@Reedgreat… MaxSez: As Requested;
Incident: Korean B773 near Berlin on Jul 15th 2017, loss of communication
By Simon Hradecky, created Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 09:33Z, last updated Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 09:33Z
A Korean Airlines Boeing 777-300, registration HL8011 performing flight KE-917 from Seoul (South Korea) to Zurich (Switzerland) with 211 passengers, was enroute FL380 almost over Berlin (Germany) when the crew set the transponder code for loss of communication. German Airforce dispatched two supersonic fighter aircraft to intercept the aircraft and accompany the aircraft to Stuttgart (Germany), about 80nm north of Zurich, where the aircraft landed safely on runway 07 about 55 minutes later.
German police reported the aircraft was escorted to Stuttgart due to a problem with the aircraft’s radio equipment. Police received some 250 phone calls due to the sonic boom produced by the fighter aircraft.
The passengers were taken to the terminal in Stuttgart. Due to night curfew, lack of available hotel beds and lack of transportation the passengers spent the night at the terminal on cots and were bussed to Zurich the following morning.
The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Stuttgart about 11 hours after landing.
Reader Comments: (the comments posted below do not reflect the view of The Aviation Herald but represent the view of the various posters)
By HH-52 on Monday, Jul 17th 2017 09:25Z
How would the procedure be to assign a runway (or even communicate which runways are active) to a plane under 7600 regimen? Is it ascertained at the ground/ATC that the crew can receive inflight METAR etc. so they can make up their mind in which direction to land?
I am just an armchair pilot so I know exactly nothing about the procedures, but to me it seems sensible to assume that the aircraft can’t hear anything and have an interceptor vector the plane in (notwhithstanding that in this particular case the crew apparently happily communicated on 121.5).
By Alex on Monday, Jul 17th 2017 06:31Z
@Marc: there is no need to “guide” them to ZRH as the route is already filed and special lost com procedures known to crew are already published for ZRH.
Except for the radio reception the aircraft was fully functional.
The EU/ICAO lost commprocedure was adopted to let the aircraft fly to original destination according to predetermined route. Upon selection of sw 7600 air traffic control should “clear the way” to destination.
By Naschus on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 23:08Z
We were flying trough Swiss airspace at time of the interception. Listening on 121.5 all the time. The Koreans were clearly to be heard, you could tell by the accent (and of course by the use of their callsign). Who else should transmit “WE are following the German fighter.”?
They seemed to be transmitting blind as they never answered to anybody.
Don’t know where the contrary information comes from.
2020 one day missing
By Hans Glück on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 23:04Z
@Peter Müller: what will they do on Feb 29th 2020 then? :)
By Marc on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 22:58Z
Why should they take the risk to guide a plane without radio capabilities to an airport in between mountains, which as well is much busier than Stuttgart and has other stuff to do than clear the airspace for a mute 773 to come in?
Also, tax payed jetfuel is not meant to be spent in order to get Korean Air passengers to their destination more quickly.
Swiss Air Police Operating Hours
By Peter Müller on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 20:56Z
This is how swiss air police is organnized: (Text in German from Airforce Web)
2016: 50 weeks MO to FR 8am to 6pm
2017: 365 days 8am 6pm
2019: 365 days 6am 22pm
2020: 365 days/24 hours
all QRE 15
Das Projekt Luftpolizeidienst 24 (LP24) geht auf eine Motion von Alt-Ständerat Hans Hess (FDP/OW) aus dem Jahr 2009 zurück. Darin forderte er eine erhöhte Bereitschaft im Luftpolizeidienst auch ausserhalb der normalen Arbeitszeiten. Mit LP24 wird nun in vier Schritten eine permanente Einsatzbereitschaft von zwei bewaffneten Kampfjets innert höchstens 15 Minuten erreicht. Der erste Schritt wurde im Jahr 2016 gemacht: Während 50 Wochen stehen die Flugzeuge an Wochentagen von 8 bis 18 Uhr bereit. 2017 wird diese Präsenz dann auf 365 Tage ausgebaut. Ab 2019 werden die Jets von 6 bis 22 Uhr bereit stehen und Ende 2020 erfolgt dann der Ausbau auf 24 Stunden während 365 Tagen.
