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LH A330 With Undetected Tail Strike Flew ORD-MUC  
User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1950 posts, RR: 2
Posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 17751 times:

A LH Airbus 330 took off from ORD and suffered substantial damage after a tail strike while rotating. However the tail strike was not noticed and the flight continued to MUC at FL 370.
Although the flight landed safely in MUC and there were not a single problem along the flight, I think is a little worrying that this aircraft crossed the Atlantic Ocean with a potential explosive decompression ( the pressure bulkhead was not damaged, if so, the story will be different ).

In the recent thread about the UA 739 Tail Strike at ORD the subject of tail strike warnings in the cockpit was discussed, and IIRC some aircraft models had this kind of warnings.... I guess the A330 don't.

Does anyone have some more info or pics of the damaged aircraft ?

http://www.avherald.com/h?article=45edb5ae&opt=0


Rgds.
G.


80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSemaex From Germany, joined Nov 2009, 806 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 16893 times:

I wonder how the tailstrike was unnoticed yet the news made it to the german BFU, Avherald and here too.

I'm not doubting the event at all, I would've just thought that a tailstrike would be quite noisy in the cabin making a very destiguishable sound that the FAs would have reported to the pilots who might have overheard it in such a stressful moment as Takeoff....



// You know you're an aviation enthusiast when you look at your neighbour's cars and think about fleet commonality.
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29680 posts, RR: 84
Reply 2, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 16766 times:
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Quoting Semaex (Reply 1):
I wonder how the tailstrike was unnoticed yet the news made it to the german BFU, Avherald and here too.

I would guess once the plane landed at MUC, ground crew noticed the damage at the gate.

That being said, I do agree with you that there could be such damage without anyone aboard the plane hearing or feeling anything.


User currently offlineTC957 From UK - England, joined May 2012, 699 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 16641 times:

I find this quite incredible that no crew noticed anything. Surely the higher than normal angle of take-off should have triggered an alert to experienced crew that a tailstrike at least could have happened.
And why is there no audible warning in the cockpit that alerts crew when the take-off angle becomes be so severe so as to cause a tailstrike ?


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29680 posts, RR: 84
Reply 4, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 16478 times:
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Quoting TC957 (Reply 3):
I find this quite incredible that no crew noticed anything. Surely the higher than normal angle of take-off should have triggered an alert to experienced crew that a tailstrike at least could have happened.

An AC 330-343 departing Frankfurt for Montreal in 2002 had a tail-strike that was undetected by the flight crew, but was caught by a cabin crew member. The cause was a too-low V1 speed that was not caught by either crew member:

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-re...viation/2002/a02f0069/a02f0069.asp



Quoting TC957 (Reply 3):
And why is there no audible warning in the cockpit that alerts crew when the take-off angle becomes be so severe so as to cause a tail-strike?

The A340-600 has a TAIL STRIKE ECAM warning. I don't know if this is present on the A330 family.

[Edited 2013-03-08 14:42:38]

User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9378 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 16153 times:

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):

In the recent thread about the UA 739 Tail Strike at ORD the subject of tail strike warnings in the cockpit was discussed, and IIRC some aircraft models had this kind of warnings.... I guess the A330 don't.

Usually only stretched airplanes have tail strike warning systems and tail skid. The probability of a tail strike on an A330 is low, so I guess that is why it doesn't have a tail skid or tail strike warning. The A340-600 does, and so does the 777.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9378 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 15749 times:

Quoting TC957 (Reply 3):
I find this quite incredible that no crew noticed anything. Surely the higher than normal angle of take-off should have triggered an alert to experienced crew that a tailstrike at least could have happened.
And why is there no audible warning in the cockpit that alerts crew when the take-off angle becomes be so severe so as to cause a tailstrike ?

First off, there would never be an audible warning in the cockpit for a tail strike. The FARs only allow audible warnings are only used when immediate action is required by the pilots. It is limited only to safety problems that require action of the pilots (usually within 15 seconds). You don’t want warnings going off right at rotation when crew workload is high.

Secondly, the software should make it so that a tail strike is impossible. The A330 has rotation protection that should prevent tail strikes. (this isn’t an A vs B control theory argument since the 777 has the same rotation protection software logic limits too).

