Aviation Zen: Go-Arounds

Let us meditate on go-arounds.

When you’re trying to land a plane, there will be times when instead of landing the plane, you will have to abandon the landing, apply full power, fly the plane away from the ground, and go back around to try the landing again. We call that a “go-around.” The lesson that is taught to pilots is that, whenever in doubt, go around.

If you feel like you’ve gotten too close to the runway and are still way too high off the ground and can’t safely lose altitude in a controlled manner, go around.

If you try to land the plane and end up coming down too hard and bounce off the runway, don’t try to land a second time. Go around.

If you’re trying to land the plane and everything is going perfectly and suddenly a fox runs out onto the runway in front of you, go around.

If some voice in your head is telling you that Saturn’s position in Orion doesn’t bode well for this particular landing—well, first go around, and then, after you successfully land, please seek therapy, as you probably shouldn’t have been medically cleared for a pilot’s license in the first place.

What is the life lesson to be learned here? Don’t stay committed to a bad plan. Don’t see a bad plan through to the end, even if you’ve “already come so far,” because it’s much more likely to have a bad outcome. It’s much better to simply abandon a bad plan and try again. There’s no shame in saying you didn’t get it right the first time and that it’s time to go through the motions and try it again.

Even the best and most experienced professionals in the world have to do it, and they know it’s much better to do that than to literally crash and burn.

Update: Read more meditations from the air at my new blog, “Aviation Zen.”

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