Go around vs missed approach

What is the differenece between announcing a go around and annoucing a missed approach when on tower? (is there even one)

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I believe a go around happens on final, and a missed approach is during the approach.

Also, this goes in #live (I think)


Correct, Go-Around is on final.

But what, you are telling as controller the tower you can tell someone to do a missed approach??
Or do you mean when connected with tower?

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You can still execue a missed approach on final, or if you are unable to complete the approach

Technically, an MA is IFR procedure. The GA is for VFR stating your intention to remain in the pattern in order to again attempt to land.

Missed approach is if you are too high or fast, going around is if you think the runway is unsafe or the tower thinks it is unsafe for you to pass the threshold of the runway.

Also go around is usually use in VFR but still can be used in IFR

I have seen pilots that after they are cleared for approach and given a final heading, they do not correctly align themself with the ILS or accidentally align with the wrong runway. I saw this at KBOS, when a pilot was cleared for the a runway, but aligned with the wrong one and he was given “missed approach” instructions. Like @AlphaSeven said, a go around is usually when the aircraft is on Final.


Missed approach: Missed approach can be executed by atc/pilots if the aircraft is unable to complete ILS/GPS approach(instrument approach),missed approach cannot be executed for visual approach,vfr aircrafts(radar vectors, flight following,inbound with tower facality). A controller would send u missed approach vectors usually if you are unable to align with localiser,less spacing with aircraft ahead,or if u have executed missed approach after being vectored for instrument approach(ILS/GPS).

Go around: A go around is usually executed by vfr aircrafts,and by the controller for the several reasons. If the go around is Controller initiated to an IFR aircraft, it’ll be considered as missed Approach, hence announce missed approach to the radar controller(after being asked to change frequency) to execute a new approach.

Hope this helps!


what do you do if you announce a go around, tower tells you to make traffic? Climb to 1500 aal and turn? I know this is weird but I have almost always heard pilots announcing go around instead of missed approach on final.

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If tower tells u to make left/right traffic(they ask u to make the lefr/right hand turn)u can continue the runway heading, gain altitude,and can turn,tower will give u frequency change to radar controller. After being changed to radar, announce Executing missed approach and the controller will give u vectors to execute new approach back to the airport.

If they’re VFR,its valid,but also,not all are well known of the proceedures.

The STAR charts have go around procedures for each runway. IRL, you mention/told to go around > you execute the go around procedure > Tower hands you off to Departure > they hold you at the go around point or give you vectors towards a new approach > then they hand you off to Approach for the remaining approach vectors. If you were flying pattern work on the go around, Tower will keep you on their frequency. Have a gander at VASAviation for these IRL procedures.

This is subject to change in IF on ES. Have an idea of what to do in the event of a go around, and listen to whatever IFATC mentions.

A missed Approach is any missed instrument approach.

Does it really matter which one you announce to tower? (I know I cannot announce a go-around to approach)

Yesss thank you for the question. I was also wondering but always forget to ask.

There’s a lot of conflicting information being thrown around in this thread, but this response is more or less the most correct one for those of you who want clarification. Visual approaches, although classified as instrument procedures, have no published charts or instructions in which to conduct a missed.

One caveat, however, has been highlighted in bold within the text I attached. Go around issuances will vary depending on the controller and situation change(s) of the aircraft and all parties involved. Formal missed approach procedures may or may not be needed; I’ve had a fair share of pilots who simply wanted to switch to a VFR pattern and get down that way.

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Do you have answer to the question about whether it actually matters which one you call on IFR final?

You should call missed Approach, but, no, no tower controller is going to worry about it.

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Isn’t missed approach also an extra click or something? (handflying + using ATC on a phone is recipe for disaster, we need a better ATC UI)

Here’s the official FAA definitions as per the AIM.

Missed Approach

a. A maneuver conducted by a pilot when an instrument approach cannot be completed to a landing. The route of flight and altitude are shown on instrument approach procedure charts. A pilot executing a missed approach prior to the Missed Approach Point (MAP) must continue along the final approach to the MAP.

Go around

GO AROUND− Instructions for a pilot to abandon his/her approach to landing. Additional instructions may follow. Unless otherwise advised by ATC, a VFR aircraft or an aircraft conducting visual approach should overfly the runway while climbing to traffic pattern altitude and enter the traffic pattern via the crosswind leg. A pilot on an IFR flight plan making an instrument approach should execute the published missed approach procedure or proceed as instructed by ATC; e.g., “Go around” (additional instructions if required).

My personal take on it is they are very similar where Go Around means an aircraft executing an instrument approach should execute the missed approach segment. Go around to a VFR/Visual aircraft means they should abandon their approach and enter the traffic pattern.
A missed approach is executed when an aircraft executing an instrument approach cannot land the aircraft due to any reason, weather, traffic, or a foul runway. They would then execute the missed approach segment of that instrument approach or conform to radar vectors where provided. You would not however tell a VFR/Visual aircraft to execute missed approach.