Enough to take your breath away OR not!

Enough to take your breath away OR not!

As a pax, sometimes things occur that interrupt the boredom of flying. That something happened to me this last Sunday afternoon on Lufthansa flight 402 into EWR. I was in seat 55C, two rows from the back of a LH 747-400. The inbound flight from Frankfurt had cruised uneventful at 37,000 feet in bumpy skies for 8 hours. The final leg had us turn almost directly south after passing Albany and descending to 16,000 feet (all this info is recalled from the cabin monitors) for an apparent direct landing on runway 22. As we made our final descent in clear skies, the PIC applied a small amount of flaps, started his flair and then at what appeared the last moment before touchdown pulled that Heavy back into the skies, aborted the landing and started a slow climb for a go around. Sitting in that back seat, this change of events was enough to take my breath away until the Captain reduced what seemed a severe angle of attack, leveled the aircraft, completed his go around and landed on runway 29. His roll-out without reverse thrust was less then 3,000 feet.
My wife was watching all of this on flightaware.com/live/ and told me later that at 300 feet she turned away from the screen thinking we were on the ground, then turned back to log off only to see that little plane lifting off into the skies; she could not believe what she was seeing.
Postscript. As one of the last to leave the plane, I spoke briefly with the first officer and he said the Captain encountered 42 knot crosswinds and choose to abort the landing. As I was waiting for a taxi at ground transport, I noticed the Lufthansa Captain, called out to him, shook his hand and thanked him for his judgment, he said “Gern geschehen!”, you’re welcome.

What’s the line from Apollo 13, something like, “That’s 10 hours of boredom followed by 7 seconds of sheer terror.”

Whether in a 172 or a 747, good judgement is everything. I’m sure the captain appreciated your appreciation of his flying. Sounds like a fun experience!

I had the pleasure of flying quite a bit in the bumps and wind this week. Landed in BWI with gusts to 46. We definately discussed the option of going around during our approach briefs. The next day had a swell time getting into CDW and then DXR with over 35 knot gusts. There were a few reports of severe turbulence from even airliners. We got a few bumps that levitated everything (including the sodas in the drawer in the back making quite a racket).
Tues: Off :slight_smile:
Today: MHT-BVY-LGA-MHT Easy day, back home before noon.

Unfotunately FA didn’t track the flight since they had no departure time but you can watch the whole thing on Passur.com. It appears that all the other traffic was landing on 29 whilst your captain first attempted a straight in for 22. Check out the track of your go-around!

thanks jhwenger for the www4.passur.com/ewr.html site to replay my go around on 10/29 at 15:51 hours.
as you noted all other aircraft were landing on 29, so it begs the questions why did the LH Captain select 22 with the known crosswinds. the only other local traffic was at 12k.
did ATC give him a choice?
do the heavies attempt to avoid crossing over the Hudson River and Jersey City?