Analysis of the 12 April 1996 wind shear incident at DFW airport
Wind shear detection algorithms that operate on Doppler radar data are tuned to primarily recognize the velocity and reflectivity signatures associated with microbursts and gust fronts. Microbursts produce a divergent pattern in the velocity field that is associated with a descending column of precipitation. Gust fronts produce a convergent pattern that is often associated with a thin-line reflectivity feature. On April 12, 1996 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) three pilots reported encounters with wind shear in a five minute period (2329-33 GMT). The third pilot (AA 1352) reported an encounter with "severe wind shear", which we refer to as "the incident" throughout the paper. He used maximum throttle to keep the MD-80 in the air and reported that it was only "by the grace of God" that the aircraft did not crash (Dallas Morning News, 4/19/96). The plane, originally bound for Pittsburgh, was diverted to Tulsa where the passengers were offloaded to another aircraft, the black box was removed, and the engines were checked according to procedures required whenever maximum throttle is utilized.