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American Airlines Two Planes Grounded After Tail Strikes

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American Airlines Two Planes Grounded After Tail Strikes

Old 26th Jan 2011, 22:40
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Rumor is the total damages (not including loss of revenue from being OTS) will come to $5 million USD.
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Old 26th Jan 2011, 23:02
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Over rotating on take off is poor pilot technique
Over rotating is not the problem. Rotating at too slow an airspeed is the culprit & there is not much margin on a long body aircraft. Most airline jets are normally rotated to 15+ degrees & most would drag ass if still on the ground at that attitude. The rotation speed is set high enough & rotation rate slow enough that liftoff will occur at <10 degrees & the a/c will climb sufficiantly for the tail to clear the ground at 15 degrees. But there's not much margin for error because the manufacturer wants the slowest Vr possible for the best runway performance. A rotation 5-7 knots slow may be all it takes.
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Old 26th Jan 2011, 23:27
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it is possible, though quite rare, that if improperly loaded a normal rotation can suddenly turn quite bad ending in a tail strike. I am not suggesting that these two events in the thread are that situation.

for anyone who has not seen a ''tail strike'' may I suggest the following movie? "thirty seconds over tokyo" has a tail strike in it. Done intentionally in the first 30 minutes or so, it is also the source of the name of the author of the book of the same name. "The Ruptured Duck".

Except for the mushy parts, its a great movie.
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Old 27th Jan 2011, 02:23
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Boeing article on tail strikes

Tail Strike Avoidance
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 02:20
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"Stepwilk: Since I have never flown aircraft long and powerful enough to whack their tails, can somebody explain to me what causes tailstrikes?"

Actually, if you are around small tricycle planes, especially those used for training or rental, take a look at their tail tiedowns. You will note that a lot of these have flattened bottoms, the result of inadvertently becoming tailskids multiple times through tailstrike incidents. In training they most commonly happen when practicing low-speed liftoffs into ground-effect (short or soft-field techniques).

So length and power don't necessarily have a lot to do with it. It is a question of either poor control technique, or correct technique applied at too low a speed.

Put simply, if the aircraft will suffer a tailstrike at, say, 12 degrees, then the rotation (even if perfectly executed) had better not take place until the speed (and thus lift) is sufficient to lift off at a lower angle of attack (say, 8 degrees).

While small planes usually rotate and lift off at "oh, about 65 knots," a specific Vr is calculated for every heavy-aircraft flight based on weight, air temp, etc. Either a poor calculation of Vr, or an error in setting that Vr on the airspeed gauge, may lead the pilot to rotate at too low a speed. Flying by the numbers only works if the numbers are right.
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 18:08
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Good article by Boeing.
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Old 29th Jan 2011, 15:48
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One has to question the effectiveness of AA's FOQA and ASAP programs.
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Old 30th Jan 2011, 00:50
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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I think any pilot hired by AA would know how to properly land an airplane before being hired. AA shouldn't have to train their pilots to land. Maybe the management pilots need to stay current and not just fly once a month. If they only fly once a month maybe they should watch a video of how to rotate on take off and land an airplane. Look at management pilots versus line pilots incidents and you will see what I am saying.
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Old 30th Jan 2011, 00:57
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there is some wisdom in what bubbers 44 has to say. but not just management pilots...any decent pilot who hasn't flown in awhile (you fill in the blank here) needs to get back in the swing of things.

we've done automation to death...couple the lack of handflying with reliance upon automation and only flying once a month and you have problems headed your way.

the solution is simply this...management pilots should not be on any type of long haul flying...short legs with lots of takeoffs and landings will help keep them current. You don't need to practice sitting in cruise for 4 hours or so...that should come naturally.
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Old 30th Jan 2011, 01:27
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The problem with the short flights is management doesn't want to do them. They want to do two legs a month to somewhere easy. That is how it has always worked in my company. The Hawaii flight was easy so made him current for the month. He just forgot how to rotate properly because he spent the last month in his office. How many of us have scraped their tails? None for me in 23,000 hrs. I am sure for you watching too.
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Old 30th Jan 2011, 01:44
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7sr, I agree with what you say about management pilots flying short legs but they won't do it. They just want to fill the square as qualified pilot so make it as easy on themselves as they can. The ORD chief that overran Little Rock Airport is an exception.. He was doing the tough trips.
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Old 30th Jan 2011, 03:18
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all the recent Bravo Sierra about min fuel, management pilots not doing short legs with more landings, and other things could be fixed by the simple expedient:

the FAA changes the fuel reserves to 75 minutes instead of 45 minutes (plus the other stuff) and make it 6 landings in 90 days instead of 3.

