Go Around in Bad Weather

My wife just arrived in Ontario, CA from Denver on UAL 430 (31-Dec-2022). As I was driving up to the airport to get her, the weather was really deteriating from a visibility standpoint. Low clouds, light rain, not much wind. Had to be pure fog up there. From FlighAware data, I saw that the pilot did indeed do a go around. I LOVE pilots that are cautious. If it isn’t right, reset. I do wonder, if any pilots would care to comment, what does the crew do to “reset” and land in mist/fog as the weather didn’t change much on the second approach.

By the way, the first approach was aborted at 500 feet AGL.


Short answer: They switch from an RNAV approach to an ILS approach the second time.

It was the weather, as you suspected, but a missed approach could be caused by many things besides just the weather. In the short time it takes to go around, things can change just enough that the crew is then able to land. Usually, the second time around the crew knows what to expect and has already had one good look at the field and lighting. They already know what lighting is available, but it helps to actually see it and the other airfield lights on the first attempt.

The crew also changed from a RNAV approach to an ILS approach when they came in the second time.

2033Z Contacted tower. RNAV 26L. Cleared to land 26L.

2038Z Advised tower executing missed approach. When tower asked why, said unable to see the runway.

2051Z ILS 26L. cleared to land 26L.

If you enjoyed tracking her flight, you might enjoy the ATC audio available online for the missed approach.

KONT page:

On that page you will see the section for KONT Tower and the archives for the tower comm.

Archive Access: KONT Tower

Here you can select the UTC date 31 DEC 2022, and time = 2030-2100Z

These type of online audio clips are real-time, so they include all the dead air time. It is much easier to just download the .mp3 and then play it in something like Audacity where you can see the audio and quickly jump between the radio calls.