Live TV

German government jet suffers serious damage in crash landing

19.04.2019

Shortly after a government jet took off from Berlin, pilots lost control of the aircraft. As they attempted to land they were jolted away from the runway and forced to land on the grass.

A German government jet suffered considerable damage in an emergency landing at Berlin, according to a report by Der Spiegel on Friday.

The medium-ranged Bombardier Global 5000 jet was reportedly forced to land alongside the runway at Schönefeld airport last Tuesday. Pilots reported serious flight control issues shortly after takeoff, having reached 6,000 meters (roughly 20,000 feet), the publication found.

As the pilots attempted to land, the jet shifted sharply to the right at a height of 300 meters, causing them to miss the runway.

Read more: German government buys three new aircraft after fiascos

As the pilots attempted to land the plane, it jolted to the side, forcing them to miss the landing strip.

The flight was a test run after several weeks of maintenance and not on official government service.

A subsequent investigation by the Bundeswehr found the jet suffered far more severe damage than initially thought, the news magazine reported.

 German military under fire over Angela Merkel's plane problems

Structural damage

The landing reportedly caused "considerable structural damage" due to buckling and compression damage on both wings, which struck the ground during the landing. The plane has since been towed to a hangar for further inspection, Spiegel reported.

It also found the fuselage was possibly warped and that the cabin trim came off during the crash landing. It reportedly may still be completely written off.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Late to G20 summit

While en route to a G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November 2018, the A340-300 "Konrad Adenauer" carrying German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had to make an unexpected landing at the Cologne/Bonn Airport. Merkel showed up late to the conference in the Argentinian capital.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Rodents? You're kidding right?

It was the second consecutive month in which the "Konrad Adenauer" needed to be grounded. The A340 also left Scholz stranded in Indonesia following a meeting of the International Monetary Fund in October 2018 after rodents gnawed through electric cables.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Trouble in Africa

The "Konrad Adenauer" isn't the only Airbus belonging to the German government that has experienced problems. The A340 "Theodor Heuss" jet carrying German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier experienced technical problems during his trip to several countries in Africa.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Tell them I'll be late

Steinmeier also had his fair share of woes with the "Konrad Adenauer" jet. The German president's trip to Belarus in June 2018 was delayed due to problems with the plane's hydraulic system.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Pressure starts to tell

German Development Minister Gerd Müller's schedule was thrown into chaos when he was forced to cancel a visit to Namibia in January 2018 — because of plane trouble. Müller was scheduled to depart Malawi when his Bombardier Global 5000 was unable to take off due to a defective pressure valve. He was eventually able to continue on to Zambia on a commercial flight.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
I hear it's snowing at home

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was grounded in Ethiopia yet again when the "Theodore Heuss" was unable to embark on its return flight due to an air pressure problem. The delay would seem to put Steinmeier ahead of Olaf Scholz for the title of German official most often stranded due to technical problems.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Foreign minister stranded in Mali

On February 28, 2019, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was forced to stay overnight in the capital of Mali, Bamako, after his government plane had a mechanical problem. Maas strugged off the delay, saying he had traveled all over the world without a problem.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
The "Konrad Adenauer" strikes back with a burst tire

On April 1, 2019, the "Konrad Adenauer" hit back after a four-month overhaul. The ageing Airbus behaved badly on its first outing after its forced hiatus. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was on board when one of the tire's burst upon landing in New York. The plane had to be towed to a parking space, with the delay forcing Maas to miss an appointment at the UN Security Council.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Crash landing

Also in April 2019, a Bombardier Global 5000 was severely damaged in an emergency landing after problems during a test flight. Pilots lost control of the plane shortly after take off and when attempting to land, where it jolted off the runway. The flight was a test flight after weeks of maintenance on the aircraft.

Grounded: Problems with Germany's government planes
Maas delayed again

In May, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was delayed for a third time after engine trouble struck the Bundeswehr A321 he was travelling on for his first trip to Bulgaria. The plane's pilot blamed the failure of an auxiliary turbine, which supplies compressed air to the plane's engines, for the tardiness.

1
| 10

Investigators tentatively pointed the blame at incorrect adjustment of wing flaps used for both braking and flight control.

The Luftwaffe has four Bombardier Global 5000s. The jets are used by the air force on short- and medium-haul routes for the transport of members of parliament and the government, among other things. The aircraft can accommodate up to 13 passengers.

The German government's fleet of aircraft have caused considerable problems in recent months, with senior ministers repeatedly being grounded by technical failures.

aw/msh (dpa, AFP)

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
European aviation disasters of the 21st century: Germanwings Airbus A320

A Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed into the French Alps on March 24, 2015 during a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. All 144 passengers and six crew members were killed. A co-pilot with mental problems intentionally crashed the plane.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

Rebels in eastern Ukraine were accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 during a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board died, 193 of them Dutch. A Dutch investigation found pro-Russian rebels shot the plane down with a Buk surface-to-air missile launched from separatist territory in eastern Ukraine.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
Polish President Lech Kaczynski killed

A Polish air force plane carrying President Lech Kaczynski crashed near the Russian airport of Smolensk on April 10, 2010. A Russian and Polish investigation found pilot error during landing in thick fog caused the crash that killed more than 90 people. Jaroslaw Kaczynski (pictured), the twin brother of Lech and leader of the ruling PiS, has suggested the crash was a political assassination.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
Air France Flight 447

An Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed in the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. It took nearly two years for the black box (pictured) to be recovered from the bottom of the ocean. The investigation found a combination of technical and pilot error caused the crash.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
Spanair Flight 5022

A Spanair MD-82 plane crashed after take-off from Madrid airport on August 20, 2008, killing 154 people. Amazingly, 18 people survived the crash and subsequent fire. The crash was caused by an improper flap and slat configuration and a failure of the pilots to follow a pre-flight checklist.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise Flight 612

A Russian passenger plane operated by Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise crashed near the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk on August 22, 2006, killing all 170 people aboard. The plane was flying from St. Petersburg to the Black Sea resort of Anapa.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
Helios Airways Flight 522

A Helios Airways flight from Cyprus crashed on August 14, 2005 near its destination Athens, killing all 121 on board. The crash was caused by a loss of cabin pressurization that immobilized the crew. The plane flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
SAS Flight 686

On October 8, 2001 a Scandinavian Airlines MD-87 airliner collided with a small Cessna on take-off from Milan's Linate Airport. All 114 people on the SAS and Cessna aircraft were killed, as were four people on the ground. The accident happened in thick fog. The SAS plane crashed into a hangar.

Europe's major plane crashes of the 21st century
Air France Concorde Flight

On July 25, 2000 a Air France Concorde flight from Paris to New York crashed two minutes after take-off, killing 109 people on board and four people on the ground. The crash was caused by the Concorde running over a piece of debris on the runway, which sent tire debris into part of the fuel tank that burst into flames.

1
| 9

DW editors send out a daily selection of news and features. Sign up to receive it here.