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Emirates Flight to Washington Flew Low and Fast Over Dubai and Cockpit Voice Recorder Has Been ‘Overwritten’

Emirates Flight to Washington Flew Low and Fast Over Dubai and Cockpit Voice Recorder Has Been ‘Overwritten’

An Emirates operated Boeing 777-300 with 374 passengers and crew onboard flew low and fast over a densely populated and high-rise area of Dubai before eventually gaining altitude only after it was over the Arabian Gulf, accident investigators have admitted in a preliminary report into the ‘serious’ incident.

Emirates flight EK231 to Washington DC took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the early hours of Monday, December 20, 2021, but rather than climbing quickly to a set altitude of 4,000 feet, the aircraft climbed to a maximum of just 800 feet per minute.

Investigators from Dubai’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) are yet to determine what caused the shallow climb rate.

The 42-year-old Captain was in command of the aircraft at the time of departure and told investigators that she had set the altitude selector to 4,000 feet in accordance with standard operating procedures.

Initial reports suggested the pilots had attempted to take off with the altitude selector set to zero feet, but the Captain says she spotted this before departure. The GCAA report says that claim has been verified by the flight data recorder.

Communications between the cockpit and air traffic control have been retrieved, but the preliminary report notes that data from the cockpit voice recorder had been “overwritten”. Investigators gave no explanation for this anomaly.

No one was injured and investigators say that the less five-year-old aircraft didn’t suffer any damage. The flight crew faced criticism from some analysts over their decision to continue on to Washington DC because the low yet high-speed takeoff could have caused serious damage to the airframe.

Investigators have not apportioned blame or reached any definitive conclusions as to what caused the shallow claim. Further investigative work is underway including human and organisational factors.

Emirates has not commented on the report.

Several days after the incident, an internal memo to pilots reminded flight crew not to set the altitude selector to zero at the end of a flight because the following crew may forget to set the altitude correctly to 4,000 feet.

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