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Overcoming Tailstrike Fear  
User currently offlineTarzanboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5115 times:

friends...

over some time now (a couple of weeks) you have seen and read my numerous postings asking and inquiring about tailstrikes and flare angles....

i am 19 years....
you see, it all started about a year ago, i have started training for my ppl...
i read an article online about an aircraft that suffered a tailstrike....i was interested so i read the article to determine what caused the aircraft to suffer that strike....

since that article i read, i was always stopping whenever i am at my FBO, i will look at the commercial aircrafts (the FBO is close to the runway), especially the one where the tail is near the ground (eg. 737-800, 757-200, dash 8 -300)...and i will pause and ponder, ...i look at these same aircrafts whenever they are rotating for takeoff, and sometimes flaring for landing and the tail looks so close to the runway...it crawls my bllod somehow...i really dont know wat it is.....it makes me ask a lot of questions.....
cause i keep on imagining that i am flying that aircraft and i had a tailstrike...

it's like a fear i have....

guys, i hope i am not pestering you with my questions, please bear with me....

do u think i am the only one with this?
is this a normal thing?
how do u suggest i overcome this????

please reply friends.....

thanks a million

tarzanboy..

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 5048 times:

Lot's of times it's just an illusion. To an observer the tail might look very close to striking the ground but in reality the distance is probably pretty big. I've seen some photos like this. Also most aircraft are fitted with a tail skid so if it does strike the ground the skid will absorb the impact. Have you seen that footage of Boeing testing out the 747 where they slammed the tail into the ground and let it drag across the runway? Just rotate at the correct attitude and you should be fine.

User currently offlineWilcharl From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1166 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4992 times:

Back in the day an instructor i had took me out one day (now that i look back on this i have no opinion :-P) and he said "allright its tailstrike time" and ggroudn a little metal off the tail tie down hook

User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4852 times:

Tailstrikes are pretty common when learning soft field takeoffs in a tricycle gear.


09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3471 posts, RR: 47
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4855 times:

do u think i am the only one with this?

Nope.

is this a normal thing?

Yep.

how do u suggest i overcome this????

A little knowledge and training. Understand that airline operating manuals are quite a bit more detailed than the light civilian airplane "handbook." Included are schematics and diagrams showing exactly how a tailstrike can occur and detailed instructions and procedures to avoid one. Pilots new to the airplane will receive lots of simulator and/or aircraft training time to practice prior to flying the line. By the time you get to these birds in your career, you'll be well trained and knowledgable in basic tailstrike avoidance and that plane's particular procedures. 'aint no big thing.  Wink/being sarcastic



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6597 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4870 times:

Tailstrikes in aircraft such as the 777-300 I fly can be a problem, however if you have correctly calculated the takeoff speeds, and rotate to the correct pitch attitude (12.5 degrees) and rate (2.5 degrees/sec) at which you have been trained, then a tailstrike should not be a problem. The VR speed of our 773s is already increased by 5kts to give an extra little buffer. I was once told that a rotation at the correct speed and rate should bring the tailskid to about 6ft away from the runway surface. That's not a lot, especially when you are watching this huge plane rotate. I have not been able to verify that, but it did come from the mouth of a training captain!

User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4841 times:

I'll second what Cx flyboy said about how to avoid tail strikes. There are a series of interesting photos that were taken when Boeing was certifying the B747. It shows the airplane with a special skid attached to the tail. It was used to protect the airplane during the Vmu Minimum unstick flight tests. The picture that I remember most was the big 747 dragging its tail with sparks and smoke streaming from behind it. Pretty amazing!

When it comes to your PPL training, you will probably get to experience one or two tailstrikes first hand. Like Ralpha mentioned, it's common to get the tail a hair too low when you're learning soft field takeoffs. It's (usually) not a big deal if you happen to hit the tail and many trainers have skids installed to protect the tie-down ring and tail cone. Large transport aircraft like the 727 have skids that retract and extend with the landing gear to protect the tail. I don't think that I've ever seen a 727 skid that didn't have scrapes on it.

Bottom line is this...

It's not anything that you need to fear. It will probably happen to you at least once during your initial training. As you progress up the ranks, you will have the experience and training to be able to avoid them. After all, you don't go around flying large transport category aircraft using light single-engine aircraft soft field takeoff techniques.

