Watch the Final Transatlantic Air Berlin Flight Buzz the Control Tower

Oct 17, 2017

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Monday morning, Air Berlin’s final transatlantic flight landed in Dusseldorf (DUS), but not before a wild stunt. It seems the pilot of Air Berlin flight #7001 wanted to single-handedly extend the long-haul operations of Air Berlin — if only by another 10 minutes. In doing so, he pulled a very unusual maneuver flying the aircraft in a bank just over the airport terminal and right by the air traffic control tower.

Here’s what happened: After approaching the runway with too much altitude, the pilot of the Airbus A330-200 maintained an altitude of approximately 50 feet over the runway. It looks like the pilot is just going to do a low pass over the runway before aborting the landing and going around. However, about halfway down the runway, he (or she, as we don’t know who was at the controls) makes a dramatic low left turn:

And here’s another angle from the tower showing the aircraft pass at approximately the height of the tower:

According to flight tracking site FlightRadar24, the aircraft was at around 100 feet above the ground when over the terminal building:

FR24 MIA-DUS AB7001 pilot low pass

While undeniably a fascinating maneuver to watch, this was still not an advisable move for a pilot with 200 passengers on board. Sure enough, German news source The Local reports that the “federal aviation authority is now looking into the incident.”

However, the airline notes that “the manoeuvre had been agreed upon with the flight control centre, which gave permission for a turn to the left in the case of an aborted landing.”

Standard go-around procedures for runway 23L call for pilots to climb straight ahead for two miles before turning right and climbing to 4,000 feet. If the pilot was cleared to turn left after a missed approach, it likely was expected to be done further downfield — not directly over the terminal.

23L missed approach graphic

Air Berlin points out that no passengers have filed a complaint. It may still have been pretty scary for some passengers who might not have expected a sharp left turn. Fortunately, however, these passengers didn’t experience a landing as crazy as this recent Emirates flight to DUS.

H/T: View From The Wing

Would you have wanted your pilot to pull off this maneuver with you on board?

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