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Windshear on short final led to Airbus A321 tail strike accident at Charlotte-Douglas Airport

Christian Fernsby |
On 15 August 2015, an Airbus A321 operated by American Airlines as flight 1851 suffered a landing accident at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT).

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Topics: AIRBUS   

The flight was descending for landing on runway 36L at CLT with full flaps while passing through scattered rain cells.

ATC had informed the flight of a windshear advisory about 12 minutes prior to the landing attempt and of a windshear alert, indicating a pilot report of a 20 knot loss of airspeed on approach, about 1.5 minutes prior to the landing attempt.

The captain did not reference the available windshear guidance in the quick reference handbook, which recommended landing with Flaps 3 and increasing the approach speed by 15 knots, and approached with Full flaps and no speed increment.

The flight encountered a small microburst on short final about 7 seconds prior to the landing attempt characterized by wind shift from a headwind to a tailwind and back to a headwind.

The captain began a go-around after receiving an aural windshear alert/warning from the airplane systems, however, the airplane lost speed and lift and landed hard on the runway suffering a tail strike before they were able to climb.

The crew was vectored for a landing on runway 36C following the event and landed without further incident.

Probable Cause:

Probable cause: "An encounter with a small microburst on short final at low altitude that resulted in a loss of lift and a tail strike during the go-around.

"Contributing to the accident was the captain's decision to continue the approach without applying appropriate windshear precautions in accordance with published guidance," the report says.

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