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Pilot left to use own instincts – and almost lands at wrong airport

He almost picked the wrong runway: A pilot from a Spanish airline steered for Airbus’s company airfield rather than the Hamburg airport.

Pilot left to use own instincts - and almost lands at wrong airport
Photo: DPA
Fuhlsbüttel or Finkenwerder? They are both airfields in Hamburg, but they are 15 kilometers apart. One pilot is now very much aware of that fact.
 
On the way to Hamburg last Friday, he mistakenly began to land on the Airbus company airfield at Finkenwerder.
 
The German air traffic authority reported that the plane had already begun to descend when air traffic controllers alerted the pilot to his mistake.
 
The plane eventually landed safely on the right runway in Fuhlsbüttel.
 
How did this happen? According to the Hamburger Abendblatt, construction on runway 5 in Fuhlsbüttel meant the “instrument landing system” was unavailable, so the pilot was given permission to fly by sight – which works well, as long as you know where you’re going.
 
“With the help of his other instruments, the pilot really should have noticed that he was too far from his destination”, an air traffic authority spokeswoman told the Hamburg newspaper.
 
The flight handbook even warns pilots that there are multiple airports in the city – and not to mix them up. 
 

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.

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