TG flight serious incident at Frankfurt - too low

Old Jan 13, 20, 12:01 pm
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TG flight serious incident at Frankfurt - too low

As reported by The Aviation Herald.


Incident: Thai A359 at Frankfurt on Jan 1st 2020, about 800 feet AGL about 7nm from touch down

(note by me: To be properly established on a 3 degrees glidespath at 7nm, an aircraft should be at approximately 2,100í above ground level.

Most precision approaches such as ILS use a 3 degrees glideslope. Even if flying a visual approach, an aircraft is positioned on a similar glide path to allow standard power/flap settings to be used. Being at 800í at 7nm is a very serious situation. )


By Simon Hradecky, created Monday, Jan 13th 2020 16:10Z, last updated Monday, Jan 13th 2020 16:12Z

A Thai Airways Airbus A350-900, registration HS-THF performing flight TG-926 from Phuket (Thailand) to Frankfurt/Main (Germany), was on final approach to Frankfurt's runway 07R when the aircraft descended to about 800 feet AGL (about 1150 feet MSL) before initiating a go around. The aircraft climbed to 5000 feet MSL, positioned for another approach and landed safely on runway 07R about 15 minutes later.

Germany's BFU reported following an unstable approach and low level flying the aircraft went around. The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by the BFU.

Incident: Thai A359 at Frankfurt on Jan 1st 2020, about 800 feet AGL about 7nm from touch down

Last edited by Thai-Kiwi; Yesterday at 2:57 am
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Old Jan 13, 20, 2:21 pm
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Good thing final approach to 7R is from the SW.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 12:34 am
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Pax must have had some interesting views.....
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Old Jan 14, 20, 1:33 am
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That's a pretty big deviation...!
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Old Jan 14, 20, 2:03 am
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Originally Posted by SKT-DK View Post
That's a pretty big deviation...!
Yep! When I was actively flying, an event such as this was a very big deal - and usually quite a wake-up call for the crew concerned. At 7nm you really need to have the aircraft in a stable configuration, speeds, power and, if sorted, then very little chance of a major screw-up. I sense a significant failure of Crew Resource Management for one reason or another.

Iíd be very interesting to see was the internal investigation reveals as the causes - but if course we will never see that.....
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Old Jan 14, 20, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by Thai-Kiwi View Post
As reported by a herald.com.


Incident: Thai A359 at Frankfurt on Jan 1st 2020, about 800 feet AGL about 7nm from touch down

(note by me: To be properly established on a 3 degrees glidespath at 7nm, an aircraft should be at approximately 2,100’ above ground level.

Most precision approaches such as ILS use a 3 degrees glideslope. Even if flying a visual approach, an aircraft is positioned on a similar glide path to allow standard power/flap settings to be used. Being at 800’ at 7nm is a very serious situation. )


By Simon Hradecky, created Monday, Jan 13th 2020 16:10Z, last updated Monday, Jan 13th 2020 16:12Z

A Thai Airways Airbus A350-900, registration HS-THF performing flight TG-926 from Phuket (Thailand) to Frankfurt/Main (Germany), was on final approach to Frankfurt's runway 07R when the aircraft descended to about 800 feet AGL (about 1150 feet MSL) before initiating a go around. The aircraft climbed to 5000 feet MSL, positioned for another approach and landed safely on runway 07R about 15 minutes later.

Germany's BFU reported following an unstable approach and low level flying the aircraft went around. The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by the BFU.

Incident: Thai A359 at Frankfurt on Jan 1st 2020, about 800 feet AGL about 7nm from touch down
When flying AB into Germany and landing at TXL (IIRC) several years ago, my AB flight was no more than a few hundred feet above the ground (if even that) and headed (in an apparently stable way) to land when we suddenly went back up thousands of feet and circled around for several minutes (and maybe then some) before we headed back to land at the airport. The crew said nothing about what happened with the aborted landing, and I don’t recall any press coverage of that flight of mine. I wonder if the BFU investigated what happened to that AB flight of mine, but it’s the closest that any of my commercial flights have gotten to the ground only to then abort landing and have to re-work a landing.

I still wonder what caused the need for the sudden abortion of the landing in Germany and I’m wondering why the AB pilots didn’t come on to the overhead announcement system and explain what happened. Could it have been such a dangerous or career-damaging situation (or both) that they were too shocked to want to mention it to passengers before or after landing?

