A Fokker F100 charter flight in Western Australia experienced a hard landing on Oct. 12, 2012 after encountering a dry microburst-induced wind shear. No one was injured; however, the aircraft was substantially damaged, including wrinkled skin in the forward and rear portions of the airframe and the deformation of several structural beams. The flight departed Perth Airport headed north to Nifty aerodrome, with the expectation of a few thunderstorms along the way.
As thunderstorm season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s worth remembering how weather-radar technology has improved in the past three decades. Southern Airways Flight 242, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashed in Pauling County outside Atlanta on April 4, 1977, after flying directly into a severe thunderstorm, calling attention to the then little understood issue of radar signal attenuation in areas of heavy precipitation.
Cessna 650 Citation III, Atlantic City, N.J., Oct. 27, 2007–The NTSB blamed this accident on the first officer’s failure to maintain airspeed during approach, and the captain’s inadequate correction. The first officer’s failure to comply with procedures, wind shear and the lack of wind shear warning from ATC contributed to the nonfatal accident.
Bell 206B3, Atlantic City, Wyo., Aug. 23, 2004–The Hawkins and Powers Aviation pilot was filming and had completed a “high groundspeed” pass when he encountered what he called wind shear and a “15- to 20-knot tailwind” while maneuvering close to the ground. The helicopter did not respond to control inputs and crashed, rolling over, crushing the forward fuselage and substantially damaging the helicopter.