Hawaiian A21N at Los Angeles on Aug 13th 2018, tail strike on landing

Last Update: June 4, 2021 / 10:36:51 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 13, 2018


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A321-Neo

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

A Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A321-200N, registration N204HA performing flight HA-56 (dep Aug 12th) from Kahului,HI to Los Angeles,CA (USA) with 190 passengers and 7 crew, performed an ILS approach to Los Angeles' runway 06R, the approach was stabilized. At about 1500 feet AGL the crew received a GPWS fail message, performed the ECAM actions and switched the GPWS off. The aircraft continued the landing, however bounced, upon second touch down struck its tail onto the runway surface before the pilot flying lowered the nose of the aircraft, the aircraft settled on the runway without further incident and rolled out.

The NTSB reported the aircraft sustained substantial damage, the occurrence was rated an accident. The pilot flying expected the GPWS callouts 50, 40, 30, ..., however, as they did not occur he was late in initiating the flare, touched down firmly causing the aircraft to bounce, the pitch attitude increased causing the tail to contact the runway surface, the pilot flying then provided nose down inputs and the landing continued without further incident.

The occurrence aircraft was still on the ground in Los Angeles 32 days after the accident.

On Jun 4th 2021 the NTSB released their final report concluding the probable cause of the accident was:

a tailstrike caused by inappropriate recovery technique after a bounced landing. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the radio altimeter, caused by the approach being over calm/flat water, that was not recognized by the flight crew.

The NTSB summarized the sequence of events:

The first officer (FO, 45, ATPL, 12,700 hours total, 200 hours on type) was the pilot flying and the captain (28, ATPL, 3,562 hours total, 168 hours on type) was the pilot monitoring. According to the flight crew, they received a GPWS Fail message on the electronic centralized alert monitoring (ECAM) at about 1,500 feet altitude above the ground (agl) after the airplane was established on the ILS 6R approach. The flight crew conducted the appropriate ECAM actions, which only required them to turn off the ground proximity warning system (GPWS) and continued the approach. As the airplane descended through about 50 feet agl, the FO realized the electronic automatic altitude callouts were not being provided by the airplane system but did not have time to react. The airplane touched down firmly, bounced, and the pitch attitude increased before it was arrested by the FO, resulting in the tail section contacting the runway. Post flight examination of the airplane found damage to the aft lower skin, as well as several deformed stringers, tie clips, and frames. During the approach, the crew did not receive any automated altitude callouts that are determined by the radio altimeter (RA). The crew only received the “100 above” and “minimums” callouts, both of which are based on barometric altitude.

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed with light winds at the time of the approach resulting in the airplane descending over calm water. In February 2018 (updated on August 6, 2018) the manufacturer released a Flight Operations Transmission (FOT) and an Operations Engineering Bulletin in July 2018 referencing “No RA Available During Approach Over Water”. The FOT indicated that a new RA had abnormal behavior if the airplane approach is over a flat-water area and may not be available.

Subsequent to the accident, the operator issued a Memorandum to Pilots that described the circumstances of the accident and the FOT and issued an Operations Engineering Bulletin, which detailed the required procedures if no RA is available.

KLAX 131353Z 00000KT 10SM SCT011 21/18 A2999 RMK AO2 SLP153 T02110183 $=
KLAX 131253Z 24003KT 10SM FEW014 21/18 A2998 RMK AO2 SLP150 T02060178 $=
KLAX 131153Z 31003KT 10SM SCT014 21/18 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP147 T02060178 10211 20206 53001 $=
KLAX 131053Z 00000KT 10SM FEW015 21/18 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP146 T02060178 $=
KLAX 130953Z 00000KT 10SM FEW015 21/18 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP144 T02110178 $=
KLAX 130853Z 00000KT 10SM FEW015 21/18 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP145 T02110178 51003 $=
KLAX 130753Z 00000KT 10SM CLR 21/18 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP144 T02110178 402720206 $=
Aircraft Registration Data
Registration mark
Country of Registration
United States
Date of Registration
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TCDS Ident. No.
Aircraft Model / Type
Number of Seats
ICAO Aircraft Type
Year of Manufacture
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Aircraft Address / Mode S Code (HEX)
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Engine Manufacturer
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Engine Type
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 13, 2018


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Airbus A321-Neo

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

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