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Sidestep on a Go-Around. Left or Right?

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Moving Target
Mar 7, 2004
When initiating a go-around at an uncontrolled airport (in this case, a pilot pulls out on the runway in front of you and begins the takeoff roll when you are on very short final) do you sidestep left or right?

In my opinion, barring potential wake turbulence (where offsetting to the upwind side might be safer) or obstacles I say you should sidestep to the right, especially in a non-tandem seat airplane like a 152, 172, Legacy, etc..

1) If you are in the left seat you want to keep the other aircraft in sight. Sidestepping to the right will facilitate that.

2) You may in fact be overtaking the aircraft during the go-around so due to right-of-way rules you will want to go to the right.

3) If the pattern is standard (to the left) offsetting to the right means the airplane on the roll will turn away from you at the x-wind leg.

Thoughts? You would not believe the arguments this is causing around the campfire.
Yes. Normally. For all the reasons you list, you would stay to the right.

However, ..."it depends". Yeah, there are always reasons to deviate from almost every 'normal' situation. It is a judgment call.

For instance, it's a dual flight and the PIC is the instructor who wants to keep the aircraft taking off in sight so he goes left.

If the go-around is initiated high and early enough, the pilot may deem it safer and more efficient to stay left and make an early left turn to crosswind.

These are probably some of the situations that are promoting the arguments around the campfire you speak of. I'm sure you can think of many more, but it comes down to PIC decision at the moment of go-around, even when there is a "standard policy" at your airport, because it is still the PIC's responsibility to remain clear.
I was told, "Sidestep to the direction of the traffic pattern. Otherwise you may go head to head with a helicopter."

I was told, "Sidestep to the direction of the traffic pattern. Otherwise you may go head to head with a helicopter."


Huh? When has a helicopter ever used the pattern at a non-towered airport? And my understanding is they are way down on the right of way totem pole....

Unless this statement was "tongue and cheek" then excuse my lack of humor on the subject....
No tongue in cheek. He was dead serious. Something about helicopters flying a pattern opposite that of fixed wing yadda yadda yadda. I was just like, "Ooooookaaaaay."

I always taught to go right as a standard but use judgment for times when you might need to go left (equipment, parallel runways, obstacles, wake turbulence, etc.).

Helicopters rarely fly the pattern unless training in which case you would probably know they are there. Plus if you are flying an airplane slow enough to worry about which side to go the chances are you are going slow enough that you will not quickly overtake a helicopter. Id stick with the previous reasons for determining which ways to go.
who cares which way you go.. just see and avoid... and good god, hit a helicopter? jsut how far are you side stepping...?

ps? i have actually gone head to head with another plane landing opposite direction at an uncontrolled field in calm winds... he was on the wrong frequency. when was the last time you saw someone actually doing what they are supposed to do? rarely happens... see and avoid.

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