Aviation safety investigations & reports

Boeing B747, VH-OJE, Frankfurt Germany, 28 July 2005

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


On 5 August 2005, the Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation of Germany (BFU) notified the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) that it was investigating an air safety occurrence involving an Australian-registered and operated Boeing 747-438 (747) aircraft, registered VH-OJE, which occurred at Frankfurt, Germany on 28 July, 2005. The ATSB appointed an accredited representative to participate in the investigation into the occurrence, in accordance with clause 5.18 and clause 5.231 of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. To protect the information supplied to the BFU, the ATSB initiated an investigation under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003. The report presented below was prepared principally from information supplied to the ATSB. Reported times are referenced to Coordinated Universal Time.

Factual Information

The 747 was being operated on a scheduled passenger flight from Singapore to Frankfurt with four pilots, 14 cabin crew and 378 passengers. At the time of flight planning in Singapore, the terminal aerodrome forecast for Frankfurt indicated CAVOK2 conditions at the estimated time of arrival (ETA), and there was no requirement to plan for an alternate aerodrome. The fuel uplift at Singapore for the flight to Frankfurt was in accordance with the operators Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia-approved fuel policy. The 747 departed Singapore on 27 July at 1521. The ETA for Frankfurt was 0319 on 28 July.

The 0220 Frankfurt routine aviation weather report obtained by the crew included information that CAVOK conditions existed, with no significant changes expected. The crew of the 747 commenced descent into Frankfurt at about 0300, and the Frankfurt automatic terminal information service provided the crew with information that CAVOK conditions existed. As the 747 approached position GED, which was 35 NM from Frankfurt, the air traffic controller instructed the crew to enter a holding pattern at GED. As the 747 was in the holding pattern, radio transmissions from the crews of other aircraft alerted the crew of the 747 that the weather conditions at Frankfurt had suddenly deteriorated, and that there were thunderstorms and heavy rain showers at the aerodrome. The crew elected to divert the 747 to Munich, where it landed without further incident. A number of other international flights were similarly affected. Because of the unexpected and unscheduled diversion from Frankfurt, the reserve fuel remaining on board the 747 when it arrived at Munich was less than that required by the operators CASA approved fuel policy for the planned flight.

The BFU is the independent German government entity responsible for the investigation of accidents and incidents in Germany. The Australian Accredited Representatives role in the investigation has been to provide the BFU with information about the aircraft and its operation, crew details, and a record of discussion taken during an interview conducted with the pilot in command of the aircraft. The BFU will publish the Final Report related to the investigation of this occurrence.

1   Clause 5.18 - The State of Registry, the State of the Operator, the State of Design and the State of Manufacture shall be entitled to appoint an accredited representative to participate in the investigation. Clause 5.23 Any State which on request provides information, facilities or experts to the State conducting the investigation shall be entitled to appoint an accredited representative to participate in the investigation.

2  CAVOK Visibility 10 km or more; no cloud below 5,000 ft or below the highest minimum sector altitude, whichever is the greater, and no cumulonimbus;  no precipitation, thunderstorm, shallow fog, low drifting snow or dust devils.

General details
Date: 28 July 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0600 UTC    
Location   (show map): Frankfurt, Germany    
State: International   Occurrence type: Low fuel  
Release date: 21 October 2005   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 747  
Aircraft registration VH-OJE  
Serial number 24482  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Singapore  
Departure time 1520 UTC  
Destination Frankfurt, Germany  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command 1500 12300
Co-Pilot/1st Officer 1749.7 7585
Last update 16 February 2016