On 4 April 2011 a Georgian Airways Bombardier CRJ100ER (4L-GAE) crashed following a sudden loss of height on final approach to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The official investigation believes it encountered a severe microburst associated with a thunderstorm squall line. The aircraft had been cleared to conduct a straight-in localiser approach to runway 24 on a flight from Kisangani on behalf of the United Nations. The aircraft, below the 472ft minimum descent height on short final approach, encountered rain and the pilots lost sight of the runway. As the aircraft approached 400ft the aircraft hit turbulence, “probably” a microburst, which triggered a windshear alert. At 224ft and they opted to execute a go-around. “During the process of go-around, a positive rate of climb was established with appropriate airspeed,” the report says. The investigators rule out the effects of somatogravic illusion – a false impression that the nose has pitched steeply upward – as a contributory cause. The aircraft then pitched from 4-5° nose-up to 7° nose-down in a “very short time”, and rapidly lost height. “Before the crew could react to the pitch down and recover from the steep descent, the aircraft impacted the terrain,” the report adds. It struck the ground to the left of the runway threshold at 180kt with 10° nose-down pitch, coming to rest inverted some 400m beyond the initial impact point. Only one passenger survived; all 32 others on board were killed.
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