Crosswind Landing?

3 Mar 08 8 Comments

Jesus, look at the rocking of that plane, my stomach churns just watching the video. This was apparently shot yesterday in Hamburg. The pilot did the right thing, he went around. The person filming is commenting (in German) that the plane almost crashed. Watch at 0:42 and you can see a puff of smoke as the left wing touches the ground. That was incredibly close to being a disaster.

Edit: Airliners has a stunning photograph by Lars Tretau which shows the moment when the wing tip touched.

Also, there’s a brief write-up in English on Flight Global.

Category: Flying,


  • They’ve been showing this on the news this morning, saying Lufthansa are treating the passengers for “psychological trauma”.

    As someone who has no idea about these things, shouldn’t the pilot maybe have considered going around a little earlier? Like maybe when he noticed he was coming in sideways?

  • Well, bear in mind he still has to land the thing – a crosswind landing involves coming in sideways but then it got too much. I landed next to the runway once when the wind gusted at the last minute and the plane simply shifted sideways. There was no way I could see that coming. Also, going around is expensive and scary for the passengers. Obviously any decent pilot will go around if he needs to, but he won’t rush into it.

    I’ve added a photograph taken from a different angle showing the wing hitting the ground. Eeeek!

  • I saw this video all around the net, and it inspires me two comments:

    1) Going around is certainly the good decision. Should the pilot have gone around earlier ? Not possible to conclude anything. It’s easy to say “the wing tip will touch ground” when seeing that from outside, much harder from the cockpit.

    2) It’s not clear yet if the wing actually touched the runway or if water was splashed because of aerodynamics effects. The report will tell.

    Anyway, congrats to the brave pilots who took the approach, and finally succeeded at the second attempt.

  • The arguments about #1 have started, ranging from “it was a bad approach” to “he should have diverted.” So easy to say in arrears.

    Spiegel magazine says that the wingtip touched but only on the German version:,1518,539069,00.html

    Pech für die Lufthansa: Der Fehlanflug ist durch das Video von “Spottern” bestens dokumentiert. Alle Welt kann sehen, wie die etwa 60 Tonnen schwere Maschine schaukelnd und mit großem Vorhaltewinkel auf die Bahn zusteuert, und die Tragflächenspitze mit dem Asphalt kollidiert. Die Airbus-Piloten haben jedoch nach Lufthansa-Angaben “super-professionell” reagiert.

    Here’s my translation:

    Bad luck for Lufthansa: The missed approach was documented on video by plane spotters. All the world can see, how the approx. 60-ton machine rocked and with a large lead steered toward the runway and the wingtip collided with the asphalt. Lufthansa says, however, that the Airbus pilots reacted “super-professionally”.

  • HHmmm.. Crosswind Landing?? i think that was misappropriate. but i don’t know why the pilot’s choose them or what are the actual causes and happen.. maybe because of heavy wind. but anyway making Go Around is a best option.

    It’s hard to say that the wing touched the ground. and if did, its only little but if the wing totally touched the ground and the impact is massive.. That is a very different story that we seen this video

    Good Job..!! to the Pilot’s

  • Hi Sylvia,

    I forgot you were a pilot! How cool!!! I’ll have to read your blog now….

    I wanted to see if you were going to post the last part of your story. You’re sooo close!!! Please do! I can leave it up for another day, but then I’ll have to take it down if you don’t want to finish so EE isn’t confused when he starts commenting on them.

    Thanks!! :-)

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