• Sweden's news in English

Luftwaffe fighters pursue Swedish charter plane

The Local · 25 Jul 2012, 15:14

Published: 25 Jul 2012 15:14 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“The plane had lost radio contact momentarily and the German planes were there to make sure everything was alright,” confirmed Alexander Huber, CEO of the air company Tuifly Nordic to The Local.

The plane had taken off from the Gothenburg Landvetter airport and was cruising over Bremen when it suddenly lost radio contact with air traffic contol.

“Air traffic control lost radio contact with the plane at 8:41 am, and activated a request for a sight identification of the plane," said Captain André Hesse of the Luftwaffe to The Local.

According to Hesse, two Phantom F4F jets on a training flight were ordered off their route and redirected to the plane to carry out a sight identification.

"This involves getting close enough to identify the plane – and to take a look in the cockpit to see whether anything unusual is happening. They have to come relatively close to do this," Hesse told The Local.

For several nerve-racking minutes the pilots struggled to regain contact before finally getting the radio to work again while the two fighters flew alongside the charter plane.

Hesse also told The Local that Luftwaffe planes must react within 15 minutes to any such request as part of the Nato integrated air defence system covering Europe.

“The Phantoms escorted the plane from 8:45 until 9:00, when radio contact with air traffic control was re-established,” said Hesse.

According to Alexander Huber, it isn’t that uncommon for planes to temporarily lose radio contact and he maintains that passengers were never at risk.

“It has happened before, both to us and to other companies. All countries have different routines as to how fast they deploy their air force to check out the situation. It differs from country to country,” Huber said.

Story continues below…

The jet plane, a Boeing 737-800, is currently on its way back to Gothenburg from Mallorca.

“When it arrives back to Sweden we will make a full investigation into why it lost contact with air traffic control,” Huber told The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

02:17 July 26, 2012 by Eagle63
Wow, do the Germans still use the old F4 Phantom..? That was a great plane btw....
08:01 July 26, 2012 by bsutemp112
Several air forces still do (including Greece and Turkey within NATO), though many of them, such as the Luftwaffe's, have been upgraded. I think the Germans are retiring them this year now that more Eurofighters have come into service, however.
09:10 July 26, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
'For several nreve-racking minutes the pilots struggled to regain contact before finally getting the radio to work again while the two fighters flew alongside the charter plane'.

One wonders how long the pilots had to regain radio contact before the missiles would have been launched, or would the missilies only have been launched it the plane took a collision course with a populated or military target other than an airport.

One imagines a system where commerical pilots are informed of secret set of hand signals to make from the cockpit to signal if things are okay or not okay (with many sets of signals to choose from for every flight), and that the fighter pilots could then be informed of the set of signals in use for that particular flight, in order to properly interpret the pilots hand signals.

Or if things are okay, could one of the pilots not walk back into the cabin and grab a sattellite phone to alert some central air traffic control office not to shoot them down? Some planes have satellite phones on the back of every chair, and most have with no phones, but one imagines that each plane should be equipped with at least one for emergency use.
10:17 July 26, 2012 by Prestonrobsun
Same near London yesterday. A Thomas cook plane 'lost contact' and a Typhoon was scambled. My, it was noisy!

Some threat we are not aware of?
20:10 July 26, 2012 by jack sprat
Most likely simply forgot what frequency they needed to be on, as they normally change a few times during the course of a flight.
15:21 July 27, 2012 by BillyH
Thats what happens, if you go bombing countries with teddies, we won't stand for it.
18:39 July 27, 2012 by james7
Prestonrobsun, Yes, the threat is muslims flying planes into buildings, something everyone should be aware of.
21:37 July 28, 2012 by AirForceGuy
Eagle63, that was my first reaction too. The Luftwaffe is STILL flying F-4s? I flew them last in 1981. That was 30+ years ago!
22:31 July 31, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
Lesson learned. Make sure that all electronics are properly working before take off.
15:38 August 3, 2012 by capt
Usually happens when air traffic control fails to hand-off the aircraft to the next sector as it passes out of radio range, The pilots don't realize this until the frequency has been "too quite" for a few minutes.
21:11 August 3, 2012 by sunnchilde
Fly the friendly skies...you too can almost be blown out of the sky because of an unfortunately-timed system malfunction.
00:48 August 9, 2012 by HelmiVainikka
"I think the Germans are retiring them this year now that more Eurofighters have come into service, however. "


They also had a bunch of MiG 29´s and Hinds etc. coming from the GDR reunion. The MiGs got sold off for symbolic 1 € and so did the Hind choppers I believe.
Today's headlines
Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th year.

What's on in Sweden
Five great autumn events in Sweden this week
Jazz in northern Sweden. Photo: Umeå Jazz Festival

Food, music, movies and more food. What better way of helping yourself forget that the days are getting shorter and colder?

Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available