A warning message alerting the crew is more likely. I don’t know the A330 system well, but in the 777 it is on EICAS. Airplanes that are prone to tail strikes typically have a tail skid which is a shock absorber (sometimes one position, sometimes deployable 2 position) to protect the airplane. On the 777, there is a tail strike detection system that detects a scrape. It prohibits the cabin from pressurizing, so the plane must do an air turn back and inspect for damage. I assume the A340-600 system is similar. However, Airbus likely decided that the possibility of a tail strike on the A330 is low since the body is short enough and the software should prevent it. However we know that even with such protections, occasionally one does happen.

As far as detecting tail strikes, they happen all the time on 737-900s. That airplane is very susceptible. There’s a two position tail skid on the 900ER with the shock absorber, but no tail strike indication. The airplane has flown many flights with the crew never knowing. If the shock absorber does its job, there is little chance of an impact great enough to do damage to the pressure vessel without the crew noticing.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7345 posts, RR: 32
Reply 7, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 15564 times:

Quoting Semaex (Reply 1):
I would've just thought that a tailstrike would be quite noisy in the cabin
Quoting Stitch (Reply 2):
I do agree with you that there could be such damage without anyone aboard the plane hearing or feeling anything.

I've seen two different types tail strike occur - both with B747 early aircraft on Guam. I was hanging out on the mid-field US Navy fire truck with some friends both times.

The first was very obvious and noticeable to the crew and the tower. The aircraft over rotated sharply and struck the ground with sparks, smoke and a visible shudder in the aircraft in bright daylight. The crew radioed the tower that something had happened, but none of their instruments and indicators a problem. The tower told them that the tail had struck, and they returned for an examination. After flying in tech types, the plane was eventually flown empty at low altitude back to Japan for repairs.

The second was almost undetectable. A seemingly normal rotation, no sparks or smoke seen. But my buddy asked the tower if he could make a runway inspection because he though the tail might have struck. He found what he though was new scrape mark on the runway. It was discussed with the tower, and the crew. Because no one could confirm the tail had actually struck the runway, the plane continued on to Haneda.

The plane was observed on taxi-in at Haneda to have very visible damage. They had to replace a substantial amount of metal, and the plane was out of service for almost three weeks for repairs and inspections.

Some tail strikes are simply undetectable in the cabin, or by outside observers, but they can still create a lot of damage.

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
I think is a little worrying that this aircraft crossed the Atlantic Ocean with a potential explosive decompression ( the pressure bulkhead was not damaged, if so, the story will be different ).

A tail strike which could damage the pressure bulkhead will be very noticable to everyone on the aircraft, especially the flight crew. It takes several Gs of impact force to damage those bulkheads.


User currently offlineBEG2IAH From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 892 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 12421 times:
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Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 7):
Some tail strikes are simply undetectable in the cabin, or by outside observers, but they can still create a lot of damage.

Thanks for this great post.



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User currently offlineCamiloA380 From Sweden, joined Feb 2008, 486 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10909 times:

Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
In the recent thread about the UA 739 Tail Strike at ORD the subject of tail strike warnings in the cockpit was discussed, and IIRC some aircraft models had this kind of warnings.... I guess the A330 don't.

IIRC, the PLI (Pitch Limit Indicator) which was firstly introduced in the A346 for obvious reasons, is also available in the A330.

It's basically a V in your attitude indicator that activates at 400ftRA. Exceed that limit below 14ftRA you get an aural warning "Pitch, Pitch"

Again, this is from memory. 



Flying4Ever!
User currently offlineApprentice From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10553 times:

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 6):

12 years ago, in my initial training in Germany, I was told that there is not Tail Strike msg nor tail skid on A330 since a TS was imposible due to envelope protections, since I'm a believer, I didn't expect one in my walk-arounds, till today.
It's unbelivable that FAs seated for TO in doors 4 RH & 4 LH did not feel the noise and scratch vib associated.
Since there is not tail skid, at least some skin area should be damaged. No much damage tolerance in the skin.



A "NO" is a positive answer. My Tutor
User currently offline71Zulu From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3049 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 9320 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 7):
A tail strike which could damage the pressure bulkhead will be very noticable to everyone on the aircraft, especially the flight crew. It takes several Gs of impact force to damage those bulkheads.

