Date: August 22, 1999
Time: 18:45
Location: Hong Kong, China
Operator: China Airlines (Taiwan)
Flight #: 642
Route: Bangkok - Hong Kong
AC Type: McDonnell Douglas MD-11
Registration: B-150
cn / ln: 48468/518
Aboard: 315   (passengers:300  crew:15)
Fatalities: 3   (passengers:3  crew:0)
Ground: 0
Summary: While making a landing in strong winds and rain, the pilot-in-command disconnected the autopilot but left the autothrottle engaged. The aircraft, with a weight close to the maximum landing weight permitted, stabilized slightly low on the glideslope. An attempt was made to flare but the aircraft landed hard on its right landing gear and the No.3 engine touched the runway. The right main landing gear and right wing separated. The MD-11 then inverted and skidded off the runway in flames. Probable Cause: The commander's unability to arrest the high rate of descent existing at 50 ft. RA. Contributory Causes: The commander's failure to appreciate the combination of a reducing airspeed, increasing rate of descent, and with the thrust decreasing to flight idle. The commander's failure to apply power to counteract the high rate of descent prior to touchdown. Probable variations in wind direction and speed below 50 ft RA may have resulted in a momentary loss of headwind component and, in combination with the early retardation of the thrust levers, and at a weight only just below the maximum landing weight, led to a 20 kt loss in indicated airspeed just prior to touchdown. A possible contributory cause may have been a reduction in peripheral vision as the aircraft entered the area of the landing flare, resulting in the commander not appreciating the high rate of descent prior to touchdown.

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