You don’t see a lot of go-arounds at major airports but they do happen. I was down at LAX awaiting the arrival of a friend when a Cathay Pacific 777 came on to the approach. As I looked back at it, the approach did not appear to be too stable. It seemed to start off a little high, then it got back on glide path but it adopted a rather nose high attitude. At this point I thought something seemed amiss but it then resumed a more normal approach angle and I figured they had got it under control. It was at this time that they powered up and climbed away.
They were tucking up the gear as they came across the top of me. They flew the missed approach procedure and then came around for a second go which went fine this time. I don’t know what the issue was but I did talk to some other pilots that had flown the approach that day and they mentioned that construction work was underway that had meant some of the approach aids were out of service. Maybe this was a factor. Since airlines have strict procedures about going around if they are not stabilized by a certain point, maybe they were just too late getting it back and stable and had to follow the procedure.
The smoothness with which air traffic is usually managed means that, whenever something doesn’t go to plan, it is quite a surprise. A go around on approach is a relatively rare occurrence. I have only been on three commercial flights that spring to mind when a go around was executed. I saw a couple at SFO last year on one day but that was when two of the runways were shut and they were squeezing as much as they could in making the chance of a conflict higher.
I was watching arrivals to Chicago Midway when I saw a Falcon 2000 on approach. As they got closer, they obviously got the call and the aircraft pitched up and applied power to climb away. It made for an unusual angle at which to see the plane as it banked away on to the missed approach procedure. It obviously was not a complicated procedure because they showed up again shortly afterwards. They were then followed by a similar Falcon 2000 and it was only later, when I was going through the pictures, that I worked out which one was the jet that had made the go around.