Safety is the number one priority for IFATCA and the entire aviation industry, and we are most effective when we all work together to make it ever safer. With this goal in mind, I am very happy to announce the publication of Unstable Approaches: Risk Mitigation Policies, Procedures and Best Practices, second edition. It has been collaboratively written by IATA, CANSO, IFATCA and IFALPA, to address the problems surrounding unstable approaches, a major contributor to accidents and is available for download free of charge at this link.
As you know, a stabilized approach is one during which several key flight parameters are controlled to within a specified range of values before the aircraft reaches a predefined point in space relative to the landing threshold (stabilization altitude or height), and maintained within that range of values until touchdown. The parameters include attitude, flight path trajectory, airspeed, rate of descent, engine thrust and aircraft configuration. A stable approach is vitally important to the safe conclusion of a flight. The pilot needs to be in a safe position to land. If the aircraft does not meet the criteria for a stable approach, such as being at the wrong height, flying too fast or approaching at the wrong angle, the approach will most likely be an unstable one. Over the period of 2011-2015 period, 65% of the accidents occurred during the approach and landing phases leading to different types of accidents, some more and some less susceptible to unstable approaches. However, in general terms, about 14% of these accidents occurred in the presence of an unstable approach (generally related to the aircraft’s energy state) without a go around performed.