Ex­perts point to wind shear in Emi­rates in­ci­dent

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - @B_shosh

By Shoshana Ke­dem Air in­ves­ti­ga­tors are cur­rently piec­ing to­gether why an Emi­rates Boe­ing 777 flight burst into flames af­ter an emer­gency land­ing at Dubai Air­port.

In­ter­na­tional teams will scour the wreck­age, an­a­lyse flight and cock­pit voice record­ings, con­duct pi­lot in­ter­views and col­lect data on weather pat­terns for ev­i­dence.

On the night of the in­ci­dent last Wed­nes­day, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Mak­toum, Chair­man and CEO of Emi­rates Air­line, said a sud­den change in wind-speed di­rec­tions, known as a wind shear, may have been at play.

“The pi­lot might have at­tempted a so-called go-around, that is, abort­ing the land­ing, to avoid wind shear, but that hadn’t been ver­i­fied,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

7DAYS spoke to a num­ber of avi­a­tion ex­perts about what could have caused the in­ci­dent.

For­mer air­line pi­lot, and au­thor of best-sell­ing guide to air-travel Cock­pit Con­fi­den­tial, Pa­trick Smith said:“The air­craft ap­par­ently was at­tempt­ing a go-around ma­noeu­vre, when, sec­onds later, it struck the ground hard and skid­ded to a stop on its belly.

“There are con­flict­ing re­ports as to whether the plane’s land­ing gear had been re­tracted prior to the im­pact, or if it col­lapsed upon land­ing.”

Nor­mal go-around pro­ce­dures call for the pi­lots to ex­tend the gear on land­ing. The air­port had is­sued a wind shear warn­ing for all run­ways be­fore the ac­ci­dent. It is es­ti­mated by ex­perts that the wind quickly changed from a 15 knot headwind to a 15 knot tail­wind - cre­at­ing a 30 knot air­speed loss. Jan Richter, an avi­a­tion safety ex­pert and founder and man­ager of Ger­man avi­a­tion safety bureau JACDEC, said: “A pos­si­ble wind shear sce­nario is sup­ported by the weather data at the time around the ac­ci­dent, but the time in­ter­val be­tween the weather ob­ser­va­tions are too long to say ex­actly what con­di­tions pre­vailed.” Peter Terry, an air­line pi­lot of more than 44 years and fel­low at the UK Royal Aero­nau­ti­cal So­ci­ety, said even if there was a wind shear, pi­lots are trained to es­cape them: “There’s a wind shear es­cape ma­noeu­vre, which is stan­dard. If the plane made a go-around be­cause of wind shear, then was that ma­noeu­vre com­plied with?” he said, be­fore adding that a goaround ma­noeu­vre is straight for­ward for a qual­i­fied pi­lot.

An Emi­rates Air­line spokesper­son said: “Un­for­tu­nately we can’t com­ment on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as it’s now on­go­ing.”

The UAE Gen­eral Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity said it will is­sue an ini­tial re­port within a month.

TRAU­MATIC: Last Wed­nes­day’s scenes af­ter Flight EK521 burst into flames

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