Emirates flight made go-around attempt

Image: Aero Icarus via CC BY-SA 2.0

The Emirates flight that crashed at Dubai airport last month attempted a go-around after a late touchdown, the preliminary investigation has found.

All passengers and crew survived after evacuating the Boeing 777, but a firefighter was killed in the crash that destroyed the aircraft on 3 August.

The report says windshear was present during the landing. The automatic terminal information service (ATIS) information zulu that the crew tuned in to on approach, included a windshear warning for all runways.

After hearing information zulu, the crew approached runway 12L at 152 kt, five kt faster than the standard Vref reference landing speed. Air traffic control cleared the flight to land, with the wind reported to be from 340 degrees at 11 kt.

As the aircraft descended through 1100 ft, at 152 kt, the wind direction changed from a headwind component of eight knots to a tailwind. As it descended through 700 ft, now at 154 kt, it was subjected to a tailwind component, which gradually increased to 16 kt.

Five seconds before touchdown, with the aircraft at 160 kt and five feet, the wind again started to change to a headwind. The right main landing gear touched down about 1100 metres from the runway 12L threshold at 162 kt, followed three seconds later by the left main landing gear. The nose landing gear remained in the air. A long landing, long landing warning sounded. Four seconds later the aircraft became airborne, into what was now a headwind. The gear was retracted.

However, the throttles were still set to idle thrust, and the aircraft was decelerating as it attempted to climb. It reached about 85 ft before settling back to the runway. The pilots realised airspeed was decreasing and the thrust levers were suddenly pushed from the idle setting to the fully-forward position. The engines began producing significant thrust one second before impact at 125 kt.

The inquiry does not say if the crew used the take-off go-around (TO/GA) switch, or flew the manoeuvre manually. It does say ‘The TO/GA switches are inhibited when on the ground and enabled again when in the air for a go–around or touch-and-go.’

The inquiry continues and will carry out an in-depth analysis of contextual, human and organisational factors behind the accident.


  1. One might argue that AI in the cockpit would have made better decisions than this aircrew… and wouldn’t have overlooked “thrust” as a necessary component of a successful go around. Human factors will be an interesting aspect of this accident investigation.


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