Lufthansa Pilot Aces Difficult Landing in Stormy Hamburg

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In summary: I could be wrong.In summary, a Lufthansa jet attempted to land in very stormy conditions, but the pilot was able to get the plane back in the air and avoid any injuries.
  • #1
Astronuc
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I've been in some hair-raising landing conditions, but nothing like this. This pilot is amazing.

Pilot hailed for response to stormy conditions
Tip of Lufthansa jet grazes runway before pilot gets it back in the air
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23446713/

Airline spokesman Wolfgang Weber said the plane was rocked by wind clocked at 250 kph (155 mph) as it tried to land!

Video of attempted landing - Lufthansa flight at Hamburg
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23446303#23446303
 
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  • #2
I saw that on the news this morning! Yikes! I had missed the story lead-in when I turned on the TV, and was expecting the rest of the report to be about the crash until he got airborne again. Amazing!
 
  • #3
I bet that a few people had to change their shorts after that one, including the pilots!
 
  • #4
Yeah that's been on CNN all over the day. Bless our german pilots :D
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking said:
I bet that a few people had to change their shorts after that one, including the pilots!

No doubt! I'm surprised there were no injuries (that's what was reported)...they must have been lucky they had no passengers with any heart conditions.
 
  • #6
That was really something to see, glad I wasen't on it.
 
  • #7
We have been getting plenty of wind over here in AZ as well.

It got up to 50mph yesterday I believe.
 
  • #8
In our books this is not very profesional. A good pilot solves difficult situations but a superior pilot sees that he never gets in difficult situations in the first place. The storm was well forecasted and the warnings were out. he should not have made that attempt.

let me rephrase that: a good pilot has superior skills to solve difficult situations but a superior pilot uses his superior judgement to avoid situations that require his superior skills.
 
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  • #9
Yes, my first thought was why would they be attempting to land in such conditions?
 
  • #10
I'm not sure i agree with Andre, and russ, why did he return and make a safe landing the next time around ? I'm not sure that even a dopler system could predict that wind gust.
 
  • #11
Andre said:
In our books this is not very profesional. A good pilot solves difficult situations but a superior pilot sees that he never gets in difficult situations in the first place. The storm was well forecasted and the warnings were out. he should not have made that attempt.

let me rephrase that: a good pilot has superior skills to solve difficult situations but a superior pilot uses his superior judgement to avoid situations that require his superior skills.

...I want a superior pilot, please...!
 
  • #12
I've had some scares on puddle-jumpers but not on passenger jets of that size. Amazing.
 
  • #13
I can appreciate that. We had a stiff crosswind on landing today.
 
  • #14
Holy crap! That thing was coming in at like 45º!
 
  • #15
RonL said:
I'm not sure i agree with Andre, and russ, why did he return and make a safe landing the next time around ? I'm not sure that even a dopler system could predict that wind gust.

Yeah, that he was able to land okay on a second pass left me thinking it was just a random gust of some sort, not a steady wind that was predictable. Then again, once in a while, you have little choice if you got airborne before a bad weather system came in that wasn't projected to head that direction or be that bad when you took off (I didn't look where the flight originated) and don't have enough fuel to get to an airport that's past the storm system, or to keep circling until it passes.
 
  • #16
Its been really gusting over here lately for no reason. We had up to 70mph a couple of days ago.
 
  • #17
RonL said:
I'm not sure i agree with Andre, and russ, why did he return and make a safe landing the next time around ?
Also a good question. After almost crashing, why would you try again? Why would you not divert to another airport?
I'm not sure that even a dopler system could predict that wind gust.
It should at least be able to predict the conditions necessary for such a wind gust. That isn't your normal every-day wind gust - it can't exist unless associated with a massive thunderstorm or other kind of thermal.
 
  • #18
Moonbear said:
Yeah, that he was able to land okay on a second pass left me thinking it was just a random gust of some sort, not a steady wind that was predictable.
Well, they show 25 seconds of the approach and the plane is flying sideways the entire time, before the gust hits it and blows it off the runway. So (guessing...), they attempted to land in a 75 kt crosswind and got hit with a 150kt gust. Still, a 75kt crosswind isn't something you should regularly attempt to land in.

[edit] Looking at it again, it doesn't look to me like it took much of a gust. You can see its nose pointed to the right with the right wing dipped during the approach due to the heavy crosswind. Then at touchdown, it tried to straighten-out and level-out, which then caused it to slide off the runway to the left. To me it just looks like a situation where a landing should not have been attempted.

Key point: The article says it was landing in a storm.

Note: it isn't necessarily the pilot's fault if they landed in conditions they shouldn't have - it is at least partly the ATC.
 
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  • #19
Actually, it is entirely the pilots fault. ATC has no say, the final authority is only on the pilot. If, for example, I ask ATC if I should land at an airport, they can't tell me yes or no. They can only tell me the weather and to use my own personal judgement.

To throw that big airplane around like that, that was one HELL of a gust. I would have made my cessna do a cartwheel.
 
  • #20
There's a ton of commentary on airliners.net about it. I didn't go through it all, but if nothing else, there is an unbelievable picture a few posts down from the top: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/3869593/
 
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  • #21
Gee, Cyrus, you were so much better looking yesterday...
 
  • #22
Smoking will do that to you.

Im sure when the wing scraped the ground it made a TON of noise in the A/C.
 
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  • #23
As did the light breeze blowing through the cabin...
 
  • #24
lisab said:
...I want a superior pilot, please...!

Let's see what that superior pilot could have done.

First, upon the short term weather forecast for the destination, he could have decided to delay the take off a few hours. Happens all the time. He may actually have done that the story doesn't tell, but then apparently too short. It's evident that such a decision is a bit painful. Angry passengers, chain reactions of other delays, all kind of associated costs. The reluctance to delay is known as gethomeitis.

Second, upon arriving in the area, and hearing the actual weather situation, he could have decided to go in a holding pattern, waiting for the worst to pass by or divert to an airfield a few hundred or so miles away, to the NE for instance, Copenhagen or something; the storm was not that big in size.

Edit: Third, upon recognising the extreme "crab", the difference between nose direction and flightpath during the final approach combined with the heavy turbulence, and knowing about typical strong wind shears in those situations close to the ground, he should have decided that this was not the place to be. He should most definitely have aborted the attempt some miles earlier.

Fourth, the decision making a second attempt is more complicated and I can understand that he did. You have to weight to possibilities that the structural damage to the wing was such that it could fail any minute. Therefore he had to land as soon as possible. Speeding up for a diversion to another airfield out of the storm could have been more risky than encountering another gust like that on landing.

Hopefully this incident may help to increase the awareness of weather hazards.

Edited after actually seeing the movie.
 
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  • #25
Cyrus said:
Actually, it is entirely the pilots fault. ATC has no say, the final authority is only on the pilot. If, for example, I ask ATC if I should land at an airport, they can't tell me yes or no. They can only tell me the weather and to use my own personal judgement.

Unless they were given inaccurate information on the weather conditions, or there just wasn't a better place to land within their fuel range. If a fast-moving storm took an unpredictable path and closed in around all the area airports after the flight had already taken off, or they had already been trying to wait it out and it decided to stall over the airport, they really may not have had much choice about attempting to land.

I've been on flights where at the time of take-off, the pilot is announcing to us the wonderful weather awaiting us upon arrival, only to find ourselves in a holding pattern waiting for an opening in a storm before landing, and even that opening isn't ideal. (On one flight, we had no sooner gotten on the ground than they closed the airport to any further traffic because the storm was no letting up...even the drive home was a rather white knuckle ride with the sort of gusting winds we were getting.)

