The pilot crew of the Air Berlin flight Miami-Dusseldorf that performed a fly-by during the insolvent carrier’s last long-haul flight back to its maiden hub in Germany have all been suspended, the airline said today.
As you can see in the video, upon landing from Miami this Monday morning, the Airbus A330 jet flew dangerously low across the runway before pulling up, banking sharply to the left and then landing on a second approach.
Even though pilots are well trained in such “go-around” procedures in the event of an aborted landings, in this case the maneuver was unusual and caused a bit of panic in the terminal which was overflown by the plane.
The Air Berlin spokesman confirmed that the pilots have been suspended (even though they would have been out of a job in two weeks when the airline is officially bankrupt anyway): “In aviation, safety always comes first. We are taking the incident very seriously.”
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Though it may have looked like a moment of gratitude for the pilot and air traffic controllers, the people on the ground weren’t aware at all of what the plane was doing. People on the terrace of the terminal building had no idea what the Air Berlin plane was attempting to do and screamed in fear. One airport employee said: “It was a strange feeling when the A330 came right at us, as we did not know before that it would do an honorary lap.”
The captain had requested permission from the Dusseldorf tower to make a left turn should a go-around be necessary. “We wanted to make a mark, a dignified and emotional goodbye,” the Air Berlin pilot said to German broadcaster ZDF. He chose to remain anonymous due to the incidents surrounding his actions.
Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy over the summer and German national carrier Lufthansa has already agreed to buy large parts of its operations.
That's not to say these pilots have incredible skill. Watch this Air Belin Pilot negotiate some serious wind shear.
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