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Windshear highlighted in Emirates EK521 accident

Windshear highlighted in Emirates EK521 accident

The crew of Emirates flight EK521 grappled with windshear on final approach

The GCAA preliminary report into the Emirates crash of flight EK521 at Dubai International on August 3 points to windshear being a factor as winds changed dramatically in the 90 seconds on final approach. It also found that the pilot attempted to abort the landing after the first touchdown.

The report notes that at 0836, the wind direction changed from a headwind of 8 knots to a tailwind which rose to 16 knots and five seconds before touchdown “the wind direction again started to change to a headwind” (0837:12).

With neither set of wheels smoothly on the runway – the right landing tear touched first, followed three seconds later by the left – the aircraft became airborne for a ‘go around’ (0837:23) but the plane didn’t get sufficient lift and crashed at 0837:38 before sliding along the runway for 800 metres.

Fire crews were on the scene quickly with two major foam tenders dispatched within 40 seconds of impact but it took 16 hours to bring it fully under control.

How much the wind was to blame, and whether crew actions also contributed to the accident, will be a key focus for investigators, along with procedures for so-called ‘go arounds’ and rejected landings.

The commander and co-pilot had more than 15,000 hours of experience and more than 6,400 combined hours on the B777-300. The 13-year-old aircraft, which had clocked up 58,169 hours and last received its proficiency check on March 17, was Emirates’ first major hull loss in 31 years.

The 16 crew were widely praised for their prompt actions in safely evacuating all 282 passengers before the plane exploded.

Click here to read the report.

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