Close call for an A320



On March 1st 2008, passengers aboard an A320 had a close call when their plane nearly crashed landed during severe crosswinds as they approached a Hamburg airport.

Link: LiveLeak

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I'm an airline pilot and air travel writer. Here is my "official" statement on the Lufthansa video:

First off, videos like this can be misleading. From my perspective, the approach doesn't look terribly unstable until right at the end. Until that point, the into-the-crosswind crab, while it might appear awkward, or even radical, is actually the right technique and not terribly drastic, as these things go. Reportedly the wind was within the airplane's published limits for crosswind performance. That's not to say it wasn't gusty and uncomfortable, but it was legal and well within the plane's capabilities.

As it prepares to touchdown, however, the jet seems to sink rapidly, then rolls sharply as the crab is taken out. That's where it all gets messy, scraping the wing and veering off the runway. Why, exactly, this happened is impossible to determine without having been there.

There has been some discussions about why the 24 year-old first officer and not the captain was at the controls during the approach.
But if the windspeed was within limits and conditions not terribly dodgy, there wouldn't necessarily have been reason to have the captain fly the approach. Alas, it seems that he loss control while aligning for touchdown. Lack of skill/experience on part of the first officer? That's a tough call to make from afar, but possibly.

Several people have described the incident as a "near crash," or "almost crash," etc. I would not go that far. To strike a wingtip and veer from the runway is serious, and it's hard to say what might have happened had the go-around not been executed. But I would not describe the incident as a near-catastrophe.

PS
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Hi, I'm from Germany. The pilot has been applauded for his smart decision not to land. The tower is now being questioned because they gave the pilot a runway that was known for being bad during strong winds. There had been a storm warning hours before the landing of this plane - someone in the tower must have been sleeping or have ignored that weather warning and given the clear off for the dangerous runway.

According to news, the pilot was up in the air again after only two days, with his co-pilot.
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