Go Around vs Missed Approach

What is the difference between a go around and a missed approach? Im slightly confused and haven’t been able to find a clear explanation.

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They are essentially the same thing…

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oh. That’s odd but now that I think about it…
Thanks @BennyBoy

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Here’s some detailed explanations about it:

TL;DR:

Missed approach = IFR
Go around = VFR

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Might wanna check this out as this was a similar topic. Hope this helps :)

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So if I were to use APPR all the way down to landing then I would call a missed approach if something were to go off track but If I was using my eyes (visual) then I’d call a go around?

Yes that’s correct…

Actually I often hear ATC commands like “XXX123 go around, execute missed approach”
Maybe the “missed approach” refers to the course that the plane follows after initiating a go around?

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Go around - the actual flying. As in pitching up, setting the pwer, and flying the airplane.
Rejected landing - sometimes called a bailed landing, a go around under the decision height or minimum decent altitude.
Missed approach - the routing and procedures as far as the airspace and ATC are concerned.

These aren’t great definitions but I hope that makes sense

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Hey Liam!

There are a few key differences between a go-around and a missed approach. Let me outline them for you!

A Missed Approach:
A Missed Approach usually happens when the ILS or GPS approach was unable to be completed successfully. Usually, the Radar controller will tell you to execute a missed approach which is essentially the radar version of a go-around. ATC may ask you to execute a missed approach due to separation, missed intercept, or other items that would interrupt your ability to complete the approach and be handed off to the tower. Additionally, if you receive a go-around with tower and they tell you to contact approach, the first message you send to approach would be to “executing missed approach” this lets them know that you went around and it is time to enter you back into the radar path to the runway!

A Go-Around:
The Go-around is similar to a missed approach but will be handled by Visual approaches and told by tower. Usually, a go-around will happen due to a too high, fast, or uneven approach/final, or you lost separation with the aircraft in front, or an aircraft is on the runway, thus losing further separation and a runway conflict.

As you can see, they both mean the same thing, try again for the approach, but they are each used within a different situation, approach, and what position of ATC you are communicating with.

I found the Infinite Flight Flying guide section on Go-Arounds quite helpful for this topic, it also includes a how-to video! Check it out here:


I hope this answered any questions you might have. These are two very important skills to learn as a pilot and I am glad you reached out to the community for help, it is what we are here for! If you need any further clarification just let me know!

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