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An Emirates airline flight came within 175 feet of impacting the ground in a neighborhood near Dubai International Airport after the Boeing 777-300ER took off bound for the United States on December 20.
Little is officially known about the incident, which the airline confirms is under investigation, but data from Flightradar24 along with a subsequent notice to Emirates pilots in the days that followed point to an incorrect setting in the 777’s autopilot during the jet’s pre-flight setup that established a flight path to the ground.
The incident again puts a spotlight on pilot reliance on automated systems and how they are used during both automatic and hand flying – a foundational question that has dogged aviation safety across fatal accidents on all types of aircraft.
The close call…