The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has published a Special Bulletin concerning a serious incident involving a Boeing 737-800 aircraft registration G-FDZF, with 67 passengers on board, during a go-around at Aberdeen Airport on 11 September 2021.
The aircraft deviated significantly from the expected flight path, initially climbing, but just before it reached the cleared altitude began to descend. It descended with a maximum rate of descent of more than 3,000 ft/min, and it accelerated to an airspeed of 286 kt (the selected airspeed was 200 kt) before the crew corrected the flightpath. The subsequent approach and landing were completed without further incident.
The pilots of G-FDZF, like many other airline pilots, had not flown for substantial periods during the 18 months before this incident. Although the investigation has not established a link between this serious incident and a lack of recent line flying, it is clearly a possibility.
This Special Bulletin is published to raise awareness of this event and highlight that go-arounds from intermediate altitudes on an approach can provoke errors because they are not practiced frequently.
There are no specific recommendations at this stage. The investigation continues to examine all pertinent factors which might have contributed to this serious incident. A Final Report will be published in due course.