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Are we going-around (in circles) again?

The aftermath from the Emirates B777 accident last week in Dubai raises questions that have been asked before, yet remain unanswered.

Flight 521 was a scheduled international passenger flight operating on 3 August 2016 from Thiruvananthapuram, India, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, operated by Emirates using a Boeing 777-300. Although all 282 passengers and 18 crew were evacuated safely, a firefighter battling the blaze lost his life during the rescue effort.

Flight 521 had been cleared to land at Dubai, according to a transcript of an air-traffic control recording obtained by About a minute and a-half later, the tower gave a new instruction.

“Emirates 521 climb straight ahead to 4,000 feet” (1,200 meters), a controller said, a command acknowledged by the pilot. The reason for the order wasn’t known (issued after pilots request to abort touchdowns) initially but it has been reported that windshear encountered on approach was to blame for a reported go-around being attempted before the aircraft struck the runway. Initial reports that there were issues with the landing gear have been ruled out at this stage.

Following the accident, the airport was closed for 5½ hours, several flights were diverted to nearby airports such as Sharjah International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport.

As the aviation industry awaits the outcomes of a formal investigation into the crash, there already appears to be contributing factors that have become apparent in the days that have followed that could be cause for concern not only for Emirates or Boeing, but the entire industry. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is sending a five-person team to assist with the investigation, a spokesman said. Under a United Nations treaty, the government from where the plane was manufactured is invited to participate in a probe.

This article in The Australian provides an interesting account of the events that took place on 3 August and highlights some of the potential concerns for the industry at large.