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Airbus A319 loses almost all flight instruments during St. Elmo’s fire encounter over Germany
6 September 2014
File photo of the incident aircraft, A319, D-AGWK in October 2013 (photo: H.Ranter/ASN)

File photo of the incident aircraft, A319, D-AGWK in October 2013 (photo: H.Ranter/ASN)

An Airbus A319 passenger plane lost almost all flight instruments during a St. Elmo’s fire encounter in clouds over Germany. 

On April 8, 2014, Germanwings flight 4U384 departed Köln/Bonn-Konrad Adenauer Airport (CGN/EDDK) on a night time flight to Nador-Taouima Airport (NDR/GMFN), Morocco.

The Airbus A319, D-AGWK, was climbing through FL180, in clouds, when the crew observed St. Elmo’s fire. The phenomenon grew in intensity.

When climbing through FL220 a short, bright light was noted on the windshield. At the same time almost all instruments failed. The autopilot and auto throttle control also switched off. Just the artificial horizon was still available. After about 45-60 seconds, the instruments became available again.

Overhead Malmedy, Belgium, the crew decided to return to the departure airport, were a safe landing was made.

The German accident investigation board BFU is conducting an investigation.

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