A Lufthansa jet nearly crashed as it attempted a dramatic landing at Hamburg’s airport during a wind storm on Saturday. All 137 passengers arrived safely after a second landing attempt. German aviation experts say the near-disaster is unprecedented in Germany.
The powerful winter storm system “Emma” that swept across Central Europe this weekend nearly caused a massive air traffic disaster on Saturday in Hamburg. A Lufthansa (A320) jet struggled through 250 kilometer-per-hour (155 miles per hour) crosswinds on its approach into the Hamburg airport. After skidding dramatically across the runway in an aborted landing, the plane’s pilot opted to take off once again. …
Those few seconds were indescribable,” one passenger told German television station N-TV after arriving safely on the ground. A spokesman for Lufthansa told SPIEGEL ONLINE that some of the passengers were quite shaken by their turbulent experience. “Many did not handle it well,” said Wolfgang Weber. “Some were near tears.”
Weber said that the pilot, 39 year-old “Oliver A.”, executed the emergency ascent and re-landing with skill and heroic calm. The pilot told Weber that he had often trained in a flight simulator for conditions like those that besieged his Airbus jet on Saturday — training that he counted on as he guided the plane safely onto the runway on his second approach.
“A situation like that, where a gust of wind hits the plane right as it is landing, is one that our pilots train for time and again,” said Weber.
Hat tip to Dominique Poirier.