Pilot error blamed for 2017 German Tiger attack helicopter crash in Mali – report

The Bundeswehr through its website disclosed on 12 December, that it has
submitted a report to the German parliament's defence committee concerning the crash of a Tiger combat helicopter supporting the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which resulted in the death of two German pilots on 26 July 2017.

The Bundeswehr deployed Tiger helicopters to Mali for 14 months starting in January 2017 to support the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).


"the sole direct cause … was the incorrect setting of the flight controls by the industry responsible. As a result, the so-called end stop was set incorrectly."

According to the report, the Bundeswehr disclosed that "At the time of the accident, the crew was flying at high speed at an altitude of around 500 m using the autopilot. The function of the autopilot was to compensate for the up- and downward movements of the helicopter in flight. At the time of the accident, the controls reached the wrong end stop. As a result, the autopilot mistakenly accepted the intervention of the pilot. At this point, the helicopter pitched forward.

The Bundeswehr further revealed that "The pilots must have been completely surprised by this movement. The suddenly changing air flow highly accelerated the rotor in a so-called 'wind turbine effect'. The load capacity of the dynamic components of the helicopter was exceeded and the rotorhead fell apart. All this happened within a few seconds."

Darek Liam

Darek Liam is the North African editor for AMB, where he writes about the intersection of Technology and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as African Union correspondent.

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