Wind Shear Runway Zero Seven Left

Karachi’s runway 07L has a pronounced windshear aggravating to a peak value at dawn. With smooth flying conditions, it can come as a shock if you hit the ground hard on landing. This lesson in planning for windshear activity was brought to me the hard way in the process of landing a B747 on a scheduled flight, PK 301 from Rawalpindi to Karachi in late 1979.

  • Karachi = OPKC/KHI; (ICAO/ IATA respectively)
  • Rawalpindi = OPRN/RWP

It was around noon, when I lined up on a 5 mile final approach on Runway 07 Left. As the First Officer on this flight, I was given the return sector, RWP-KHI by the captain. It seemed a copy book approach with speed at bug plus ten with flaps and gear down at short final. There was/ is no instrument landing system (ILS) on 07L,  and flying conditions were smooth more or less along with with light bumps that hit the airplane due to surface heating. It was a headwind of about 15 to 20 KT at the surface. The standard height call outs were made at 100 feet, 50 feet, 30 feet by the Flight Engineer, and the technique of easing power off from 35 feet was employed while flaring (flying parallel to the runway as seen from the cockpit).

The aircraft hit hard. I felt lousy, especially when a deadheading captain on the jump seat, and my former chief pilot on the Fokker F-27 reminded me later in the office, that windshear is always present on  07L, and

“is this what we taught you.”

To top it all, a letter was received by the captain from the Flight Operations Dept. outlining a complaint received from a passenger about the landing.

I was instructed to acknowledge that I had made that landing, in spite of the log book entry.

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