority is to fly the plane. Your second priority is to point the plane where it needs to go and to avoid any potential collisions with other planes. Once you have accomplished both of those and still have mental and physical capacity, you can talk to whomever might need to know what you're doing.

This is all just as true of a T&G as for an actual landing. If you can't T&G because someone pulled onto the numbers right in front of you, the tower will want to know that even if it was just a "practice landing attempt". But, a T&G is even more mentally demanding than a normal landing, because it's a landing followed immediately by a takeoff, and your first priority is to handle the plane in a safe manner for everyone involved.


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