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Accident description
Last updated: 19 October 2017
Status:Preliminary - official
Date:Saturday 19 March 2016
Time:03:41
Type:Silhouette image of generic B738 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-8KN (WL)
Operator:flydubai
Registration: A6-FDN
C/n / msn: 40241/3517
First flight: 2010-12-21 (5 years 3 months)
Total airframe hrs:21252
Cycles:9420
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-7B27
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 55 / Occupants: 55
Total:Fatalities: 62 / Occupants: 62
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Rostov Airport (ROV) (   Russia)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Dubai Airport (DXB/OMDB), United Arab Emirates
Destination airport:Rostov Airport (ROV/URRR), Russia
Flightnumber:FZ981
Narrative:
A Boeing 737-800 aircraft, operated by flydubai as Flight FZ981 from Dubai, impacted airport terrain during a second approach attempt in bad weather to Rostov-On-Don Airport in Southern Russia. The airplane was destroyed and the 55 passengers and 7 crew fatally injured.
Flight 981 departed Dubai at 18:37 hours UTC on March 18.
A preliminary flight data analysis revealed that the crew was performing a manual approach to runway 22 with the autopilot disconnected . Weather conditions were poor with a cloud base at 630 meters, wind 230 degrees at 13 meters per second, maximum 18 meters per second, light rain shower, mist, severe turbulence and moderate windshear.
At 22:42 UTC (01:42 local time) in the course of the initial approach at a height of 340 meters (1115 feet), the flight received a windshear alert. The flight crew decided to go around and then continued to a holding pattern waiting for improved weather conditions.
The flight left the holding pattern at 00:28 UTC (03:28 LT) and descended towards Rostov for another attempted approach to runway 22.
As the crew were proceeding with another manual approach, they decided to go around again at a height of 220 meters (721 feet), 4,5 km before the runway. They initiated a climb with a vertical speed of up to 20 m/s and setting the engines to maximum takeoff/go-around (TOGA) thrust.
One of the probable causes of the go-around decision could have been the 20-knot increase of indicated speed to as much as 176 knots within 3 seconds, which might have been an indication of a windshear.
In the course of the go-around the crew set flaps to 15° and retracted the landing gear.
At the height of 1900 ft (approx. 600 m) after reaching the pitch angle of 18° the pilot flying pushed on the control column, which led to a decrease in vertical acceleration of up to 0.5, increase in forward speed and, consequently, automatic retraction of flaps from 15° to 10° at a speed of over 200 knots.
The short-term decrease in engine thrust within 3 seconds resulted in decreasing speed and flaps extension to 15°, although the following crew inputs to regain maximum takeoff/go-around thrust led to speed increase and reiterated automatic flaps retraction to 10°. The flaps remained in the latter configuration until the impact.
The pilot flying, by pulling up the control column, continued climbing with a vertical speed of as much as 16 m/s.
At a height of 900 m there was a simultaneous control column nose down input and stabilizer nose down deflection from -2,5 deg (6,5 units) to +2,5 deg (1,5 units). The FDR recorded a nose down stabilizer input from the stabilizer trim switch of the control wheel lasting 12 seconds, while the CVR record contains a specific noise of rotation of the trim wheels located on both sides of the central pedestal. As a result the aircraft, having climbed to about 1000 m, turned into descent with a negative vertical acceleration of -1g. The following crew recovery actions did not allow to avoid an impact with the ground.
The aircraft hit the runway about 120 m from the threshold with a speed of over 600 km/h and over 50 degrees nose down pitch.

Timeline of events (times in UTC):
17:45 FZ981 scheduled time of departure
18:22 FZ981 pushed back from Stand E18 at Dubai Airport
18:37 FZ981 commences takeoff from runway 30R at Dubai Airport
19:14 FZ981 reaches cruising altitude of FL360
22:16 FZ981 commences descent from FL360
22:20 FZ981 scheduled time of arrival
22:23 S71159 (an Airbus A319 from Moscow-Domodedovo) lands after its first approach to runway 22
22:28 U62758 (an Airbus A320 from Khudzhand) lands after its first approach to runway 22
22:39 FZ981 commences final approach to runway 22 at Rostov Airport
22:42 FZ981 aborts first approach at 1725 ft, 6.7 km short of the runway
22:49 FZ981 reaches 8000 feet and heads towards the northeast of the airport
22:54 SU1166 (a Sukhoi Superjet 100-95B from Moscow-Sheremetyevo) aborts the first approach to runway 22
23:07 SU1166 aborts the second approach to runway 22
23:17 SU1166 aborts the third approach to runway 22
23:20 SU1166 diverts towards Krasnodar
23:20 FZ982 scheduled time of return flight back to Dubai
23:27 FZ981 enters holding pattern at 15000 feet to the southeast of the airport
00:28 FZ981 leaves the holding pattern and descends for a second approach
00:36 FZ981 intercepts the runway 22 localizer at 10 NM from the runway
00:40 FZ981 aborts second approach at 721 ft, 4 km short of the runway
00:41 FZ981 impacts airport terrain after a steep descent from 900 m.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: MAK
Status: Investigation ongoing
Duration: 32 days (1 months)
Accident number: interim report
Download report: Interim report

Sources:
» MAK

METAR Weather report:
00:00 UTC / 03:00 local time:
URRR 190000Z 24010MPS 8000 -SHRA SCT017 BKN040CB OVC100 06/03 Q0998 WS R22 R22/290046 TEMPO 25015G20MPS 1000 SHRA BR SCT003 BKN020CB RMK QFE741/0988

00:30 UTC / 03:30 local time:
URRR 190030Z 24012G19MPS 6000 -SHRA SCT018 BKN036CB OVC100 06/04 Q0998 R22/290046 TEMPO 25017G25MPS 1000 SHRA BR SCT003 BKN020CB RMK QFE741/0988
Wind 240 degrees, 12 m/s gusting to 19 m/s; Visibility 6000m; light rain showers; Scattered couds at 1800 feet, broken Cumulonimbus clouds at 3600 feet, overcast at 10000 feet; Temperature 6°C; Dew point 4°C

22:30 UTC / 01:30 local time:
URRR 182230Z 25011G17MPS 4200 -SHRA SCT016 BKN033CB OVC100 06/03 Q1000 R22/290046 TEMPO 25015G20MPS 1000 SHRA BR SCT003 BKN020CB RMK QFE742/0990
Wind 250 degrees, 11 m/s gusting to 17 m/s; Visibility 4200m; light rain showers; Scattered couds at 1600 feet, broken Cumulonimbus clouds at 3300 feet, overcast at 10000 feet; Temperature 6°C; Dew point 3°C

23:00 UTC / 02:00 local time:
URRR 182300Z 24009G15MPS 4500 -SHRA SCT017 BKN036CB OVC100 05/03 Q0999 WS R22 R22/290046 TEMPO 25015G20MPS 1000 SHRA BR SCT003 BKN020CB RMK QFE742/0989

23:30 UTC / 02:30 local time:
URRR 182330Z 24012MPS 3900 -SHRA SCT019 BKN036CB OVC100 06/03 Q0999 WS R22 R22/290046 TEMPO 25015G20MPS 1000 SHRA BR SCT003 BKN020CB RMK QFE741/0989


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Dubai Airport to Rostov Airport as the crow flies is 2787 km (1742 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Boeing 737-800

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  • 12th loss
  • 6th fatal accident
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 Russia
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