South African investigators are probing a wing-tip strike by an Airbus A350-900 during a crosswind landing at Johannesburg earlier this month.

The Ethiopian Airlines twinjet (ET-AYB) had been arriving from Addis Ababa on 6 November.

It was conducting an approach to Johannesburg’s runway 03R and experienced a “strong crosswind”, says French investigation authority BEA, citing South African counterparts.

“The aircraft made contact with the runway surface on its right-hand wing-tip,” it adds.

None of the occupants was injured. The extent of damage sustained by the aircraft, says BEA, is unknown.

Ethiopian A350-900-c-Mark Harkin Creative Commons

Source: Mark Harkin/Creative Commons

Ethiopian has a large fleet of A350-900s

Meteorological information from Johannesburg airport shows the airport had been experiencing winds from the north-west for much of the day.

Airbus data on the A350-900 suggests that a wing-tip strike in level pitch would require the aircraft to be banked around 11°.

BEA has not indicated whether the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine pod made contact with the ground.

Airbus backlog data shows the aircraft had been delivered to Ethiopian exactly a year before the incident, one of a pair of A350-900s handed to the carrier on the same date. The other (ET-AYA) has been on display at the Dubai air show this week.