ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 231259
Last updated: 17 June 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Time:20:16 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic A343 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A340-313
Owner/operator:Air France
Registration: F-GLZO
C/n / msn: 246
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 230
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Category:Serious incident
Location:Bogotá-El Dorado Airport -   Colombia
Phase: Approach
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Bogotá-Eldorado Airport (BOG/SKBO)
Destination airport:Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG)
Investigating agency: BEA
Air France flight AF681, an Airbus A340, 300, bound for Paris–Charles-de-Gaulle suffered a windshear encounter during rotation from Bogotá-El Dorado Airport in Colombia.
On account of the altitude and temperature conditions, the runway length at Bogotá is restrictive in terms of take-off performance and thus in terms of the planned payload. At the time of preparation the weather conditions and the appearance of a rain shower meant that all the luggage and fuel required for the flight could not be carried. The aircraft weight would have exceeded the maximum allowable weight by four tonnes which corresponded to all the passenger luggage. The crew asked for the advice of the operator’s OCC who recommended that the crew waited for the conditions to improve.
The improvement in the weather conditions, notably the decrease in the outside air temperature from 18 °C to 15 °C finally allowed the crew to undertake the flight carrying all of the planned payload.
The aeroplane arrived at the holding position of runway 13R at 19:51 hours local time. After holding for around ten minutes, the crew shut down two engines. At the same time, the controller asked the crew if they could take off with a storm present at the airport, the crew replied that it was not possible.
At 20:09, i.e. around 18 min after arriving at the holding position of runway 13R, the crew informed the controller that they were ready for take-off. The controller acknowledged and asked them to hold. Around two minutes later, the crew, not having been cleared to line up, called the controller back to express their incomprehension. They then obtained clearance to line up on runway 13R behind flight Avianca 9831.
The crew of this flight, on completion of the take-off, reported quite heavy rain on the last quarter of the runway to the controller. This communication was in Spanish and was not relayed in English by the controller. Around 45 s later, i.e. 24 min after arriving at the holding position of runway 13R, the crew of flight AF681 were cleared for take-off.

At 20:15:53, the crew applied thrust on brakes and then set the thrust levers to TOGA. The flaps were in position 3. At this moment, the anemometer at the threshold of runway 13R measured wind from 211° at 1 kt.
Between 110 kt and 138 kt, corresponding to the rotation speed (VR) for this flight, the longitudinal wind speed increased and changed from a headwind of 3 kt to 11 kt.
At 138 kt, the Pilot Flying (PF) initiated the rotation with a stick input of around three-quarters of the deflection. Between the start of the rotation and the moment when the main landing gear left the ground, the longitudinal wind changed from a headwind of 11 kt to a tailwind of 12 kt and the calibrated airspeed decreased by 6 kt.
After lift-off, the tailwind continued to gain in strength and reached 25 kt. The wind on the vertical axis of the aeroplane also gained in strength and reached a downdraft speed of 4 kt. The pitch attitude remained between 11° and 13° and the calibrated airspeed decreased until reaching a minimum of 128 kt.
At this moment, i.e. six seconds after the aeroplane had left the ground, the FMGEC detected a windshear leading to a red “WINDSHEAR” reactive message being displayed for 15 seconds on the Primary Flight Display (PFD) and the “WINDSHEAR” audio warning being repeated three times. The calibrated airspeed was then 128 kt, i.e. 13 kt below thelowest selectable speed (VLS). The height remained stable at around 5 ft although the PF continued to apply the nose-up input and the pitch was at 13°. The crew left the thrust levers at TOGA and did not change the configuration of the aeroplane. The angle of attack increased until the angle of attack protection, “Alpha Prot” was activated.
The angle of attack protection remained active for four seconds. The tailwind speed then started to decrease while the calibrated airspeed and the rate of climb increased. The runway threshold was overflown at a height of 58 ft, more than the 35 ft required by the regulations. The referenced obstacles in the take-off funnel were also overflown with a sufficient margin.
The crew of flight AF681 continued climbing, avoiding several storms and continued the flight without any further incident to destination.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 3 months
Download report: Final report


Photo of F-GLZO courtesy

Sint Maarten - Princess Juliana International (TNCM / SXM)
5 February 2015; (c) Danny Grew

Revision history:

08-Dec-2019 20:47 harro Added
08-Dec-2019 20:50 harro Updated [Photo]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description