While it will take some time to determine the cause of Wednesday’s Emirates crash in Dubai and information is still coming in, there are several striking similarities to the Asiana crash at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013.
- They are both Boeing 777’s. The Emirates is a 300 model and the Asiana a 200, but otherwise they are identical.
- They both unexepectedly crashed while landing at their destination airport – these were not diverted flights
- They both crashed in daylight, at nearly the same time – Asiana just after 11 a.m. PST, and the Emirates just after noon.
- They both crashed in clear weather, though there were reports of intermittent dust storms in Dubai.
The most striking similarity is the startling lack of injury. Only three people were killed as a result of the Asiana crash (two in the crash, one apparently hit by a fire truck) and none of those three were wearing seatbelts. No one was killed in the Emirates crash. That a plane can crash land and burst into flames and a vast majority of the passengers walk away is a testament to engineering.
Factors to watch in the Dubai crash: Was the landing gear down? Pictures are unclear. Was a dust storm a factor? What about heat? It is 120 degrees in Dubai. Warm air has less lift than cool air because it’s less dense – a factor pilots would certainly normally consider.