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December 11, 2003

Baghdad Airbus Landed Without Hydraulics?

By Russ Niles
Newswriter, Editor

Company officials won't confirm it but, if it's true, the missile attack on a DHL Airbus last month in Baghdad is one hell of a flying story. Shortly after the incident, AVweb received word that the missile knocked out all three hydraulics systems on the A300 and the unidentified crew had to make the emergency landing using only differential thrust for directional control. DHL has steadfastly refused to confirm the story. In an e-mail to AVweb Wednesday, company spokesman Claus Korfmacher said he wouldn't comment until all the various investigations were completed. "Unfortunately, the situation hasn't changed," said Korfmacher. "Investigations are still ongoing therefore we cannot provide any additional information. This applies for our flight crew members as well." According to an Aviation Week and Space Technology story, an unnamed source said the Airbus lost hydraulics about a minute after the missile hit. The source also said the pilot of the Airbus had recently attended a seminar in which one of the speakers was retired United Air Lines Captain Al Haynes. He was the pilot who crash landed a DC-10 at Sioux City, Iowa, in 1989 on engine thrust alone after an engine failure took out his aircraft's hydraulics (see AVweb's interview with Haynes). Aviation Week quotes the Belgian Cockpit Association Secretary General Pierre Ghyoot as saying the organization is planning to give an award to the DHL pilots.

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