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747 Tail Strike  
User currently offlineMlsrar From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1417 posts, RR: 8
Posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7205 times:

Knowing some of the history behind the JAL 74D destruction, caused indirectly by a tail-strike, is the 747 more prone to strikes than other types? Which type is the most likely with the advent of the 764 and 753?

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12 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7179 times:

The 747 is not more or less prone to tail strikes than any other aircraft... sorry I do not fly these modern aircraft 757 or 767... to compare...
I flew the 727, was well protected by a retractable tailskid... flew the 707, the early ones had a ventral fin (with JT4 engines) but later models 321B/C deleted that fin... never heard much of tail strikes in 707s...
The DC8-61/63 (and 71/73) hit the tail at "9 degrees" rotation, probably was the most critical - but was well protected too by a tail skid...
There are other 747 that had tail strikes... apparently the JAL was the only one improperly repaired... - Since that accident, we have in our 747 check list "NOT TO PRESSURIZE" the aircraft in case of tail strike, and come back for landing... obvious reasons...
Some of our friends here familiar with these new models will let us know... for me I would say the long DC8s probably had many tail strikes, few had damage...
Happy contrails  Wink/being sarcastic
(s) Skipper

User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days ago) and read 7171 times:

I would imagine that the jets with engines aft would be a little more prone, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE DESIGNED TO RESIST SUCH A HAPPENING... especially the 727, but that's just my educated guess. I know all the avionics and fuel storage fore helps a lot, but still. I guess that's why the bars are used so much to keep the tail propped up during unloading (if it's a cargo jet).

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User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days ago) and read 7170 times:

I have seen a few 747F "taildraggers" in my life, aircraft falling on their tail during loading and unloading of cargo... even though they are supposed to locate a tail stand... do they forget it... I DONT KNOW...
All cargo airplanes have a habit of... being taildraggers...  Wink/being sarcastic
When I flew the 727 (all in the tail)... did not notice any problem of tail heavy, the "aerodynamic" CG remains same in all these planes... engines in the tail or under the wings... So people say 727 (or DC9) are "tail heavy" - it is just "by the looks", since all is in "the rear"....
The 747 is a "tail heavy aircraft" even if it does not "look as one"... the airplanes that are 100 pax aircraft converted to cargo (the "100SF") require 5,000 kg center wing tank fuel (10,000 lbs) as BALLAST, because the nose is "too light" when the aircraft is empty... If you have only 2 or 3 pallets, you put them forward... because that aircraft is tail heavy...
(s) Skipper

User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days ago) and read 7151 times:

The 767-300 is prone to tailstrike on takeoff and landing. Takeoff tailstrikes often occur with the main gear off the ground! The B767-300, B757-300, Boeing 737-400/800/900, B727 and Concorde, to name a few, all have tailskids to prevent actual fuselage contact. Many Boeing jets that have a tendancy to pitch up with spoiler deployment are prone to tailstrike on landing.

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Almost all aircraft have some risk of a tailstrike, caused by handling, weather or design.

User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 7084 times:

Here's proof of the 767-300 clearance that I just found in the database:

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User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 587 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7049 times:


As regards the B747, the vast majority of tail strikes that have occurred have been on take-off, and not on landing, and most were caused by poor pilot technique.

The biggest single cause has been starting the rotation manoeuvre too early, generally because either the "V1" call was misheard as the "Rotate" call, or the "Rotate" call was made at the wrong speed.

In both these cases, the HP failed to verify their airspeed themselves, on their own ASI, and relied on the calls from the NHP, a major error. The NHP calls are a back up to the HP, not a prime source of information.

The second main cause, on reaching the correct rotation airspeed, has been an over-rapid rotation. High rates of rotation, well in excess of the Boeing recommended figures, can also cause tail strikes on take-off.

The immediate actions are the same. Do not pressurise the aircraft, land at the nearest suitable airport, and have the damage inspected by ground engineers.


Concorde has a tail wheel, and not a tail skid.



User currently offlineBroke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1325 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7037 times:

The airplane that I have seen that is more prone than others for tail strikes is the L-1011. There is a tendency to over rotate the airplane on short final. A worse case that I have seen is having the tail skid wiped out, the skin abraded through to the internal structure, the APU exhaust tail pipe damaged, all drain masts wiped out and the rear pressure bulkhead dented and torn.
In the opposite direction, if you have a heavy landing with a 757 causing the airplane to rebound and then come down nose gear first; you are likely to have heavy damage to the aft bulkhead in the nose wheel well where the gear drag strut attaches and heavy damage to the skin panels on either side of the nose wheel well. The damage can range from bulges to tears in the bulkhead and stretched or torn skin on either side of the wheel well. The skins on the 757 are chemically milled skins with thicker sections in of higher stress and thinner sections in less loaded areas. Changing these skins (which is usually what is required) can cost $500,000 to $1,000,000! The bulkhead is often repairable.

User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7006 times:


One L10 that I noticed even had a tailstrike on takeoff, a -500 model, would you believe. And yes, the pilot had lots of L10 experience...but was an idiot nonetheless. Not a very proficient operator.

New younger guys just don't seem to look at the ASI when they are the PF, in the sim have had the Captain (NFP) call rotate early, and they often seemed quite happy to point the nose rapidly skyward.

NOT good.

User currently offlineBragi From Iceland, joined May 2001, 218 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 6989 times:

I was once in a B-757 that had a tailstrike, so we had to return to the airport. Thanks to the tailskid there were no damage to the tail section, but it was of course examined carefully before we took off again.

Airplanes that are extremely long, for example the super DC-8 or the lengthened CL-44 (and many others) are more prone to tailstrikes.

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User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6940 times:

Tail strikes -
Airlines that are "prone" to tail strikes with a (747) type aircraft will do this -
Company policy - takeoff flaps 747 - from now on ALL takeoffs pilots shall use flaps 20 rather than flaps 10... (bla bla) unless limited by climb limit weight - second segment (bla bla) -
The use of flaps 20 reduces the rotation by 2 degrees at light weights and 1 degree at higher weights for the 747... most airplanes have a choice, of flaps settings for takeoff... "more flaps" reduces "rotation angle"...
(s) Skipper  Smile

User currently offlineWilcharl From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1183 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 6811 times:

when i think of overrotation and a tail strike the MD-11 comes to mind

User currently offlineJETPILOT From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3130 posts, RR: 27
Reply 12, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 6786 times:

I flew the DC8 stretch 61, and it the TO limitation as far as rotation rate was no more than 2 degrees per second until 5 degrees nose up attitude then positive rate was to be established before further rotation to establish V2 +10.

The 727-200 profile is a rotation to 7 degrees nose up. After postive rate is established further rotation to V2+10 was allowed. Approx body angle of 10-12 degrees nose up.

If you fly the TO profile per the AOM then you have no worries for a tail strike.

So the truth is no one aircraft is more prone than another.


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