So, I don't know. The article did say the incident was being investigated, both in terms of ATC's and the pilot's decisions/actions. They may find there was a good reason for landing (or attempting landing) in the conditions at the time, or they might agree with you and Russ that either ATC or the pilot (or both) was negligent.
 
  • #26
I am sure that a very detailed investigation will take place, and all reasons for the decisions made, will be considered carefully. I hope the outcome, will not scrap a good pilot, unless they find gross neglect of good judgment.
My brief flying experience of 20 hours solo time, gave opportunity for a few cross wind landings, but nothing even close to the crab angle of that flight.:eek:
There are a lot of good points being made, but then that is what Monday morning quarterbacks do.:smile:<running for cover>
 
  • #27
Let's wait for the results of the investigation.

I've been in weather that one minute was breezy then all of a sudden there's a very strong burst of wind. Perhaps a microburst developed in the last minute. Perhaps he was right behind another plane that landed without difficulty.

I myself don't know all the facts.
 
  • #28
Meet the pilots http://www.bild.de/BILD/news/vermischtes/2008/03/04/pilotin/hat-vielleicht-den-sturm-jet-gelandet.html , it's german but you get the gist; she was in control, anticipitating a lot of discussion.

click on "fotogalerie" for frame for frame pictures.

For what I can see things went bad the moment they kicked the aircraft parallel to the runway with the rudder, you can see that the pilot correctly anticipated the subsequent left wing drop as the right aileron can be seen deflected up initially during the manoeuvre (frame 12-14). Now, at frame 15 it appears to me that the aileron is brough back to neutral, which is an absulute nono in that situation. At frame 16 we see the inevitable result. The right wing drops and the aileron is deflected again to counter it, but there is not enough control authoroty to prevent contact with the ground. If this is so, then there is no need for a excessive unexpected gust at that moment.

Furthermore I assumed that large aircraft touch down all the way maintaining crabbing because of this problem wing drop problem (the down wind wing is shielded from the airflow by the fuselage and hence looses lift).
 
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  • #29
Andre said:
Meet the pilots http://www.bild.de/BILD/news/vermischtes/2008/03/04/pilotin/hat-vielleicht-den-sturm-jet-gelandet.html , it's german but you get the gist; she was in control, anticipitating a lot of discussion.

click on "fotogalerie" for frame for frame pictures.

For what I can see things went bad the moment they kicked the aircraft parallel to the runway with the rudder, you can see that the pilot correctly anticipated the subsequent left wing drop as the right aileron can be seen deflected up initially during the manoeuvre (frame 12-14). Now, at frame 15 it appears to me that the aileron is brough back to neutral, which is an absulute nono in that situation. At frame 16 we see the inevitable result. The right wing drops and the aileron is deflected again to counter it, but there is not enough control authoroty to prevent contact with the ground. If this is so, then there is no need for a excessive unexpected gust at that moment.

Furthermore I assumed that large aircraft touch down all the way maintaining crabbing because of this problem wing drop problem (the down wind wing is shielded from the airflow by the fuselage and hence looses lift).

Andre, I don't read German, but am I correctly reading that she's 24 years old? That seems unusually young to me.
 
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  • #30
Andre said:
Let's see what that superior pilot could have done.

First, upon the short term weather forecast for the destination, he could have decided to delay the take off a few hours. Happens all the time. He may actually have done that the story doesn't tell, but then apparently too short. It's evident that such a decision is a bit painful. Angry passengers, chain reactions of other delays, all kind of associated costs. The reluctance to delay is known as gethomeitis.

Second, upon arriving in the area, and hearing the actual weather situation, he could have decided to go in a holding pattern, waiting for the worst to pass by or divert to an airfield a few hundred or so miles away, to the NE for instance, Copenhagen or something; the storm was not that big in size.

Edit: Third, upon recognising the extreme "crab", the difference between nose direction and flightpath during the final approach combined with the heavy turbulence, and knowing about typical strong wind shears in those situations close to the ground, he should have decided that this was not the place to be. He should most definitely have aborted the attempt some miles earlier.

