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The worst aviation accident for Germany

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  • The worst aviation accident for Germany

    Recently I watched TV, the broadcasting station was NDR Hamburg, the name of the program since 1991 is "DAS!". The guest on the red sofa was Till Mette (*1956), a German cartoonist who since 1995 works for the Stern magazine, Hamburg.

    He mentioned his beginnings for the "Stern" back then in 1995, together with , and now I try to quote him word by word,
    "einer der schlimmsten Flugzeugunfälle in Deutschland, mit mehr als 180 toten Deutschen Passagieren".

    In English, 'one of the worst aviation accidents in Germany, with more than 180 dead German passengers'.

    Well. At once, the accident in Überlingen came to my mind. But that was not 1995, but 2002. And even before the end of that interview, I almost doubted my knowlegde as an aviation enthusiast since more than 35 years.

    Mr Mette, with all the respect which I have. May I correct you?

    What you meant was certainly not the worst aviation accident on German soil.

    But what you meant was surely February 1996, a Boeing 757-200 at the airport of Puerto Plata. 189 souls on board, zero survivors. Today, I assume that more than 150 souls on board that flight 1996 had a German passport.

    Because, if that weren't the case, I definitely know one fatal aviation accident, with destination Lohausen International airport, which also ended in absolute mayhem.

    Neither the accident 1996 nor the Airbus A320 accident which happened en route to EDDL took place on German soil.

    Back to February 1996. You must have meant the fatal aviation accident with the most souls on board with a German passport. If you say 1996, then I believe you. Although I do not have the list of nationalities for each and every flight since the past 35 years.

    I really thought, is this man craze, I know my home airport at least since 1985, so which aviation accident on German soil does he mean. No, not on German soil. Puerto Plata.

    And I have a short excerpt from the German aviation accident report for Puerto Plata 1996 here on my screen right now. In German, but you can be sure, I'll translate it:

    "Während sich die Maschine weiterhin im Steigflug befand, wurde in einer Höhe von 6700 Fuß (ca. 2000 m) auf der Anzeige des Kapitäns eine Geschwindigkeit von 353 Knoten (ca. 650 km/h) angezeigt. Der mit diesen Daten gespeiste Autopilot und das automatische Schubregelsystem ergriffen nun Maßnahmen, um die vermeintlich zu hohe Geschwindigkeit zu korrigieren. Die Triebwerke wurden gedrosselt, und die Maschine vergrößerte ihren Anstellwinkel. Tatsächlich betrug die Geschwindigkeit zu diesem Zeitpunkt nur 199 Knoten (ca. 370 km/h)."

    My translation:
    'During the 757-200 continued her climb flight, on the Flight Captain's airspeed indicator there appeared a speed of 353 knots at an altitude of 6700 (Flughöhe 2042 Meter). Somebody in the cockpit of the B752 by that time had already activated the autopilot a/p and the a/t (automatic thrust), which had been set to less than 353 kias. The a/p then started an attempt to correct that speed which seemed to be too high. The thrust on all the two engines was reduced by the a/t, and the a/p increased the AoA .
    But the real speed of the 752 at that moment was only 199 kias.'
    End of the translated quotation.

    353 kias at alt 6700. Sorry, but in my eyes that sounds totally insane. Since more than 12 years I read aviation safety reports. With almost 40 years of experience here on my home airport. How do the jets take off, with what an angle, on which speed, ...

    The F/O in the cockpit of that B752 had the correct speed on his a.s.i. (air speed indicator), in his F/O seat, right of the 757-200 throttle quadrant: 199 kias .

    Now, I know almost nothing about the 757, but. I'd know at once what I'd do if I read kias 353 at alt 6700, in cockpit which by law can only take off with 2 pilots . I'd ask the pilot who sits next to me,
    "I read kias 353, that sounds craze. What do you read? And what is your v/s?" .

    With a positive v/s, such an air speed indicator could tell me 453 kias, and I would let it do so.

    Only one requirement had to be fulfilled back then in 1996 to save 189 souls?
    And I always fulfil it, when I use a B744 simulator.

    Automatic throttle a/t is off during climb flight!
    [..with lnav on but vnav off, which is possible in a B744.]

    The altitude is irrelevant, I follow that rule at alt 1700 or at 17,000 or 37,000 or higher. I lie my hand on the throttle quadrant and correct the thrust if necessary, personally.
    The German long haul is alive, since more than 60 years.
    The Gold Member in the 747 club, 50 years since the first LH 747.
    And constantly advanced, 744 and 748 /w upper and lower EICAS.
    Aviation enthusiast, since more than 35 years with home airport EDDL.

  • #2
    167 passengers on board that fatal 757-200 in 1996 had a German passport. I should've read the de wiki completely, especially the introduction.. 167 is more than 150.

    And as far as I remember, in that A320 there weren't 150 with a German passport, but less. That's what is behind the word 'international flight' . Almost always, more than only 1 nationality is concerned.

    150 dead souls on board that fatal Airbus A320, but only 72 souls on board had a German passport.
    I just had to see the de wiki for the year 2015 again, and it still makes me shake my head, especially the list of nationalities on board, which is open to the public since then:
    Germany, Spain, Mexico, Great Britain, USA, Argentina, Australia (not to be confused with Austria), Japan, Columbia, Venezuela, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, ...

    Add another five countries of your choice, and they probably have been on board that fatal A320.
    Last edited by LH-B744; 2021-02-07, 05:15. Reason: 1996, 2015
    The German long haul is alive, since more than 60 years.
    The Gold Member in the 747 club, 50 years since the first LH 747.
    And constantly advanced, 744 and 748 /w upper and lower EICAS.
    Aviation enthusiast, since more than 35 years with home airport EDDL.


    • #3
      Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.