I read the article on Trent Palmer's case. If the airport that I am training at has a residential community / business near the final leg of the pattern, is it still okay to do a go around? A timely go around is a mandatory skill in the ACS, so I am now a bit confused. If the DPE says “Go Around”, but I am already less than 500ft from a house can I decline to abort the landing, or will the DPE only say to abort if we are above 500 ft? I am hoping to be taking my check ride soon, and I will ask my CFI, but I doubt he will have an answer. Are DPE's getting any guidance from the FAA on this?
You may be reading too much into the Palmer decision.
First, if you're out in the area at the bottom of a simulated engine failure, the examiner is required to terminate the maneuver begin the climb out at or above 500 AGL. Second, if you're in the pattern at an actual airport, it's a maneuver required by the ACS (and indirectly by 61.43) which makes it “necessary”. OTOH, if they see you screaming down the runway at 20 AGL with the gear and flaps up, you won't like what happens next.
Here's s pretty good discussion by FAA Legal of the legalities involved.
I would do the go-around if the DPE says to do it. You definitely need to know how to do a go-around in different conditions. I think the Trent Palmer case is related to his low pass to inspect the landing zone condition, not a go-around. There are no regulations that i know of that specify a low pass to inspect the surface, although there's some FAA advisory guidance out there. It's still a very good idea to inspect the surface of an unpaved landing zone before touching down but you have to use your judgement. A go-around is clearly a situation where you intend to land so the exception in the Part 91 for proximity to people and structures applies. A surface hazard would be a good reason to do a go-around and that would be my logic if the FAA questioned it.
I suspect that a contributing factor to the FAA's action against Mr. Palmer may be that the FAA didn't believe he was really intending to land in his friend's yard but rather was just saying “hello.” And, I think, neither did the ALJ, whose judgement of witness credibility is generally controlling.
We are constantly looked at. While a Lear Jet looks fast, a 120 kts approach is discernable from a 200 to 300 kts low pass.
I don't remember the Lear ASI lines, but there are speed limits that you have to slow down to as you descend. I'm surprised he was moving that fast. It does look like a maneuver that someone could construe to be reckless when I read what is in the attached report above.