Fourth, the decision making a second attempt is more complicated and I can understand that he did. You have to weight to possibilities that the structural damage to the wing was such that it could fail any minute. Therefore he had to land as soon as possible. Speeding up for a diversion to another airfield out of the storm could have been more risky than encountering another gust like that on landing.

Hopefully this incident may help to increase the awareness of weather hazards.

Edited after actually seeing the movie.

Fifth: Grab the controls from your less experienced colleague and land it yourself!
Why the substantially more experienced pilot permitted the approach to his inexperienced colleague during the gale "Emma", is so far unclear.
http://www.bild.de/BILD/news/vermischtes/2008/03/04/pilotin/hat-vielleicht-den-sturm-jet-gelandet.html
 
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  • #31
Maxi J is 24 years old and she was the co-pilot on the flight. She certainly didn't have the experience with this kind of landing.

Oliver A. is 17 years with Lufthansa and 6 years as captain.
 
  • #32
Andre said:
Furthermore I assumed that large aircraft touch down all the way maintaining crabbing because of this problem wing drop problem (the down wind wing is shielded from the airflow by the fuselage and hence looses lift).
A pilot co-worker of mine pointed out to me that the B-52 was designed with all-wheel steering, allowing it to land in a crab instead of attempting to straighten-out right before touchdown.
 
  • #33
Cyrus said:
Actually, it is entirely the pilots fault. ATC has no say, the final authority is only on the pilot. If, for example, I ask ATC if I should land at an airport, they can't tell me yes or no. They can only tell me the weather and to use my own personal judgement.
You're right that the pilot has authority and responsibility, but ATC does hold one trump card: they can shut down their airport. If a pilot viewed the fact that the airport was open (others in the area were closed) as implying it was safe to land, then he was shirking that responsibility. But yes, we are speculating and monday-morning qbing.

Here's some more info on the incident:

http://tinyurl.com/2rk36t
 
  • #34
The 155 mph gust appears to be a myth. The weather man on TV talks about 70 knot gusts ~80 mph, at 60 degrees cross. It appears that the cross wind limit is indeed 35 knots, so the limit was reached. They could have landed on runway 31, and they did on the second attempt, where the max cross wind would have been only 20 degrees, bringing the cross wind component well below limits. However this runway had less approach facilities.
 
  • #35
russ_watters said:
You're right that the pilot has authority and responsibility, but ATC does hold one trump card: they can shut down their airport. If a pilot viewed the fact that the airport was open (others in the area were closed) as implying it was safe to land, then he was shirking that responsibility. But yes, we are speculating and monday-morning qbing.

Here's some more info on the incident:

http://tinyurl.com/2rk36t

I think the reason why they can't tell you its ok to land is because they don't know how heavy your airplane is. Its possible to land at an airport and not be able to take off from it because the runway is too short.
 

Related to Lufthansa Pilot Aces Difficult Landing in Stormy Hamburg

1. What makes this landing difficult for the Lufthansa pilot?

The stormy weather conditions in Hamburg, including strong winds and heavy rain, make it challenging for the pilot to safely land the aircraft.

2. How did the pilot manage to successfully land the plane?

The Lufthansa pilot is highly trained and experienced in handling difficult weather conditions. They likely used advanced techniques and equipment, such as autopilot and weather radar, to navigate and safely land the plane.

3. Was anyone injured during the landing?

No, there were no reported injuries during the landing. The pilot and crew followed safety protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew members.

4. Has this pilot received any recognition for their skillful landing?

As of now, there is no information on any specific recognition for this pilot. However, pilots are trained to handle difficult situations and it is not uncommon for them to successfully land in challenging weather conditions.

5. How often do pilots have to deal with stormy weather during flights?

It depends on the location and time of year, but pilots are trained to handle all types of weather conditions, including storms. They also have access to real-time weather updates and can make necessary adjustments to ensure a safe flight.

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