Dramatic: Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Smacks The Runway at LAX and Goes Around

Last updated on Apr 26, 2024

Posted on Apr 26, 2024

YouTube channel AIRLINE VIDEOS caught a dramatic scene a few days ago as a Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 was coming into land at LAX. The video starts with what looks like a stable approach into the airport and a few seconds later smacks hard into the runway with a huge cloud of smoke. It ultimately went around as it rebounded from the first attempted landing, in the video you can hear the engines roar to life after it hits the ground the first time to initiate a go around.

What Happened?

While it's not exactly clear what happened, I have some theories. The first thing that comes to mind seeing the video is that there was probably a training pilot in the flight deck, and they simply forgot to flare for the landing.

Normally when you come in for landing you pitch up slightly right before your wheel touch the ground and reduce power, this gives you the smoothest of landings. However, if you keep a constant descent you'll smack pretty hard into the runway, almost exactly what we saw.

The second thing that comes to mind is the wind. While the wind wasn't crazy strong there was a steady 14 knot wind and at points it was peaking up to 20 knots with gusts. By all means, this wasn't the strongest of winds, and planes can land safely in these conditions all day. Additionally, the wind was coming right down the runway, so they didn't have to deal with much crosswind.

Here are the METARs for the arrival period, the flight landed around 2005z:

KLAX 242153Z 24014G20KT 10SM FEW030 FEW050 SCT180 SCT250 17/10 A3006 RMK AO2 SLP178 T01670100

KLAX 242053Z 23014KT 10SM FEW030 FEW050 17/09 A3006 RMK AO2 SLP179 T01720094 56007

KLAX 241953Z 25011G19KT 10SM FEW027 FEW045 SCT060 18/11 A3006 RMK AO2 SLP179 T01780106

The last thing that comes to mind is a mechanical fault. Much like pilots, airplanes need to have their systems checked regularly to ensure they work and there is nothing wrong with them. One critical component that is checked regularly is the autoland system. This autopilot function can land an aircraft in near zero visibility, and airplanes are required to simulate these autoland functions to ensure they still work properly.

The crew may have been doing a simulated autoland and when the aircraft should have automatically flared, a fault could have prevented it. Thus, like we see in the video, the plane never flared and ended up smacking down on to the runway.

Final Thoughts

Airplanes are meant to take a lot of abuse and generally won't fall apart that easily. That being said, the aircraft would have likely had an extensive inspection done to critical components like the landing gear and airframe to ensure no damage was taken from the hard landing. And if it was the autoland system that was faulting, maintenance would either fix it or disable it until it can be fixed. The crew also would have filled out some safety forms to report the hard landing so that the aircraft can be tracked, and preventative maintenance can be accomplished.

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