United B752 at San Diego on Jul 29th 2014, tail strike on landing

Last Update: June 10, 2020 / 14:21:41 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 29, 2014

Classification
Accident

Airline
United

Flight number
UA-345

Aircraft Registration
N553UA

Aircraft Type
Boeing 757-200

ICAO Type Designator
B752

Airport ICAO Code
KSAN

A United Boeing 757-200, registration N553UA performing flight UA-345 from Houston Intercontinental,TX to San Diego,CA (USA) with 174 people on board, landed on San Diego's runway 27 at 22:47L (05:47Z Jul 30th) but struck its tail onto the runway. The aircraft rolled out without further incident.

On Mar 28th 2015 the NTSB made the occurrence known. The NTSB reported the aircraft received substantial damage to the aft pressure bulkhead when it struck its tail onto the runway while landing in San Diego. The occurrence was rated an accident, an investigation is under way.

On Jun 10th 2020 the NTSB released their final report concluding the probable cause of the accident was:

the first officer's failure to maintain the correct airspeed and pitch attitude during landing that resulted in a tailstrike.

The NTSB wrote:

According to the operator, the first officer (FO) was the pilot flying and the captain was the pilot monitoring. The accident flight was the second flight of the day for both crew members. The climb, cruise, and descent portions of the flight were uneventful. The airplane was configured for a flaps 30 landing with the autopilot off for the visual approach to runway 27. The target airspeed for the landing was 130 knots, 5 knots above VREF.

An airplane performance study was completed based on the FDR data from the flight. The study showed the wind was constant during the final descent to the runway with about a 4-knot headwind component. At about 50 feet radio altitude, the FO began to gradually pull back on the column until the elevators deflected 12 degrees airplane nose up at touchdown. Touchdown occurred with a sink rate near 0, a pitch attitude of about 6 degrees and an airspeed of 120 knots (5 knots below VREF). After touchdown, thrust was commanded to idle and the speedbrakes were deployed. The FO then began to gradually release column backpressure; however, pitch attitude continued to increase towards the gear-struts-compressed tail strike pitch attitude. The airplane's pitch attitude eventually exceeded the gear struts compressed tail strike attitude of 10.5 degrees. The FO commanded reverse thrust as the tail strike occurred and then increased to maximum reverse thrust after derotation had occurred.

Published Flight Operations Technical Bulletins issued by the manufacturer in 1988 and 1990 instructed pilots to immediately lower the nose after touchdown (i.e. apply forward pressure) and warned pilots that bleeding off airspeed below VREF prior to touchdown will increase body attitude and thereby increase the likelihood of a tail strike. In this accident, touchdown occurred about 5 knots below VREF and the nose-up elevator remained for nearly 3.5 seconds, causing the aft fuselage to contact the runway.

Inspection of the airplane revealed substantial abrasion damage to two aft, lower skin panels spanning an area about 4 feet long by 1.5 feet wide. In addition, the forward and aft lower chords on the aft pressure bulkhead (APB) were deformed and the lower APB web was buckled.



Metars:
KSAN 300851Z 34003KT 9SM FEW010 BKN250 22/19 A2996 RMK AO2 SLP144 T02220194 56011 $=
KSAN 300751Z 30004KT 9SM FEW010 BKN250 22/19 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP148 T02170194 402940217 $=
KSAN 300651Z 29003KT 9SM FEW010 BKN250 22/19 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP149 T02220189 $=
KSAN 300551Z 32005KT 9SM FEW010 SCT200 22/19 A2999 RMK AO2 SLP155 T02220194 10261 20222 50004 $=
KSAN 300451Z 30006KT 10SM FEW010 SCT210 23/19 A3000 RMK AO2 SLP157 T02280189 $=
KSAN 300351Z 28004KT 10SM FEW010 SCT210 23/19 A2999 RMK AO2 SLP155 T02280189 $=
KSAN 300251Z 30006KT 10SM FEW010 SCT250 23/19 A2998 RMK AO2 SLP151 T02330189 53005 $=
KSAN 300151Z 28006KT 10SM FEW010 BKN250 25/16 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP147 T02500161 $=
KSAN 300051Z 30007KT 10SM FEW010 BKN250 26/17 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP148 T02560167 $=
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 29, 2014

Classification
Accident

Airline
United

Flight number
UA-345

Aircraft Registration
N553UA

Aircraft Type
Boeing 757-200

ICAO Type Designator
B752

Airport ICAO Code
KSAN

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