A French Bee Airbus A350-900 lost speed and altitude during a go-around while trying to land in Paris on February 4th, 2020. The aircraft, registration number F-HREV operating as flight number BF-711 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Paris Orly Airport (ORY), was on final approach when the incident occurred.
According to The Aviation Herald, the aircraft was making its final approach into Orly Airport’s runway number 25 when the crew initiated a go-around.
The aircraft landed safely 15 minutes later
As the aircraft was descending through 900 feet it suffered a wind shear event that made the pilots decided to abort the landing and perform a go-around for a second attempt. As the aircraft attempted to climb to 5,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL) it suddenly saw a reduction in speed and descended to 2,500 feet.
When the plane reached 1,200 feet MSL, the aircraft had accelerated to a speed of 290 knots over ground. The aircraft regained altitude and made a successful second approach landing 15 minutes later on runway 25 following the go-around incident.
During their report of the incident released on February 21st, 2020, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA) said:
“During the approach to runway 25, the crew went around due to wind shear. During the missed approach procedure, deviations in heading and altitude are observed and the low-speed alarm is triggered. The crew made a new approach and landed without any particular event.”
Planespotters lists the aircraft involved in the incident F-HREV as being leased from AerCap and delivered to French Bee in March of 2018.
What is wind shear?
The term wind shear refers to a change in wind speed or wind direction in the atmosphere.
With regards to aircraft, wind shear is used to describe a rapid change in wind speed or direction that causes an aircraft to lose lift and thus altitude.
While wind shear is always present in the atmosphere, it can be particularly bad during storms and weather fronts. Wind shear is also necessary to form hail storms and tornados.
In order to warn pilots of wind shear dangers, many airports have installed instrumentation at the ends of runways that lets pilots know when it is too dangerous to land.
Recently, in the United Kingdom, Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis were responsible for excessive wind shear that forced many a go-around as can be seen in the video below.
Who is French Bee?
Many people will be unfamiliar with this Paris, Orly-based low-cost long-haul airline that operates a network of scheduled leisure flights from France. Operating a fleet of all-Airbus aircraft French Bee flies to French Polynesia, the Caribbean, and San Francisco and will commence flights to Newark (EWR) in June of 2020.
The airline’s philosophy is simple. First, buy or lease the most fuel-efficient aircraft you can find. Then, jam it full of seats that you know you can sell at very low prices while still making a profit.
An example of this is that French Bee is advertising flights from Paris to Newark for 131€ each way. Currently, the French carrier operates a fleet of three Airbus A350-900s with 411 seats; as a stark comparison, Qatar Airways only puts 283 seats in its A350s.
Still, a round trip ticket from Europe to New York for 262€ is pretty hard to beat and should prove to be quite popular.
If you have flown on French Bee we would love to hear what you think of the airline in the comments section.