Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777 Faces Altitude Reporting Issue

Today, a Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777-200 heading to Shanghai Pudong International from Frankfurt Airport returned to its departing hub. The cause of the change of direction was due to an altitude reporting issue.

Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777
There was an unexpected issue for Lufthansa Cargo crew on October 10th while they were on the way to China. Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

Unreliable numbers

According to The Aviation Herald, the 777 freighter that was performing the flight held registration D-ALFG. The aircraft was operating flight GEC-8402, and when ascending out of Frankfurt’s runway 25C, crew members declared Mayday, Mayday, reporting unreliable airspeed.

After that, the crew communicated with ATC and asked what their altitude readings were. Subsequently, the corresponding controller said that the figure was 200 feet. Meanwhile, the crew members said that their standby altimeter was indicating 6,100 feet. Moreover, according to GPS, the plane was at 6,200 feet. Therefore, they should be approximately at that altitude.

Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777 Jet
Lufthansa Cargo is a fan of the Boeing 777 aircraft. Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

Time to turn things around

The crew made the decision to return to the German hub and requested to dump fuel. The plane subsequently dumped fuel and made the return to the airport for a safe landing on runway 07C. The landing time was over an hour after departure.

FlightAware shares that the plane departed Frankfurt am Main At 09:21 and landed back there at 10:33. All times are local. The Aviation Herald also highlights that according to ADS-B data transmitted by the 777,  the plane did not climb above 250 feet throughout the entire journey.

A look at the aircraft

Altogether, Lufthansa Cargo holds nine Boeing 777 jets. However, one of them is currently in storage. They are all configured for shipping operations. D-ALFG, the plane involved in this weekend’s incident, arrived at the firm’s facilities on March 26th, 2019. It was delivered from Boeing’s facilities in Everett, Washington, and has the nickname of “Annyeonghaseyo, Korea”. All of the operator’s 777s go by global greetings in different languages.

Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777 Interior
There is plenty of space inside the Boeing 777 freighter units. Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

Additionally, the carrier also has six McDonnell Douglas MD-11F planes. All of these units are currently in service.

The global health crisis continues to take its toll on the commercial aviation industry. Therefore, companies are relying more heavily on their cargo services while passenger numbers remain low.

As a result, Lufthansa’s cargo operations have been more prominent this year. In fact, it produced most of the airline group’s revenue during the second quarter.

Thankfully, there were no injuries or major consequences following this incident in Germany. Undoubtedly, Lufthansa Cargo will be at hard work monitoring the situation.

Simple Flying reached out to Lufthansa Cargo for comment on this Boeing 777 incident. A spokesperson for the airline replied with the following:

“Lufthansa Cargo confirms that on 10 October 2020, flight LH8402, routed from Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) to Shanghai International Airport (PVG) returned to FRA 75 minutes after take-off. The crew decided to return to FRA due to flight instrument problems. The Boeing 777F with registration D-ALFG landed safely, the crew deboarded normally, nobody else was on board.”

What are your thoughts about this Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777 aircraft facing an altitude reporting issue? Have you had similar experiences in the past while flying? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.