Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Returns To Frankfurt As A Result Of Landing Gear Issues

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A Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 flying from Frankfurt to Boston was forced to dump fuel and return to its origin due to a problem with its landing gear. The aircraft was at FL180 (roughly 18,000 feet) when the problem was discovered. According to the Aviation Herald, the aircraft made a safe landing back in Frankfurt 85 minutes after its departure. Interestingly, this incident comes just one day after the aircraft had another incident forcing a diversion.

The aircraft involved is pictured here – a Boeing 747 with registration D-ABYL. Photo: Kiefer via Wikimedia Commons

Incident details

The flight was LH422 – a Boeing 747-8 going from Frankfurt to Boston, which is a daily flight operated by Lufthansa. Aviation Herald reports via a passenger that the crew announced a problem with the landing gear as the reason for their return to Frankfurt. Furthermore, a number of ground observers noticed that the aircraft had all landing gear extended and was later dumping fuel.

Some suspect that the problem was an inability to retract the landing gear after take-off. However, a commenter on the Aviation Herald website reports that this latest incident was related to a medical emergency. After accessing FlightRadar24 as well as the Boston Logan Airport website, it doesn’t look like a subsequent flight was arranged out of Frankfurt. A different aircraft has been scheduled to operate the same flight on October 27th.

The flight path of LH422, taking off from Frankfurt and dumping fuel to return. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

The aircraft: two diversions in two days

The aircraft involved is a 5.8-year-old Boeing 747-8 according to AirFleets. This makes it one of the newest 747s in the fleet having joined Lufthansa right out of the Boeing factory.

The flight record of D-ABYL. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Unfortunately, this particular aircraft was forced to make a diversion the day before on the exact same flight. The first incident occurred partway between Frankfurt and Boston, forcing the aircraft to make a diversion to Keflavik airport in Iceland. After the diversion it appears that the plane continued on to Boston. Departing Boston over four hours late, it then returned to Frankfurt – three and a half hours after its scheduled arrival time.

In light of conflicting information (landing gear vs medical emergency), we don’t have any definitive answers or official details about what happened to the aircraft.

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Another shot of D-ABYL – a relatively new 747-8. Photo: N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons

 

Conclusion

If one or both of these diversions were made due to a medical emergency then it is purely bad luck and an unfortunate coincidence. However, if both incidents were due to a mechanical failure of the aircraft, this would warrant a more thorough investigation and inspection of the plane.

Were you on either of these flights? We would love to know more details about your story if you experienced either diversion on October 25th or the 26th. Share your details by leaving a comment.

We’ve contacted both Lufthansa and Boeing with a request for an official statement or comment. Boeing has referred us to Lufthansa. However, we have yet to receive any response from the airline. This article will be updated if/when a response is received.

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