Jetguy


User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1648 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4826 times:

Have I missed something in life by never having had a tailstrike? Not that I fly big iron but I have been in and out of a great many short fields in singles and twins and not burned my ass on the asphalt, or gravel, or grass once. That doesn't count my early taildragger time and, later, a Beech 18 and a DC-3.

Maybe I should go try some Vmu takeoffs in a C152 or something but it seems kinda pointless to stagger into the air with a singed butt at 35kts.


User currently offlineTarzanboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4743 times:

guys....

u have been really helpful and reassuring....

AAR90 thanks for the support man....

it means alot to me....

besides, this tailstrike phobia....it will fade away oneday/../..

thanks again....

tarzanboy



User currently offlineIMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6287 posts, RR: 33
Reply 9, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4708 times:

This is, I believe, Septemer 21, 2003. I've been at an airport almost every day since I was 15, 30 years ago, and I've never seen a tailstrike that was not intentional. That one being at Edwards AFB with the 757.

I'm thinkin' you might better be more concerned about the drive you make to flight school.



Damn, this website is getting worse daily.
User currently offlineTarzanboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4704 times:

edwards AFB ..757?

When and what happened?


User currently offlineBeefmoney From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1113 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4686 times:

Tailstrikes are nothing to have a fear about. You should see the tail tie downs on my flight schools Cessna 152s. The (previously) round tie downs are all scraped up and oval shaped now due to repeated tail strikes from students doing soft field takeoffs.

Tail strikes happen, its part of being human. And when they do occur, its usually minor cosmetic damage. Nothing to be fearful about.

And now I will go try to get myself over my own fear of elevators.  Smile


User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2604 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4603 times:
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If you are scared of a 752 or 738 tailstrike you will scream when this plane takes off. This is how low it is when it's NOT rotating. This is truly my only tailstrike fear plane.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © G.Tonelotto



User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6204 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4607 times:

It may help you get over the fear if you just say to yourself....

"You know, even if I do have a tailstrike, it probably won't hurt me".

When I was learning to fly tailwheel, my instructor told me to "try to strike the tail" when landing  Big grin



Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4568 times:

Dear Tarzanboy...
xxx
I have a solution for your fear of tailstrikes... fly a taildragger, fly a DC-3...
I have a little Super Cub I fly often for fun with my son. We get tail strikes almost every landing, except for "wheel landings"...
xxx
Tail strikes are not as frequent as "engine pod strikes" in 747s and similar airplanes with wing mounted 4 engines... I never had a tail strike ever in my career, but I once made a pod strike on a DC8-63... A friend of mine with UPS flying DC8-71/73 tells me pod strikes are 10 times as frequent than a tail strike. Here in Argentina, I mentioned this phobia of yours, as I had a beer with the director of maintenance last friday. He said that he has very few tail strikes in the fleet, but pod strikes are quite frequent with the 747s...
xxx
Put that under your hat... Tarzan...
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4497 times:

what's the worse that would [likely] happen?

Heck, they rammed this b!tch's fuselage into the ground as hard as they could, and it still flew fine!
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © French Frogs AirSlides



User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6597 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4489 times:

You career would be finished, and that's bad enough!

User currently offlineTarzanboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4472 times:

so....do all pilot get fired if they hava tailstrike???

or it all depends on the extent of the damge?


User currently offlineM717 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 608 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4468 times:

"so....do all pilot get fired if they hava tailstrike???

or it all depends on the extent of the damge?"


To say that your career would be finished because of a tailstrike is a bit of a generalization that is not necessarily true. Also, to say that all pilots would get fired if they have a tailstrike is also a generalization that is not necessarily true. There can be any number of circumstances that could lead to a tailstrike, and not all would result in an automatic firing and the end of a career. Also, one does not always result in the other. Many pilots have been fired from one job and been able to land another. Maybe not at the same level initially. But I guarantee there are pilots currently flying that have had tailstrikes (and worse). They may not be flying for a top of the line major, (then again they just might be), but they are flying.







User currently offlineTarzanboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4459 times:

i see wat ya mean

that's true..

because...weather amongst Pilot error, could cause tailstrikes too right?


