investigations into the Lufthansa Airbus A320 wing-strike incident at Hamburg
during a storm two months ago show that the twin-jet was under dual control at
a critical point of the landing, following an approach conducted by the
less-experienced of the two pilots.
information into the 1 March landing, released by German investigation agency
BFU, states that flight LH044 from Munich
was established on the instrument landing system approach to runway 23 when Hamburg
tower informed the crew of 28kt crosswinds, gusting to 47kt.
BFU’s preliminary report contains
an excerpt from the quick-reference handbook giving a 30kt limit for a
manually-flown crosswind landing. The 2min average wind for runway 23 was 33kt,
although the 300° bearing would have lowered the crosswind component.
the captain had over 10,200h flight experience, with more than 4,120h on type,
the crew had previously agreed that the sector would be flown by the 24-year
old co-pilot who had accumulated just 579h with 327h on type.
pilots were told that 50% of approaches in the previous 10min had resulted in a
go-around. Tower controllers offered the alternative runway 33 but the crew
declined. The pilots, however, were prepared for the possibility of a missed
recorder information shows that, in the final moments of the approach, both
pilots were applying sidestick
input. A320 aircraft are able to accept dual input; the inputs from the two sidesticks are numerically
a height of 75ft the aircraft began to drift to the left, and the co-pilot
moved the sidestick 10°
right, while at 50ft the sidestick
was moved left accompanied by a 28° left-rudder input. The captain gave 4.5°
right-hand input to his sidestick
at 15ft, and the co-pilot also moved her sidestick
from left to right.
aircraft banked 4° left, touching down briefly with the left main landing-gear,
before the roll angle increased to 23° left and the wing-tip struck the runway.
the crew had noticed the lifting of the right wing, neither realised the
aircraft had contacted the ground. Both the co-pilot and the captain deflected
their sidesticks to the
right, and there was 14° right-rudder input.
co-pilot called a go-around, which was confirmed by the captain, and then the
captain took full control of the aircraft by pressing his sidestick button to transfer input priority.
completing the go-around the captain returned control of the aircraft to the
co-pilot, who conducted a localiser-DME approach to runway 33 and landed
without further incident. None of those on board was injured.
wing-strike occurred at about 450m (1,480ft) from the runway 23 threshold and damaged the A320’s wing-fence, slats and guide
tracks. “A runway inspection was then carried out but no parts were found,”
states the BFU.
has not completed its investigation into the incident and has yet to reach any
conclusions about the event. Lufthansa states that both pilots are still
employed by the airline.