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Ask the Captain: Is scraping the tail while landing a big deal?

Soumis
 
Question: I was riding as a passenger on a 737-900ER, according to the safety card, and when we landed, we did a small bounce and had to get airborne again. On our second landing attempt, we apparently struck the tail. How bad is this? The crew member said that this airplane is too long and is prone to experience this. Why is it designed this way? (www.usatoday.com) Plus d'info...

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dtw757
mike SUT 6
Here's my 2 takes....tail strike usually occurs in the region if not near but can be right on the point where the pressure bulkhead is. JAL back in 1989 lost it's vertical stabilizer due to a poor repair on the pressure bulkhead following a tailstrike (747). The AA A300 that crashed shortly after 9/11 in New York had had previous damage done to it aft end from a tail strike earlier in it's career. While that accident was finally blamed on the FO and improper wake turbulence recovery procedures in the final NTSB report. Secondly, it is most commonly done due to too fast of a rotation during takeoff, or getting too slow on landing and trying to "finesse" the plane onto the ground. Both of these are "bad" because the it's poor pilot technique. Scrape paint, buckles metal, stress cracks aluminum..trip to Chief Pilots Office for a rug dance..... but even given all this, the 900ER has a tail skid protection device which usually just means replacing the skid without the ensuing damage to the body or internals of the aircraft. You still get to go see the Chief Pilot though :-)
jmilleratp
jmilleratp 1
Here's my take: I'd try to avoid it. :-)
96flstc
96flstc 5
to the folks who have to repair the damage its a big deal!
linbb
linbb 2
Seven figures easily but it will buff right out.
jmilleratp
jmilleratp 1
Ops check good. :-)
num1tailhooker
Lucio DiLoreto 3
China Airlines Flight 611, a 747-200B, broke up over the Taiwan Strait mid-flight on May 25, 2002, en route to Hong Kong International Airport from Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan 20 minutes after take off. All 225 occupants on board died. Metal fatigue at the site of a previous repair was cited as a cause. The repair was necessitated by a tail strike on landing years earlier. Striking the tail is not routine, is not good airmanship and will damage the airplane every time. Anyone who tries to mitigate the seriousness of a tail strike on landing is an buffoon.

[This poster has been suspended.]

ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 3
I think there is a little bit of a difference between dragging your tail on a ramp and slamming it into the ground on take off or landing, especially in a larger, pressurized aircraft, although, I would be concerned about any tail strike during take off/landing in any aircraft, be it a B-52 or a little bug smasher.

[This poster has been suspended.]

ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 4
I am very glad to read that you welcome all manner of opinions. From some of your previous posts, I had the (possibly mistaken) impression that you biased against certain people expressing their view points.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
When you reach our maker, ask the captain of Japan Airlines Flight 123 - I think he will say it was a VERY BIG DEAL!
linbb
linbb 1
Sounds like a cabin attendant as the pilots were probably still writing reports in the cockpit. Soon to be before the man and take whatever is dished out to them.
achutchison
Aww geez... the 900 strikes again. LITERALLY
bbabis
bbabis 1
Tail strikes came into vogue upon the advent of the tricycle gear configuration. Nose gears solved some problems but created others, unwanted tail strikes being one of them. Many smaller aircraft have tail skids often cleverly disguised as mooring/tiedown rings. If you walk a GA ramp sometime you'll see some are pretty flat on the bottom. Its very poor technique but not uncommon to touch the tail. It generally happens as a pilot inadvertently or purposely explores around the edges of an aircrafts flight envelope while close to the runway. Airline pilots are not exempt.
chalet
chalet 1
No matter how you slice it tail scrapping is a pilot´s error specially in small single or twin engine aircraft, ditto airliners from AB 319/737 to long fuselage such as the AB 340-600, 777, etc. The only justification is if unexpected strong downdrafts are encountered prior to landing. A number of tail strikes have occured to long fuselage airliners on take off when the wrong weight (less than actual) was entered and less than MTO power applied.

[This poster has been suspended.]

ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 2
Yes, anyone can express an opinion on this site, including you.

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