By Seb on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 20:55Z
@Hans58 Not sure about that, some media named it calls, and some named it emergency calls. I don’t think someone would google for the local police station number in a situation like that. 250 calls in half an our is quite a lot I think, even if they were divided on several emergency lines/police stations.
(250 emergency calls would also fit perfectly to a current tendency here in germany about people who call the emergency line for negligible reasons…)
By Beobachter on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 20:46Z
@Jasper: Well, someone has to do the job, right? And fighter jets are pretty fast, if you have to catch up with a 777.
In 2005 they tried to make a law that allows the Luftwaffe to shoot down airliners if kidnapped by terrorists (9/11 scenario), but the constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht)judged it as a violation of article 1 of our constitution, because you would weigh up the lifes of the innocent people onboard the plane and the innocent people on the ground.
Because every human life is equal, you are not allowed to take the life of hundreds of innocents to safe other innocents (even if the people on the ground are thousands).
Someone who gives order to shoot down a airliner or someone who does it anyway would be accused of murder (§ 211 StGB).
In case that the 9/11 scenario becomes true, well yeah, the authorities would have to watch.
But maybe the fighter pilot would take the risk of getting jailed and shoot it down anyway. It’s a question of morality…
@ Herb & Beobachter
By Jak on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 20:25Z
So if Monaco decides to invade Switzerland during the night they may have some more holes in the Swiss cheese cause people were worried about the sonic booms :)) Thank You !
By Hans58 on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 20:15Z
Are you sure those 250 people did call the emergency number (110)?
One can call the local police office by normal landline. And if the really did call 110 along the line of the supersonic sound it’s not an issue. 110 has more than one line.
By Juergen on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 19:39Z
Do not understand the reason for the interception. There is a radio failure procedure to follow the flight plan route, enter the holding at dest and start approach at the est ldg time within 30 min.Thats it !
@ Jak re: op hours
By Herb on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 19:20Z
There are plans to have 24 hrs / 7 days a week for a couple F/A 18 to be ready for immediate take-off (withing 10-15 minutes) from the main Swiss Airforce base Payerne.
Not long ago they had such a air police flight, towards the north , around ALthenrhein and people were worried about the sonic booms.
I wish I heard them…
These loss comms occur more frequently it seems, especially with far east airlines.
"why use armed aircraft for these type of escorts"
By Dubai_Phil on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 18:41Z
Because fighter aircrafts are used for air policing. What aircraft you propose to use?
And a) you just do not know what will happen and b) you do not have the time to take ammunition out.
By (anonymous) on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 18:30Z
Sorry “who dials 7600”
By (anonymous) on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 18:28Z
Who dials 7500 while hi-jacking an AC? It’s like shouting “FIRE” during a bank robbery.
By Jasper on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 17:53Z
If shooting the airliner down would never happen, then why use armed aircraft for these type of escorts?
What do you think would happen if the airliner had ignored the instructions and turned towards a population centre? You can be sure the authorities have a plan for this eventuality, and I doubt it involves just watching.
German fighters in Switzerland
By KKN on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 16:56Z
German fighters have been in Switzerland before without large public outcry. One unfortunately never returned.
Admittedly training; but concerning serious missions, there have at least been German police forces in Switzerland, requested of course. One wouldn’t believe but nations and authorities can be pretty pragmatic.
Concerning shooting -god forbid- being non-constitutional, noble. But relies on somebody down the chain willing to break law/constitution. What’s the point showing/deploying a weapon (system) if not ready to use it in extremis. Just don’t.
Sorry for OT.
If keeping them in DE, why wait til STR. Maybe not borders - STR close & less busy than ZRH for R/T?
@ anonymous on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 16:36Z
By 727driver on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 16:43Z
After 9/11 things have obviously changed.
Do you mind to consider “someon else” dialed in 7600?
By (anonymous) on Sunday, Jul 16th 2017 16:36Z
Why should they shoot them? They squaked 7600 not 7500. Escort yes, they needed some help obviously. No need to shoot.
@Harald: German Air Force is not allowed to shoot down a passenger aircraft in any case. It would be against the constitution. So this would not be a problem here.