As Jens Barf and Michael Weyerer on a dull Thursday evening at the end of November the Gas, everything looks after a routine day of work. In spite of almost 100 tonnes of kerosene in the Tanks, their white A340. After a good 20 seconds of the four-engine Jet lifts off with a good 300 things in the direction of the East.

The air force the pilots to climb, turning a left curve, take a course on Argentina. In a good 10 hours, you want to end up in South America.

just behind the Cockpit, two prominent passengers in a spacious VIP cabins and convenient. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz, Minister of Finance and Vice-Chancellor, to this 29. November with the government flight GAF 918 to Buenos Aires to negotiate a day with the heads of government of the world. Only 24 hours later it will go back in again, with a Turbo-Trip half way around the world, for the Chancellor’s Routine.

A loud warning

sounds While Merkel and Scholz to get a wine passed, do not have feeling to the pilot that something is wrong. After a good 30 minutes, the screens on the fly just about Braunschweig, flickering in the Cockpit, glaring. A loud alarm sounds. “Master Caution”, barks the automatic voice stoic. At the same time warning lights to go with the same inscription in Red. This Code shows a more than serious malfunction.

Now everything goes very quickly. On the screens the display “DC Essential BUS is flashing FAULT”, a large part of the power system is down. The pilot experiments with the ground station contact. . None of the radio systems work. By now, the “Konrad Adenauer” is heading to Holland, to realise the pilot the hot spots. Set the Transponder Code “7600”, in order to warn other fliers.

What happens in the Cockpit, the Chancellor quickly. Merkel sit together with some of the travelling journalists in the “living room”, the cozy conference room of the government pilot, a Stewardess of the air force in bursts. “It’s important,” she says, and asks the Chancellor. A little later, it is clear: The A340 is necessary to turn over the North sea. Only over the satellite phone to navigate, it goes back to the Cologne-Wahn.

After landing, the fire brigade moves to

For Merkel, the evening is always annoying. After landing, you must sit still for almost an hour on the plane: Since the A340 touches down with almost full Tanks, the brakes are glowing hot, the fire must be coming from. Then it turns out: the “Theodor Heuss”, a identical A340 can’t fly to Buenos Aires. The Crew is already in use too long for the Ten-hour flight. Merkel must stay overnight and the next day, line to the summit of flying.

For the air force is in the process of embarrassing. And puzzling. So, it is clear from an internal investigation report, that the cause of the mishap has not been found until today. “Incomprehensible and contrary to the intended system behavior and” have the technology, according to the accident Report. Accordingly, the plane would have had to stay by replacement systems”, with restrictions, functional”.

The Details of the defect of the report describes then only to the extent that the experts could keep track of. So one of the Transformer-rectifier units, is called, in the jargon of the “Transformer Rectifier Unit”, or TRU, failed. With the rectifier through the turbines alternating current generated in the case of Change of the voltage is converted to DC power for the onboard instruments, but also for many of the hydraulic functions.

“A very special system failure”

it is Unclear, however, why the Defect was in one of the transformers such extreme consequences. In the A340 the same three transformer are built-in systems. One is, to take the replacement systems for the power supply. A guess is that an over-current, a high voltage, the System is overloaded a sudden and complete shutdown. As the technician tried to adjust, not on the effect but once.

Meanwhile, the “Konrad Adenauer” because of the defect in the Hangars of Lufthansa in Hamburg. There, the specialist would find out people from Lufthansa Technik, the rebuild of the Regierungsjets and regularly wait to what has damaged the transformer. For Lufthansa, this is also for the own plane interesting, a good dozen of the A340 has been there each and every day.

experts warn, at any rate, to take the incident lightly. “This is a very specific system failure,” says Gerhard., former head of the Institute of flight guidance at the TU Berlin. Ralf God, from the Institute for aircraft cabin systems, Hamburg University sees “many question marks”. The lead rectifier-failure to complete failure was “inconceivable”.

Merkel does not want to said of a similar Situation re-experiencing

An experienced Pilot of the Lufthansa group, the described incident is for the Crew “not funny”. He had been confronted in the flight simulator with a similar Situation – and there are strong under a lot of Stress. “I knew after my name,” said the Pilot. Also, the landing of the nearly fully fueled Airbus in Cologne had been technically feasible – but it is also risky. The pilot, the mate, had safely “hide”.

Chancellor Merkel does not want to experience a similar Situation again. Last Wednesday, she was in the Federal Cabinet of defense state Secretary Thomas Silberhorn the report of the inquiry to the case and wanted to know what to do now. Silver horn reported of ideas for the purchase of one or even two new long-haul aircraft. Best Airbus-Jets of the type Airbus A330 or A350, which have a wide range would be suitable.

Merkel listened quietly. Then they turned to the military Department and the Minister of Finance, you should please find a solution quickly. One can assume that this happens after the instruction, the Chancellor quickly. Probably that is why defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, had on the Saturday immediately via the “BamS” to tell you am already planning a new purchase, and I will talk with the Finance Minister soon on the Budget for that.

After publication, a spokesman for the Ministry reported on Saturday evening and stated that on Saturday there had been a Meeting of professionals. There it was agreed that the Problem would be how to fix a replacement of the transformer and the configuration of “completely”. After this repair, both the A340 should be “from the middle of the coming week”.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.