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3471 posts, RR: 47
Reply 20, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4439 times:

so....do all pilot get fired if they hava tailstrike???
or it all depends on the extent of the damge?


AA has had a significant (11 I think) 737 tailstrikes since receiving the plane and an even greater number of 757 tailstrikes (been flying it a lot longer). I've never heard of any AA pilot being fired though. Many have been sent back to GSW (AA Flight Academy) for "additional" training before returning to the line. One received a couple of weeks off without pay for continuing to his destination when he knew they had hit the tail on takeoff --suffice it to say he learned his lesson.  Big grin



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineIMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6287 posts, RR: 33
Reply 21, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4445 times:

Tarzanboy, relax. All jet liners are tested for a VMU speed. Boeing has done this at Edwards for all it's big boys. This tailstrike does not harm the aircraft at all but sure does turn a large chunk of oak into ashes.


Damn, this website is getting worse daily.
User currently offlineAndrewtang From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 461 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4428 times:

Try this  Smile/happy/getting dizzy http://www.fearlessflyers.com.au
May help you over come everything about flying.  Big grin


User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6597 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4423 times:

Tarzanboy,
As far as safety goes, tailstrikes are not generally a problem. As others have said, aircraft are tested for the most extreme conditions imaginable that can be put through during the normal course of it's life. Tailstrike tests are certainly one of these.
As for being fired, I was joking a little bit, and it would depend on the circumstances. If you encountered windshear on takeoff and lost a lot of speed approaching the end of the runway, the procedure is simply to rotate within 2000ft before the end, and hope for the best. If you had a tailscrape in these conditions, it would be understandable. If on a normal day you did a bad tailscrape because you were careless, and caused substantial damage, like the SQ 744 departing Auckland, then management would have a bit more to say. It would also depend on the airline. Some are not as lenient as others. A few years ago we had a captain cut the corner on a taxiway and sink the gear into the grass. No damage was caused, but he was fired for it. Another, took a photo out of the cockpit during the climbout on his line check. He was fired too. In some airlines, it doesn't take much!


User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4337 times:

Cx flyboy,

May I ask that, the pilot that was fired for taking a shortcut on a taxiway is the captain of the A330-300 that got the gear sunk into the grass in PEN, Malaysia??? I was on that flight and he was nice!!  Sad


25 Post contains images ConcordeBoy : Hmm... now that I think about it, wasnt the latest China Airlines crash (now, if that aint a redundant phrase ) caused by fatigue due to tailstrike da
26 Post contains images SSTjumbo : In my short experiences, I've only worried about tailstrikes from iguanas and alligators. Those really hurt .
27 Post contains links and images Mr Spaceman : Hi guys. > ConcordeBoy, your memory is working, however, the airline involved was Japan Airlines, not China Airlines. The crash occured on August 12,
28 Post contains images N844AA : Actually Mr Spaceman, I believe both incidents were caused by an improperly repaired tailstrike. I need to look it up, but I believe the China Airline
29 FSPilot747 : Tarzanboy: Tailstrikes are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. You should be shaking in your seat everytime you take off because you could DIE from just a little ove
30 Spitfire : Tarzanboy, Concerning what you have written in a now closed topic: ..."with the exception of the people who do not appreciate the facts on tailstrikes
31 Post contains images AA61hvy : I was on a 777-300, the longest plane in the world (at the time I took it) and I wasn't worried about it one bit, pilots are skilled enough to know th
32 Bigphilnyc : I have video of an F14 touching down on Rwy 4 at LGA, and I swear the thing came within 5 inches of its engines striking the ground. Wild shit.
33 Post contains links and images Mr Spaceman : Hi guys. > N844AA, Thanks for letting me know that part of my memory is still working with regards to a missing row of rivets in the aft bulkhead of J
34 Post contains images B747skipper : Tail strikes... xxx From the QRH (Quick Reference Manual) for the 747... "tail strikes" on takeoff, the SOPs require (1) not to pressurize the aircraf
35 Goboeing : Well said Skipper. What you said about relevance of certain questions to initial training reminds me of myself asking my instructor questions about ai
36 Tarzanboy : b747skipper, i thank you sir... i am glad you guys..all those i forgot to mention..mr. Spitfire....fsPilot747 you all are role models and mentors for
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