American A321 at Charlotte on Aug 15th 2015, hit runway lights on go around after hard landing

Last Update: June 10, 2020 / 14:55:29 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 15, 2015


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A321

ICAO Type Designator

An American Airlines Airbus A321-200, registration N564UW performing flight AA-1851 from Atlanta,GA to Charlotte,NC (USA), was on approach to Charlotte's runway 36L when the airport radioed windshear advisories for all runways 36, gain of about 15 knots at 200 feet confirmed by pilot reports. A few minutes later the airport reported a windshear advisory of 20 knots loss at 300 feet, pilot reports of 15 knots gain at 200 feet. The A321 hit runway approach lights, touched down on runway 36L and went around, the crew reported during the climb that they had encountered a loss of 20 knots at 10 feet above the runway. The aircraft positioned for another approach and landed on runway 36C without further incident about 20 minutes after going around.

The FAA reported the occurrence was rated an accident, there were no injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage however, when the aircraft hit runway lights during go-around following a hard landing.

On Aug 19th 2015 the NTSB reported the aircraft reportedly encountered windshear on final approach, hit runway approach lights followed by a tail strike onto the runway surface. The crew initiated a go around and completed another landing. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. The flight data and cockpit voice recorders were taken to Washington for investigation by the NTSB.

On Jun 10th 2020 the NTSB released their final report concluding the probable cause of the accident was:

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 NTSB described the sequence of events:

The captain was the pilot flying and the first officer (FO)the pilot monitoring. The climb, cruise, and initial descent portions of the flight were uneventful. According to the crew, they planned and briefed an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 36L with CONF FULL (full flaps) as opposed to the normal CONF 3 setting, with autobrake at low due to possible water on the runway. About 1823:16 the FO contacted air traffic control (ATC) at 11,000 feet (ft), indicating they had Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) information Tango. The crew was told to expect 36L and that ATIS information Uniform was current. About 1825:47 the crew acknowledged there was a low-level wind shear advisory in effect for the approach and the captain noted a rain cell close to the airport about 1826:26.

About 1831:32 the captain commented to the FO about the rain showers over the airport and that it prevented him from seeing the runway. ATC cleared the flight for the ILS runway 36L approach about 1832 and the FO noted to the captain about 33 seconds later that, "that thing a really is just like on the approach end isn't it?" About 1832:48 the captain noted the rain shower was "right over the field" and that it "cleared the right half." The captain turned off the autopilot about 1834:34 as they were descending through 2,500 feet and called for flaps to be set to CONF FULL about 30 seconds later.

About 1835:23 the FO contacted the tower and the flight was cleared to land on runway 36L following a CRJ ahead of them. The tower advised the flight of a windshear alert with a 20 knot loss of airspeed on a one mile final and advised that other aircraft had reported 8-15 knot airspeed gains at 300 feet about 1835:27. About 1836:03 the captain noted that somebody just went around, and the FO replied that it was probably the CRJ in front of them. The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded sounds consistent with windshield wipers about 1836:53 and the radio altimeter made an automated aural call out of "one hundred" about 5 seconds later. About 1836:59 the FO noted windshear and the crew received a "WINDSHEAR, WINDSHEAR, WINDSHEAR" aural alert at 1836:59.5. The captain immediately called for "go around, TOGA" (takeoff, go-around power on the engines). The airplane impacted the ground at 1837:02.7.

The FO reported to the tower they were going around, and they had a 20 kt loss of airspeed at about 10 ft. They were vectored for a landing on runway 36C after the go around . The crew noted during the go around they would have to do a good post-flight inspection due to the firmness of the landing.

The NTSB reported the weather conditions:

The FAA Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) takes data from the various weather sensors around the airport including the ASOS and TDWR to provide current weather information and predictions, including windshear and microburst, to ATC. The FAA ITWS weather display during the period detected windshear conditions at or in the terminal area between 1816 and 1838 EDT. At the time of the accident the system was depicting a 25 knot windshear condition over runway 36L and 36C associated with an area of echoes over the area. The ribbon display indicated a windshear alert for arrivals on 36L with an expected 20 knot loss of airspeed at 1 mile final. This alert was provided to the flight by the approach controller. The ITWS detected several microburst conditions around the airport area in the minutes prior to the accident. There were no microburst alerts active for any of the runways at the time of the accident.

KCLT 160152Z 22003KT 10SM SCT060 SCT250 22/20 A3015 RMK AO2 RAE20 SLP201 P0000 T02220200
KCLT 160052Z 00000KT 10SM -RA SCT060 BKN130 BKN250 23/19 A3014 RMK AO2 WSHFT 2345 TSE36 SLP199 TS MOV E P0036 T02280194
KCLT 160042Z 23005KT 10SM SCT060 BKN130 BKN250 23/19 A3014 RMK AO2 WSHFT 2345 TSE36RAE40 TS MOV E P0036
KCLT 160009Z 12008KT 4SM TSRA SCT038 BKN060CB BKN130 OVC250 23/19 A3014 RMK AO2WSHFT 2345 FRQ LTGICCG E-S TS E-S MOV E P0034
KCLT 160002Z 13012KT 2 1/2SM R18C/3500VP6000FT +TSRA FEW022 BKN047 OVC060CB 23/19 A3014 RMK AO2 WSHFT 2345 OCNL LTGICCG E TS E-S MOV E P0032
KCLT 152348Z 20018G26KT 2 1/2SM R18C/4500VP6000FT +TSRA BKN060CB OVC130 23/19 A3015 RMK AO2 PK WND 21026/2346 TSB03E27B36RAE04B34 PRESRR FRQ LTGICCG W TS SW-W M
KCLT 152337Z 23009KT 10SM -TSRA SCT060CB BKN130 BKN250 25/19 A3012 RMK AO2 TSB03E27B36RAE04B34 OCNL LTGICCG W TS W STNRY TS DSPTD P0000
KCLT 152329Z 27008KT 10SM SCT060 BKN130 BKN250 26/18 A3012 RMK AO2 TSB03E27RAE04 PRESRR TS DSPTD P0000
KCLT 152304Z 18005KT 10SM TS SCT065CB BKN110 BKN250 27/18 A3010 RMK AO2 TSB03RAE04 OCNL LTGICCG TS S STNRY P0000
KCLT 152252Z 18007KT 10SM -RA SCT065TCU BKN100 BKN250 28/16 A3010 RMK AO2 RAB11 SLP184 TCU NE AND SW-NW P0015 T02830161
KCLT 152152Z 00000KT 10SM SCT060TCU SCT250 32/16 A3010 RMK AO2 SLP184 TCU NE AND NW T03220156
KCLT 152052Z 00000KT 10SM SCT060 BKN250 32/16 A3011 RMK AO2 SLP186 T03170156 58021
KCLT 151952Z 00000KT 10SM SCT060 SCT250 32/15 A3012 RMK AO2 SLP192 T03220150
KCLT 151852Z 00000KT 10SM SCT065 BKN250 32/15 A3016 RMK AO2 SLP201 T03170150
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 15, 2015


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A321

ICAO Type Designator

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