Blue B738 at Birmingham on Jul 28th 2018, tail scrape on departure

Last Update: June 13, 2019 / 13:55:41 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 28, 2018

Classification
Incident

Airline
Blue Air

Flight number
0B-152

Aircraft Registration
YR-BMF

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-800

ICAO Type Designator
B738

A Blue Air Boeing 737-800, registration YR-BMF performing flight 0B-152 from Birmingham,EN (UK) to Bucharest Otopeni (Romania) with 190 passengers and 6 crew, departed Birmingham's runway 15 and was climbing out when the crew suspected the tail might have contacted the runway surface. Nonetheless, the crew decided to continue the flight, climbed to FL350 enroute and landed safely in Bucharest about 3 hours after departure.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Bucharest about 30 hours after landing in Bucharest. A replacement aircraft continued the schedule of the occurrence aircraft.

Romania's Boardingpass Aviation News Service reports, maintenance is going to replace the tail skid assembly after verifying a tail scrape had occurred.

On Jun 13th 2019 the UK AAIB released their bulletin reporting the crew had used the zero fuel mass instead of takeoff mass for takeoff performance computation, which resulted in V1=140 knots, Vr=140 knots, V2=143 knots being computed instead of the correct V1=152 knots, Vr=153 knots, V2=157 knots. As result the crew rotated the aircraft at 143 KIAS and attained a nose up pitch angle of 11.95 degrees with a peak pitch rate of 4.2 degrees/s until the aircraft became airborne.

The AAIB analysed:

During the pre-flight preparation, the commander read the ZFW from the load sheet to the co-pilot, instead of the TOW, and this was entered into the EFB. The takeoff performance data calculated consequently used a takeoff mass of about 12 tonnes less than the aircraft’s actual weight. This produced takeoff speeds that were more than 10 kt less than those required. Having flown the takeoff using these slower speeds the aircraft suffered a tailstrike.

It was likely that the incorrect weight was read out, and not crosschecked, as the crew tried to meet the CTOT. However, had the co-pilot crosschecked the load sheet, as required by the operator’s SOPs, it is likely this would have been noticed. Also, had each pilot done independent calculations, in accordance with the SOPs, any differing takeoff data would probably have been noticed too.

Shortly after takeoff ATC enquired if the aircraft had sustained a tailstrike; the pilots thought not, as they had no evidence to suggest it. Later, they discovered the error in the EFB and then spoke to the cabin crew member stationed at the rear of the aircraft who heard a strange noise during the takeoff. Despite noticing the EFB error and the other two anomalies from the takeoff, these facts did not cause the pilots any concern and the aircraft continued to destination, without reference to the QRH. However, the commander was likely to have realised that a tailstrike had occurred as he asked the engineers to examine the aircraft after landing.

The ‘Tail Strike’ checklist is to be completed if one is ‘suspected’. The enquiry from ATC should have been enough for the pilots to refer to the QRH and take the prescribed actions. Having disregarded this, the additional anomalies should have increased the pilots’ suspicion and given them cause to refer to the QRH. Had the QRH been actioned, the aircraft would probably have been able to return to Birmingham or diverted en route. Continuing to destination put the safety of the aircraft and its occupants at an increased risk.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 28, 2018

Classification
Incident

Airline
Blue Air

Flight number
0B-152

Aircraft Registration
YR-BMF

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-800

ICAO Type Designator
B738

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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