• Germany's news in English

Test flights show no damage to planes

DDP/DPA/The Local · 20 Apr 2010, 16:30

Published: 20 Apr 2010 16:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The extensive flights on Monday went without incident and showed no effects on the aircrafts’ equipment, Airbus spokesman Tore Prang said.

“On the two test flights, no noticeable problems appeared at all,” said Prang.

The assessments were based on analysis of measurements taken by the aircrafts’ equipment and observations made by the pilots during the flight.

During the flights, which both lasted several hours, Airbus gathered data on the effects of the volcanic ash emanating from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull on the aeroplanes and their technical systems.


The results came as debate continued to rage over the data upon which authorities have based their decision to ground most of Europe's commercial flights since Thursday.

Germany’s Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer has been caught in a storm of criticism, with airlines on one hand agitating for the reopening of air space and the pilots’ union Cockpit on the other hand warning it would be reckless to resume flying because of political pressure.

The airline industry has argued that the decision to ban air travel relied too heavily on computer simulations rather than hard data collected from the air above Europe.

Air safety authority Eurocontrol announced that by the end of Tuesday, almost 100,000 flights normally scheduled for European airspace would have been cancelled since the ash cloud began hovering over the continent last week.

For the Airbus tests, a double-decker, four-engine Super-Airbus A 380 was flown in a circle for three-and-a-half hours over France and Switzerland and landed at Toulouse at about 6 pm Monday evening.

A second plane, a four-engine Type A 340-600 flew for five hours over Germany – mainly Lower Saxony, Hamburg and the North Sea area and then back to southern France, where it landed about 7:40 pm.

The information gained from the flights was immediately passed to relevant authorities and also to the planes’ engines’ manufacturer, said Prang.

He declined to give Airbus’ actual assessment of the overall safety situation, saying that responsibility rested with authorities. Instead, Airbus was furnishing authorities with the best possible information to make decisions, Prang said.

Airbus boss Tom Enders stressed on Monday night: “We are working at the moment very closely with the entire aviation community and putting everything we have into technical know-how for decision-making. The whole industry would like to find a solution as quickly as possible and see flights in the skies over Europe again.''

Story continues below…

Volcanic ash is believed to be extremely dangerous for jet engines, where the substance can cause parts to seize. The ash can also act like sand paper against a plane’s surface, damaging window visibility.

But it remains unclear at what concentration the ash becomes dangerous.

Most German airlines have slowly resumed their flight plans thanks to an ease in the ban which allows pilots to fly by visual flight regulations. But the country’s DFS air safety agency has said it will not take responsibility for the safety of these flights.

Meanwhile the country’s largest airline carrier Lufthansa reported that its planes have flown without incident at 8,000 metres – where computer simulations have shown the ash cloud.

Related links:

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

00:52 April 21, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, at least we all agree that safety is priority number one. It must nonetheless be based upon the highest degree of logic. To close off all airspace and cancel every flight, just because you fear losing a plane benefits no one.

Commericial air travel will never be perfectly safe.

We can however travel from place to place, with extraordinary consistency and without accidents, if we avoid making "emotional" decisions.
10:52 April 21, 2010 by LancashireLad
"To close off all airspace and cancel every flight, just because you fear losing a plane benefits no one."

.. except maybe those on the lost plane? Very logical - no humanity required at all.

The truth, Logic Guy, is that aeroplanes are not just machines. There are humans in them. Emotions must never be replaced by pure logic. That leads to things like "zero tolerance" policies.

The reason that the air traffic control authorities maintained the ban as long as they did is that they were operating on multiple and non-agreeing models (the pilots on pprune are not exactly praising the Met Office model) - so if they weren't sure, then they were going to be safe. That's a human's point of view.

Now I need to work out if I have just replied to ELIZA.
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd