German government jet suffers serious damage in crash landing
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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