No "Unable" command after go around

Context: Our VA pilots and I were on an event flight into PHKO. There is an error with the ILS 17 procedure on the map which we did not catch that meant we were establishing on the localizer thousands of feet above the glideslope. We each announced going around in succession. I was the first. Tower instructed us to enter left downwind for 17… But left traffic turns you into a mountain (I didn’t realize and had to initiate an emergency climb), whereas right traffic takes you over the water.

Unfortunately, we did not have an Unable option, so we all had to climb well above standard TPA to follow the instruction. Will an Unable command be added? What would you recommend as the appropriate response to a traffic pattern entry instruction that creates a ground separation issue?


An “unable” command to a go-around would be misused in so many cases. Even on Expert server, there’s a fair share of pilots who think they’re invincible. Go arounds are about as “commanding” as commands come - you can refuse vectors for a few reasons but when you’re told to go around you really don’t have a choice.

Go around pattern entries aren’t a set route. You can fly as far out and as far left as you choose. If the controller has a problem with it, we all are on the IFC to answer any questions or talk through any reports (even if we are wrong).

My advice would be to find the best compromise between following instructions and flying safely. Don’t conflict with other traffic and there shouldn’t be an issue.


Or maybe there could be some sort of command that says “requesting right traffic”, for this situation.


Appreciate your take, although I don’t agree that Unable would necessarily be overused - it’s already an option with radar control, and I don’t believe it poses a problem. I would have preferred honestly to just enter right traffic and announce it and leave it to the controller to come to terms with my decision, but I was apprehensive of receiving a reprimand haha

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On radar it’s a bit of a nuisance as well lol. People will use it to refuse vectors they don’t like rather than use it to save their aircraft from imminently crashing. Having an unable on the “go around” command in general, without being able to separate it from the pattern direction, is where there might be a problem.

This is obviously just my opinion though - I think either scenario (mine or yours) would work out ok, even if it required a bit of discussion with the controller afterwards. It is the controller’s job to have a general understanding of their airport, and a giant aircraft-threatening mountain is something they should and usually will be aware of.


This seems like the best way forward haha


Tower should not have told you to make left traffic, that was an error on their part that should not occur. I’m not sure if there is a way to communicate with Tower that you would be unable to do that.

Was this on expert?


Yep. It’s a minor error, I understand the natural inclination to default to left traffic, but yeah the controller should have been aware of the terrain.

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Unfortunately there was no reasonable way at the time to communicate that. 🤷‍♂️

Not really, no.

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As an Aerodrome controller deal with the pilot on the ground rather than sacrifice that plane on short finals for a go around. Let PIC ask for a go around rather than the ATC initiating the procedure. Unable feature for the pilot is quite necessary at all times.

Maybe something like this is required?


That’s excellent. I voted for it.

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