Arbitrary wind pattern change forces landing of Emirates’ flight

Published on : Saturday, August 6, 2016

EmiratesSudden change in wind patterns forced Emirates’ flight EK-521 to crash-land in Dubai on Wednesday after its attempt to ‘go-around’ went horribly wrong. A ‘go around’ means aborting a landing at the last minute to go up again and attempt a safe landing the second time.


The media recording with ATC shows that the Boeing-777 was coming in to land normally, but then it conducted a go-around. The ATC is then heard asking the pilots to “climb straight to 4,000 ft”.


The recording was made by Dubai-based aviation enthusiasts who tune into radio frequencies as a hobby to listen in and is not an official recording. They later shared this clip with some pilots.


The EK-521 pilot’s “read-back” of the ATC instructions, which basically means that the pilot had correctly understood the instruction to climb to 4,000 ft after going around, does not seem to suggest anything amiss up till that point as their voice is perfectly normal. Go-arounds are a common thing in aviation.


But, at that time, the Dubai Airport and its vicinity were witnessing a ‘wind shear’ – sudden change of wind speed and direction. “When the Boeing-777 from Kerala was coming in to land on a runway in the southeast direction, winds were also blowing in that direction at 21 knots (about 40kmph). Temporary changes of up to 120 degrees in wind direction (wind shear) were being reported. This could have led to a sudden loss of airspeed during the critical go-around manoeuvre and prevented the aircraft getting safely airborne again,” said a senior commander of a B-777 with an Indian airline who analysed the recording.

Emirates did not respond to a query on this issue, with an airline spokesman saying that “investigations are still on”.


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