Well the cockpit crew missed this one. Even after being notified of a possible strike by the cabin crew, they continued the flight with a damaged aft rear bulkhead. AA B738.

http://avherald.com/h?article=43cbc4f9&opt=0



The good old days: Delta L-1011s at MSY
User currently offlineSemaex From Germany, joined Nov 2009, 806 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 7975 times:

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 6):
However, Airbus likely decided that the possibility of a tail strike on the A330 is low since the body is short enough and the software should prevent it. However we know that even with such protections, occasionally one does happen.

Typical example of a Confirmation Bias. "Hey this plane cannot do a tailstrike because the envelope protects it. It is so good, it doesn't even need a Tailstrike warning." Should be brought up in the next ICAO Annex 8 meeting...



// You know you're an aviation enthusiast when you look at your neighbour's cars and think about fleet commonality.
User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1950 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5581 times:

Quoting 71Zulu (Reply 11):
they continued the flight with a damaged aft rear bulkhead. AA B738.

And they were flying Los Angeles - Toronto... a long flight of 4+ hours, with the aft pressure bulkhead damaged....the cockpit crew that ignored the warnings from the cabin crew members should be punished, they put in danger their aircraft and everybody on board.... Does anyone know if this crew was sanctioned ??

Rgds.
G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1950 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 4192 times:

The AvH report was updated today, adding the word "structural" between substantial / damage. This makes the issue of how this was not detected by the cabin crew in the aft section more puzzling, since this basically eliminates the chance of the strike being "just a few sparks upon rotation"... I guess you need a hard hit with some G forces to cause what is now described as "substantial structural damage"...

Rgds.
G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently offlineCoachClass From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 418 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 3984 times:

Quoting Apprentice (Reply 10):
It's unbelivable that FAs seated for TO in doors 4 RH & 4 LH did not feel the noise and scratch vib associated.

Is it possible that the "culture" of LH is such that you don't challenge the captain or call attention to his short comings? I understand that at some Asian airlines this is a major problem, even for the co-pilot.


User currently offlinewilco737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8900 posts, RR: 76
Reply 16, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 3967 times:
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Quoting CoachClass (Reply 15):
Is it possible that the "culture" of LH is such that you don't challenge the captain or call attention to his short comings? I understand that at some Asian airlines this is a major problem, even for the co-pilot.

Oh no, far from that. At LH ALL F/A's are instructed to report everything to the cockpit, no matter how small and unimportant it may sound.

And I made the experiance on most flights that they call for minor things and let us know and never heard one say after the flight: "I wanted to call you, but thought it wasn't important."

The atmosphere between cockpit crew and cabin crew is very relaxed (not too relaxed of course), but the youngest F/A can easily tell the captain that something smells or looks weird in the cabin and nobody will be mad at her if it is nothing.

wilco737
  



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently onlineCCA From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2002, 797 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (1 year 1 month 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3404 times:

Just to let you know Boeing is removing the tail skid and all associated components from the 77W as of yesterday.

Line number 1166 will be the first to roll out without it.

The A/C will get an enhanced tail strike protection system encorporated into the primary flight control computers which negates the current mechanical tail skid.

Current 77Ws can be modded to remove the tail skid to save weight.

[Edited 2013-03-12 07:00:06]


C152 G115 TB10 CAP10 SR-22 Be76 PA-34 NDN-1T C500 A330-300 A340-300 -600 B747-200F -200SF -400 -400F -400BCF -400ERF -8F
User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1950 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 month 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3249 times:

Quoting CCA (Reply 17):
Just to let you know Boeing is removing the tail skid and all associated components from the 77W as of yesterday.

Line number 1166 will be the first to roll out without it.

The A/C will get an enhanced tail strike protection system encorporated into the primary flight control computers which negates the current mechanical tail skid.

Current 77Ws can be modded to remove the tail skid to save weight.

Interesting news.... although a little tinted with overconfidence in the software.... I mean, yes, the computer glitch events are extremely rare, but not unheard of...

BTW, how much weight are they reducing after the tail skid and associated components removal ? I doubt it will be more than a 200 pounds ?

Thanks ....

Rgds.
G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently onlineCCA From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2002, 797 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (1 year 1 month 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2775 times:

320lbs saving, so not a small amount by any means, especially for 100,000 plus hours of flying.


C152 G115 TB10 CAP10 SR-22 Be76 PA-34 NDN-1T C500 A330-300 A340-300 -600 B747-200F -200SF -400 -400F -400BCF -400ERF -8F
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