Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 makes heavy landing in Los Angeles: video 

Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental operating a scheduled flight from Frankfurt (FRA) to Los Angeles (LAX) has become an unwitting internet sensation following footage of a heavy landing in Los Angeles being released. The video which has so far been watched over 1.6 million times (at the time of writing) was shot on April 23, 2024, as the Lufthansa aircraft completed its 11-hour flight from the German city. 

Operated by one of the carrier’s 19-strong fleet of Boeing 747-8 widebodies as Lufthansa flight LH456, the aircraft made a standard approach to runway 24R at around midday on the day of operation. However, as the aircraft crossed the runway threshold, the footage appears to show the aircraft making little attempt to arrest its rate of descent or initiate a flare by raising its nose to bleed off any excess airspeed before it touches down. 

The result is a very hard landing with huge amounts of white smoke seen billowing from all four sets of the aircraft’s main landing gear as the top layers of rubber are burnt off by the friction with the runway surface. The aircraft’s triple-slotted trailing edge flaps shudder with the impact, while the spoilers on top of the wing surface appear unsure whether to deploy or not.  

Having bounced following its first landing, the aircraft touches down a second time (veering slightly to the right side) before the nose pitches upwards, the spoilers are retracted, and the engines spool up as the crew decides to abandon the landing attempt and go around for another try. The aircraft is subsequently instructed by Los Angeles Air Traffic Control (ATC) to turn right to avoid the previous departing aircraft one mile ahead of them (an Embraer jet) which can be seen climbing straight ahead in the video.   

“LH456 Heavy” is then ordered to climb to 2,000 ft before being given further instructions to switch radio frequency to Los Angeles Departures. Having made a full right-hand circuit of the airport, the aircraft eventually made a second approach to the same runway some 16 minutes later and touched down without further incident on runway 24R at 12:21 local time. 



According to a Lufthansa statement, flight LH456 was carrying 326 passengers and 19 crew members on board during what was referred to by the airline as a training flight (where one crew member is undergoing ‘line training’ under the supervision of a training captain).  

The aircraft involved in the hard landing (registered D-ABYP and named ‘Nordrhein-Westfalen’) was delivered to the airline in June 2014 and carries 364 passengers in a four-class configuration (eight first class, 80 business class, 34 in premium economy, and 244 in economy). It also happens to be the 1,500th Boeing 747 built and carries a special sticker on its fuselage commemorating this milestone.  

EQRoy / Shutterstock

The aircraft was inspected on the ground in Los Angeles and was given the all-clear to return to Frankfurt later that day as LH457. It departed LAX at 16:06 local time and landed in Frankfurt at 11:14 the following morning. 

“Following an assessment by the cockpit crew, a consultation with the technical department on-site and in Frankfurt, and an initial visual inspection, the aircraft flew back to Frankfurt,” the Lufthansa statement added.  

Seemingly unharmed by the balked landing attempt in Los Angeles, the aircraft spent a day on the ground in Frankfurt in the company of Lufthansa engineers who later declared the aircraft fit to fly. The plane was subsequently deployed on a flight to Sao Paulo in Brazil the following day, April 25, 2024.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

AeroTime is on YouTube

Subscribe to the AeroTime Hub channel for exclusive video content.

Subscribe to AeroTime Hub