Scenario: Aircraft on final is approaching the threshold. A departing aircraft is slow to roll and ATC must issue a go-around instruction.




Is there a correct order to follow for these instructions. Set aside the reason for the go-around is obvious and turning first would appear to be prudent. In simple terms, it there anything that prevents a pilot from turning first, climbing first and then turning, or perhaps making a climbing turn?

* I'm a controller.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ ATC would not tell a pilot to pull up, and would not issue any further instructions than "go around". Once the airplane on finals acknowledges the go around then ATC will issue further instructions. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Sep 25, 2019 at 13:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Phraseology sometimes differs from place to place, what country are you asking about? $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Sep 25, 2019 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ Canada. Phraseology is exactly as I stated. If you haven't provided alternate missed approach instructions, as soon as you say pull up the aircraft starts flying the published missed. We don't want that so, we issue a heading and an altitude. It's the order of compliance I'm curious about. I cannot see where guidance to pilots is written down anywhere. $\endgroup$
    – ezalpha
    Sep 25, 2019 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ @ezalpha Regardless of what is official (if anything), in practice it would be safest to be prepared for pilots to either ido them in the order stated or do both at the same time. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Sep 25, 2019 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ StephenS. Yes, we are prepared, its just that I'm surprised that its not written down. $\endgroup$
    – ezalpha
    Sep 25, 2019 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


Standard ICAO phraseology for ATC commanded go around for callsign XYZ would be: "XYZ go around (possible reason for go-around)"

XYZ would then acknowledge this: "Going around, XYZ"

ATC may then give additional instructions in the order it sees fit. If turning is first priority:

"XYZ turn left heading 360, climb and maintain 3000"

In any case the plane would of course be climbing, so if there is a heading to give, it would be logical to command it first.

If for some reason it is imperative to turn the plane away from something as quickly as possible, ATC can command "XYZ turn IMMEDIATELY left heading 360"

Why like this? Because it is imperative that that ATC can be assured as fast as possible that the aircraft will be initiating the go around. Anything other is secondary. The pilot will be preoccupied with the go around procedure for a couple of seconds, and should not worry about heading untill safe climb speed has been established. It is also good practise to keep messages short when something out of the ordinary is happening. Not that go arounds would be that rare, but the pilot might be wet behind the ears, and too many instructions might overwhelm him/her.

In any case ATC must assume there will be some delay in anything an airliner does. There's all kinds of CRM going on in the cockpit to verify everything happens safely.

As to why Canadian phraseology would use the non-standard "pull up" seems strange, but from what I hear Canadians are very nice people so I'll let it slide :)

  • $\begingroup$ Set aside the "pull up" vs "go around" part. This happened. 787 3/4 mile final had to be pulled because a 737 was slow to roll. 787 was told to maintain 3000, turn left (50 degrees). Controller expected the aircraft to turn left almost immediately (it had obstacle clx) and start climbing. Instead, it climbed straight ahead. Amazing how quickly an empty 787 accelerates. It darn near passed the 737 before we got it sorted out. Crew report says F/O (flying) started to turn but Capt said "no we climb to 3000 then turn". Capt won. My question is: who's right? I can't find an answer $\endgroup$
    – ezalpha
    Sep 25, 2019 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ What airfield, rwy @ezalpha? Maybe the published missed approach has something about the climb part. If instructions were as you stated, I think it is not unreasonable from the capt. to think you expect to first climb to the altitude, then turn. If you want immediate turn, you command an immediate turn. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Sep 26, 2019 at 5:41
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    $\begingroup$ Turns out indeed Canada uses "pull up". / @ezalpha: Was it parallel runways ops? If yes, check ICAO Doc 4444: if below 400 ft, which the 787 would have been since you say 3/4 miles, it's climb then turn, if above 400 ft, then turn for avoidance (must be stated in urgent tone) then climb. Anyway banking close to Vref and climbing (higher g-load) increases the stall speed (so IMHO the captain did the right thing). $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Sep 26, 2019 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ Parallel ops, but that's not the point (ie divergence). We said turn left maintain 3000. A/c was 1100 agl, obstacle clearance not an issue. Issued at 3/4 mile we expect the aircraft to be turning before it reached the threshold. Instead, it overflew most of the runway. FO (pf) started to turn. Capt overruled. They discussed on the ground. There was another pilot in the jumpseat. He agreed with the first officer. To my point. We didn't say "as soon as able" or "immediately". I think they can turn, climb or a combination. Shouldn't be confusion over something as basic as this. $\endgroup$
    – ezalpha
    Sep 27, 2019 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ Cockpit is not a parliament @ezalpha, there's no voting when PIC makes a decision. I bet the reason to climb straight was because of a published missed approach. As I don't know where exactly this happend, can't be sure. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Sep 27, 2019 at 13:05

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