Last edited by GUWonder; Jan 14, 20 at 11:02 am
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Old Jan 14, 20, 11:31 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
When flying AB into Germany and landing at TXL (IIRC) several years ago, my AB flight was no more than a few hundred feet above the ground (if even that) and headed (in an apparently stable way) to land when we suddenly went back up thousands of feet and circled around for several minutes (and maybe then some) before we headed back to land at the airport. The crew said nothing about what happened with the aborted landing, and I donít recall any press coverage of that flight of mine. I wonder if the BFU investigated what happened to that AB flight of mine, but itís the closest that any of my commercial flights have gotten to the ground only to then abort landing and have to re-work a landing.

I still wonder what caused the need for the sudden abortion of the landing in Germany and Iím wondering why the AB pilots didnít come on to the overhead announcement system and explain what happened. Could it have been such a dangerous or career-damaging situation (or both) that they were too shocked to want to mention it to passengers before or after landing?
Your event sounds like a much more usual circumstance of a Ďgo aroundí or Ďovershootí where the crew are instructed (or decide) to abort the landing.

Common reasons are:

- Runway not clear of the preceding aircraft
- Bird activity
- Airfield maintenance equipment not clear (mowers)
- Crosswind or wind shear
- Approach not stable (power/flaps)
- System malfunction of ATC
- Unabke to see sufficiently at minimum altitude
- Landing checklist not completed
- Lined up to land on wrong runway

Although individual passenger experience of an overshoot is low, it happens quite often.

Usually, but not always, aircrew will advise passengers. However the cockpit workload is quite high, and advising passengers is a lower priority than executing the procedure correctly, reconfiguring the aircraft, and debriefing the subsequent approach.

Last edited by Thai-Kiwi; Jan 14, 20 at 11:38 am
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Old Jan 14, 20, 11:50 am
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I’ve had plenty of aborted landings for various reasons, but this AB one was the only one where (based on looking out the window) I had ever assumed we would be touching down in less than 10-15 seconds but then went up suddenly and high enough to feel like something suddenly was discovered to be wrong.

It would be nice to see a moving visual graph of what this Thai plane did.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jan 14, 20 at 11:55 am
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Old Jan 15, 20, 9:23 pm
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Armchair expert view only. It almost looks like they failed to line up properly on the first approach. When correcting that, their altitude dropped from about 2800ft to just 725ft (the point where you can see the yellow line). I would say they immediately inititated the goaround at that point.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by wheresmybagba View Post


Armchair expert view only. It almost looks like they failed to line up properly on the first approach. When correcting that, their altitude dropped from about 2800ft to just 725ft (the point where you can see the yellow line). I would say they immediately inititated the goaround at that point.
Thanks for posting. Itíd be very interesting to see the altitude profile. Unfortunately I donít a paid subscription to FR24 or similar to make a better assessment of what might have occurred.
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Old Yesterday, 12:31 am
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Originally Posted by Thai-Kiwi View Post
Thanks for posting. Itíd be very interesting to see the altitude profile. Unfortunately I donít a paid subscription to FR24 or similar to make a better assessment of what might have occurred.
Someone on Anet has plotted the FR24 data versus the normal approach. It's quite alarming!

https://www.airliners.net/forum/view...?f=3&t=1439109
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Old Yesterday, 2:48 am
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Originally Posted by wheresmybagba View Post
Someone on Anet has plotted the FR24 data versus the normal approach. It's quite alarming!

https://www.airliners.net/forum/view...?f=3&t=1439109
OMG! That is very bad approach profile and 3000fpm rate of descent is a very bad situation indeed. Fine clear weather at the airport, so looks like a serious loss of awareness by the crew...

I’ve pasted in a screenshot of the profile, your ground track picture and an except from the approach plate (not current but gives an idea), and the full (but out of date) approach plate for ILS RWY 07.

There is a lot of information, but the first picture shows it well; they became dangerously below glidepath with a high rate of descent and around 1400’ below where they should have been if on the correct profile.

An unarrested descent passing 800’ above ground, descending at 3,000 fpm, gives the crew around 16 seconds before impact with the ground.

I expect that in fact the crew had already commenced the overshoot procedure and ‘bottomed out’ in their recovery at 800’. But that descent profile would be an underpants changing experience for some....
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Last edited by Thai-Kiwi; Yesterday at 2:53 am
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Old Yesterday, 9:31 pm
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Extremely scary, just seconds away from disaster...... thanks Thai-Kiwi for posting such detailed information.
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Old Yesterday, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by chris63 View Post
Extremely scary, just seconds away from disaster...... thanks Thai-Kiwi for posting such detailed information.
Happy to answer any questions here or via PM that relate to interpreting the ILS approach chart, and where the aircraft should have been - didnít want to saturate with too much detailed information !
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