Ryanair Jet Nearly Crashes Over Germany Due to Botched Maneuver – REPORT

Ryanair Boeing 737-800

Ryanair Boeing 737-800

A Ryanair flight almost crashed while on an approach to Memmingen Airport in Germany on September 23rd when the 737 jet descended too quickly due to a pilot error, according to reports by German publication Der Spiegel and the Daily Mail.

The report in Der Spiegel says pilots on Ryanair Flight 3214 were trying to make up for lost time and changed approach settings to facilitate a quicker arrival.

The Daily Mail states:

‘Some five miles out from the airport, the pilots noticed that the plane was descending too quickly, probably, claims Spiegel, as a result of the autopilot being incorrectly set.

At one point, the plane was just 460ft (150m) above the ground while still several miles from the airport, the report said, according to the magazine.

‘They barely succeeded to pull the jet up,’ reported Spiegel. ‘According to the flight recorder, a warning sounded in the cockpit at 16.39 and 42 seconds with the words: “Terrain, terrain. Pull up.”

‘The approach manoeuvre was apparently chaotic. Obviously, the pilots had programmed the autopilot with a wrong altitude.

‘The machine fell at a rate of almost 1,000 metres per minute. The Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation in Braunschweig classified it as a “serious incident”.’

Spiegel claims the pilots confessed to time pressure as the reason for the manoeuvre.

A spokesman for Ryanair said the pilot initiated a ‘go-around’ after pilots experienced ‘high tail winds’.

‘The crew decided to initiate a go-around procedure in-line with Ryanair operating policy.

‘After they had already commenced the go-around, the aircraft warning systems sounded and the crew completed their go-around, landing normally a short time later.

‘This incident was reported to the Irish Aviation Authority on September 24 and is the subject of an ongoing investigation.’



    • Exuma Guy says

      Go-arounds do happen, for a variety of reasons, and most airlines don’t punish for them. The circumstances that lead to the go-around are the cause for concern.

    • Shawn White says

      That’s what I was going to say. I like making approaches at 200ft. from a couple miles out, but strangely enough most passengers in real life just don’t enjoy seeing trees and light posts wiz by outside their windows…

  1. says

    Isn’t it unusual to be on auto-pilot that close to landing? I understand it’s possible on IFR but this article wasn;t specific. I’m not a pilot but going around seemed the least of their problems.

  2. Jim says

    Sounds a little like the TWA B727 that crashed while on approach into Washington Dulles in 1974. “Cleared for the approach.” Descended to soon.

    • Paul says

      What makes this guy an egomaniac? He made an honest mistake if the news report is to believed? The article states “‘Some five miles out from the airport, the pilots noticed that the plane was descending too quickly…’ ” The unfortunate part is that it was a huge jetliner that could have cause many casualties if it had crashed. The fortunate part is that the plane had a GPWS which performed its function correctly, thus avoiding a CFIT. Nobody died and there was a happy ending.

  3. Ken Riley says

    Well yes, a happy ending indeed, and good to see that GPWS worked to good effect!! I have always been a staunch supporter of budget airlines in general, and Ryanair in particular, because they brought flying into the reach of ordinary folk like me, whilst having an economic model that allowed for “proper” procedures inc. maintenance and pilot training etc. I would say, however, that recent reports of “penny-pinching” tactics by Ryanair:- the bare legal minimum of fuel to complete legs;-this very dubious manoeuvre that could have been catastrophic, to name but 2., means I always use easyjet. (and it’s heaps more civilised!!!) Should Ryanair ever go too far and actually kill people as a result of these “fun and games” it will set cheap aviation back by 20 years again as the media will have a feeding frenzy!

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