The embarrassing mishap of a government machine with German Chancellor Merkel on Board was caused, according to SPIEGEL information significantly influenced by an error of the Lufthansa. Lufthansa Technik, a subsidiary of the Kranich-Airline, had rebuilt the A340, the flight readiness of 2009 and waiting for the Jet regularly since then.

According to a confidential report of the General flight security of the German armed forces from the 15. December missed it, the Lufthansa after one of these maintenance in the year 2010, to inform the pilots of the flight readiness and the manufacturer, Airbus is a newly built-in digital communication system in the Jet.

The consequences of the flight to the G20 summit were fatal: On the way to Argentina, the pilots of the “Konrad Adenauer” could not respond adequately to a power failure the onboard electronics. Therefore, it was not possible to them, the failed radio system for contact with the ground again.

What began on the November evening as a bit of a Problem in the air space over Braunschweig, ended in a farce. At the end of the pilots had to turn back over Holland and with full Tanks in the Cologne land. The Chancellor and the Minister of Finance flew the next day with a regular flight of Iberia to the G20 summit.

humiliation all along the line

For the air force, the glitch was an embarrassment. Consequently, under Brigadier General Peter Clement sought the force for all air accidents in charge of the incident. Because a flight without a radio system and a landing with full Tanks is quite dangerous, downgraded the Defect later in the category C for significant incidents.

According to the four-page Dossier to a whole chain of incidents led to the Flight cancellation. First of all, a “bad solder joint” in a transformer caused shortly after the Start, these convert the turbine generated AC power into DC power, a power failure in Parts of the on-Board electronics.

Normally, such a Defect is not a big Problem. As each aircraft is also the Chancellor of inner-Jet is equipped with several redundant transformer units. In the case of a Defect, this is a jump immediately, and secure the power supply for the main on-Board devices such as the radio.

In the case of desRegierungs-Airbus, but this lasted only 70 seconds, according to the report, “a number of defects transfer relay” in the on-Board electronics of the backup power supply immediately lame.

Once in the Cockpit, now the monitors aufflackerten and a warning tone was heard, the pilots no longer in contact with the ground. The entire radio system was dead. Only with the satellite phone enabled the pilots to reach their command stand in Cologne.

Tricky, it was only because of the Lufthansa

Also affected by the power failure parts, the hydraulic goods – for example, for the discharge of Fuel. Since the A340 had tanked at this time about 100 tons of kerosene, this was an important factor.

Delicate the Situation was, however, only through the fault of Lufthansa. Already in 2010, the maintenance had installed in the company in the A340, a digital “Audio Management Unit”. The component controls the entire communication of the pilots both in the aircraft as well as conversations with the ground.

The new technology, however, has an important peculiarity. So you can not be prepared in case of a power failure “in the case of a digital AMU, in contrast to the analog AMU communication,” the report said. On the basis of the emergency checklist on Board the pilot attempted to restart the radio. In vain.

For this Situation, the manufacturer Airbus had sent to all A340 customers already years ago, an emergency manual, the so-called Service-Bulletin “A340-23-4242”,. It describes how to provide the radio with power and the essential contact with the ground again.

the pilots of The Registrar-Jets, two of the most air force captains ever experienced, but knew nothing about it. In the report of the Bundeswehr, the system behavior is “non-current documentation” granted, the radio could not be established, therefore, “contrary to the emergency check list”.

According to the Bundeswehr, and not a defect

For Lufthansa, their technology subsidiary international enjoys an excellent reputation, is the slip-up, just with the Prestige-project Registrar-Jet, pretty embarrassing. The flight readiness ordered, that all pilots need to be informed of the new technology to the appropriate Service Bulletin from Airbus.

The transformer has been expanded both in the “Konrad Adenauer”, as well as in the identical A340 to the government. According to a response of the military departments for the Green party member of Parliament Tobias Lindner, he was more than 20 years old and was already flew in 1999 in the Jet installed before the A340 first, almost ten years for Lufthansa.

A deficiency will not recognize the Bundeswehr. According to the Letter to Lindner, regular maintenance, or even a cyclic replacement of the transformers of the A340 was not provided for””. Interestingly, the Ministry is not mentioned in the Letter to the deputies of the consequences of lapse of the Lufthansa even.

In the air force it is hoped now that there is no breakdown of the A340. The replacement of the transformers and the Relay, “aging-related influences” on the power supply, the probability of a further G20 Odyssey is therefore the minimum of 1: 100,000,000 to be exact.

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.