Alitalia aborts landing at LCY during Storm Imogen
Storm Imogen slammed the UK on Monday, February 8th with winds of up to 100 mph. While London did not face the worst of the storm, the city still experienced strong wind gusts and rain from the wintry blast.
London City Airport is located in the heart of London. The airport is one of the most difficult airports to land a commercial airliner. With a runway less than 5,000 feet and a required approach that is significantly steeper than normal, even approaches in beautiful weather pose challenges for experienced pilots.
Storm Imogen made landings extremely difficult. Alitalia flight AZ222 from Milan attempted an arrival during intense wind gusts that were clocked up to 37 mph. The flight landed hard and attempted a go around. This is known as a balked landing. When the pilot attempted to execute the go around procedure, he or she appeared to under-rotate pitching the aircraft slightly forward before the power of full throttles kicked in to complete the go around procedure. There appeared to be no change in flap setting either. Gear was retracted but later than a normal rotation.
Pilots must always be prepared for a go around, especially during periods of gusty winds or bad weather. It is equally as important to go around during a balked landing versus trying to save a poor approach.