A flight from Manchester Airport almost crashed near its destination in Germany after pilots tried a new manoeuvre to make up lost time, it was claimed today.
Details of the incident were reported this week in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, which has seen air safety watchdog reports on the incident in September, near Memmingen Airport, in Bavaria.
The magazine reports the Boeing 737 almost crashed when landing when the pilots tried a different approach manoeuvre 'because of time pressure'.
Some five miles out from the airport, the pilots noticed that the plane was descending too quickly, which Der Spiegel claims was probably the result of the autopilot being wrongly set.
At one point, the plane was just 460ft (150m) above the ground while still several miles from the airport, the report said, according to the magazine.
'They barely succeeded to pull the jet up,' reported Spiegel. 'According to the flight recorder, a warning sounded in the cockpit at 16.39 and 42 seconds with the words: "Terrain, terrain. Pull up."
The investigators claimed the pilots, after getting back to a safe altitude, approached the runway from a different angle which would allow them to get to the gate quicker.
Der Spiegel claimed the pilots admitted that time pressure was the reason for the manoeuvre.
A spokesman for Ryanair said that because of high tail winds, the pilots circled the airport before attempting the approach again.
The spokesman said: 'Ryanair flight FR3214 on September 23 was on its final approach to the runway in Memmingen when they encountered unexpectedly high tail-winds.
'The crew decided to initiate a go-around procedure in-line with Ryanair operating policy.
'After they had already commenced the go-around, the aircraft warning systems sounded and the crew completed their go-around, landing normally a short time later.
'This incident was reported to the Irish Aviation Authority on September 24 and is the subject of an ongoing investigation.'