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German BFU: No probe into RAM 737 take-off incident

German investigators are not looking into a take-off incident involving a Royal Air Maroc Boeing 737-700 at Frankfurt last month, during which the aircraft appeared to struggle to become airborne.

Video images purportedly capturing the 23 July departure of flight AT811 to Casablanca show the aircraft (CN-RNV) initially rotating with a high nose-up attitude.

It momentarily lifts its main landing-gear before settling and lifting off again, only to touch down a few seconds later. The aircraft then reduces its pitch before becoming airborne and climbing away.

Despite the attitude the aircraft’s tail did not appear to make contact with the runway.

While flaps and slats appear to have been deployed, the setting has not been confirmed and there is no immediate information on the aircraft’s performance data.

German investigation authority BFU tells FlightGlobal that it is “not investigating this incident”, adding that it has received no official statement from the pilot, the airline or the authorities at Frankfurt airport.

Under German and European Union law, it adds, BFU has “no reason to start any action in this case”.

Royal Air Maroc is aware of the incident, and responded to the subsequent publicity attracted by the video footage by insisting that “false information” had been spread regarding the nature of the event.

The carrier says, through its official social media feed, that the pilot-in-command of flight AT811 had been warned of possible wake turbulence from the “simultaneous landing” of an Airbus A330 on an “intersecting runway”.

Although Frankfurt does not have intersecting runways, aircraft landing on the parallel runways 07C and 07R overfly runway 18, from which the 737 had been departing. The thresholds of the parallel runways are situated some 600-700m from the centreline of runway 18.

The video footage shows a landing Turkish Airlines A330 passing in front of the Royal Air Maroc aircraft before it begins its departure roll.

Royal Air Maroc’s clarification states that the pilot conducted a “manoeuvre” to enable the aircraft to accelerate and reach the speed to take off safely. It adds that the commander reported the situation to the company’s flight-safety department on arrival in Casablanca.

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