DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Hapag-Lloyd (HF) Flight 3378 crash-landed short of the runway at Vienna Airport (VIE) in 2000.
All 143 passengers and eight crew members escaped the stricken jet, with 26 passengers receiving minor injuries during the evacuation. Sadly the Airbus A310-300 involved (D-AHLB) was less fortunate and found to be beyond economic repair.
Flight 3378 had departed Chania (CHQ) in Greece at around 9.00 am UTC and was bound for Hannover (HAJ), Germany. In command of the jet was Captain Wolfgang Arminger, assisted by First Officer Thorsten R.
Landing Gear Problems
Seconds after taking off, the crew realised they had an issue with their landing gear. After a few attempts to fix the problem, it became clear that they could not stow the gear.
Instead of entering a hold to burn enough fuel for the A310 to be safe to land, Captain Arminger decided to continue with the gear extended. The flight would divert to Munich Airport (MUC), where passengers would continue their journey.
However, it soon became clear to the pilots that they would be unable to make it to MUC. Therefore a diversion was ordered to VIE.
At 11.01 UTC, a low fuel warning light illuminated. The First Officer urged the Captain to declare an emergency. But it took a further six minutes for this to happen, and even then, he requested no emergency services, and they would still be able to make the runway.
But it was too late. Twenty-two kilometres (20 miles) from the end of the runway, both engines flamed out.
The left-wing tip and landing gear impacted a grassy area 500m (1,600ft) short of the run. As the aircraft veered left, it ploughed through the airport’s approach lights and Instrument Landing System (ILS) antenna. It ground to a halt between two taxiways just left of the runway.
Despite initially being hailed as a hero for getting his stricken aircraft to the airport and with no fatalities, Captain Arminger was soon under investigation.
In 2004 he appeared in court and was convicted of “dangerous interference” relating to air traffic operation. Arminger was subsequently given a six-month suspended sentence.