According to a preliminary report issued by the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the pilots of the Emirates Boeing 777-300 that crash landed in Dubai on August 3 applied full thrust only three seconds before runway impact during an attempt at a go-around.
Although the report did not explicitly blame the crew for the accident, it also did not mention technical problems during any phase of the flight.
Arriving in Dubai from Thiruvananthapuram, India, Flight EK521 carried 282 passengers and 18 crew members, all of whom evacuated before a subsequent explosion and fire eviscerated the fuselage.
The report summary said that during the approach, wind direction started to change from a headwind of 8 knots to “tailwind component” that gradually increased to 16 knots.
While flying at 159 knots indicated air speed (IAS) and 35 feet radio altitude (RA), the captain started to flare the aircraft. According to FDR data, the autothrottle mode moved to idle and both thrust levers moved toward the idle position. While flying at 160 knots IAS and 5 feet RA, five seconds before touchdown, the wind direction again started to change to a headwind
The report states that “the Aircraft became airborne in an attempt to go-around” and the “landing gear lever was selected to the UP position.
“The Aircraft reached a maximum height of approximately 85 feet RA (radio altitude) at 134 knots IAS (indicated air speed), with the landing gear in transit to the retracted position. The Aircraft then began to sink back onto the runway.”
The 777 hit the runway a few seconds later as the engines were starting to respond to increased pilots’ thrust lever movement.