oh well.
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Old 31st Jan 2011, 23:31
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I was on the AA 757 LAX HNL in First Class. The rotation did seem slower and steeper then normal up front. The F/A's in the back knew something had hit as everyone aft of the wings according to them could hear it. The Captain said little except we are returning to LAX. We landed 25R full fire rescue and taxied into the gate. The Captain said "we probably will be departing soon so everyone stay seated with this minor delay" I was laughing so hard. I told the guy next to me we are OTS no question. 5 minutes later a MX supervisor came on told the CS lady the plane has a big hole in it.
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Old 1st Feb 2011, 12:49
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The fire/rescue was required because they were landing over max landing weight because the 757 has no fuel dump capability. If the captain thought initially they would be able to leave again shortly he had no knowledge of the damage done.
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Old 1st Feb 2011, 17:00
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Originally Posted by bearfoil
So, "flair" is the culprit. Hunting (waiting) for liftoff after initiation (rotation) or T/D (landing) is not a stabilized approach. Rather simple. Is that it? Poor speed control?
Getting a tail strike on takeoff happens when one of two situations exist – 1) rotation is begun at an airspeed well below the proper rotation speed (which could happen with a pilot simply misreading the airspeed indication; if a gross weight calculation error is made; or an aircraft configuration error is made); or 2) rotation is initiated at a rate that is well in excess of the desired rate – which, in most cases, should be between 1.5 and 3.0 degrees per second.

It may be parochial, but I’ve always heard, and used, the term “flair” in connection with landing – i.e., the adjustment of the attitude of the airplane to decrease the rate of descent in preparation for landing. A tail strike may well be a result of a non-stabilized approach, but it is by no means the only reason for getting the tail on the concrete. More often than not, a tail strike on landing is due to a continuation of the rotation, beyond – and some cases well beyond – the level flight attitude. This normally comes from the fact that in order to achieve a level flight attitude (the attitude in which touchdown should occur – and please note … a level flight attitude for the aircraft gross weight and configuration is not necessarily a longitudinally level fuselage) there must be a control column movement aft to raise the nose. However, once the level flight attitude is achieved, any further aft column movement should be ONLY to maintain THAT established level flight attitude as the airspeed decreases (which will occur more rapidly with power reduction). Often the pilot will have more airspeed than necessary or decide to delay power reduction – and is of the belief that a continued aft movement of the controls is necessary … when it is not. In such cases, the airplane will continue to rotate nose-up until either the tail strikes the runway surface while still airborne, or the attitude achieved is so great that when the main gear tires contact the runway, the attitude is above that which will allow tail contact either with the main gear struts fully extended or fully compressed. If the airplane is landed in the attitude that would provide level flight (if sufficient power was used to maintain the airspeed achieved at the end of the flair) additional back pressure on the control column will be required (without raising the nose) to keep the attitude achieved at that point (i.e., level flight attitude) and the power reduction to idle will allow the airplane to land, somewhat firmly, but certainly not unsatisfactorily so, and with ample clearance to avoid a tail strike. Such an attitude also requires less time to fly the nose onto the runway, getting the airplane into a 3-point ground contact attitude sooner to better ensure directional control if/when required.

And for those who have discussed landing on an up-slope or down-slope runway – the “level” flight attitude should be the attitude that would allow constant airspeed flight parallel to the runway surface (very slightly climbing with up-slopes and very slightly descending with down-slopes).

If the flair is begun – taking less than 3 seconds to achieve the desired flight attitude – at an altitude that will put the main gear between 3 and 5 feet above the runway surface when reaching the landing attitude (level flight attitude) – if the power reduction to idle is begun on the initiation of the flare or, at the latest, upon achieving the landing attitude, the airspeed will decay rather rapidly – and will require additional backpressure on the control column – again, NOT to raise the nose, but to achieve and MAINTAIN level flight attitude. Touchdown will occur no later than 3 seconds after achieving this attitude. If the airplane is still in the air after 3 seconds in the flaired attitude, serious consideration should be given to executing a go-around.
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Old 1st Feb 2011, 18:17
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Tail strike

Most management pilots get a promotion after a tail strike-DOH!!
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 02:14
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OldrnU2 :
Most management pilots get a promotion after a tail strike-DOH!!
The pilot in the discussion here happens to be a "Director of Flight". At AMR, managers of grades Managing Directors and beyond each April get a ca$h $tock payout (depending on AMR stock "performance") of some really HEFTY payments. They can (and most of them have) cash out immediately. A buddy of mine, a managing director got $900,000 CASH the first year of the payouts several years ago.!!!!
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 16:26
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757-300 tail clearance on take off is just 26 in (66 cm).......
Thanks God, I am just -200 driver!
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Old 3rd Feb 2011, 06:54
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Tail clearance is really not an issue on the 753 however as the take off and landing speeds are much higher to compensate.


I have never seen it remotely close as it seems to lift off and land in a significantly lower attitude.


Incidentally, the 753 is a much nicer flying Aircraft than the -200. No dead spot in pitch on rotation or landing and more responsive in roll.


It may not be a rocket ship but it is a delight to handle
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Old 3rd Feb 2011, 07:29
  #60 (permalink)  
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just 26 in
Methinks you have been spoilt. That is a barn door!
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