tarzanboy
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:18 am

Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Sun Sep 21, 2003 2:29 pm

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..
 
POSITIVE RATE
Posts: 2121
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2001 11:31 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Sun Sep 21, 2003 3:40 pm

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.
 
wilcharl
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Sun Sep 21, 2003 4:43 pm

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
 
Ralgha
Posts: 1589
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 1999 6:20 pm

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:34 am

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
 
AAR90
Posts: 3140
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:42 am

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!
 
CX Flyboy
Posts: 6039
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:50 am

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!
 
Guest

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 1:35 am

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
 
ThirtyEcho
Posts: 1409
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 2:33 am

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.
 
tarzanboy
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:18 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 8:32 am

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

 
IMissPiedmont
Posts: 6200
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:29 am

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.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
 
tarzanboy
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:18 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:39 am

edwards AFB ..757?

When and what happened?
 
Beefmoney
Posts: 1065
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 2:16 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Mon Sep 22, 2003 1:16 pm

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
 
sovietjet
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:32 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 1:00 am

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.

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Photo © G.Tonelotto

 
jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 1:21 am

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.
 
Guest

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 5:02 am

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
 
ConcordeBoy
Posts: 16852
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 9:26 am

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!
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Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
CX Flyboy
Posts: 6039
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 10:42 am

You career would be finished, and that's bad enough!
 
tarzanboy
Posts: 124
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 10:58 am

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

or it all depends on the extent of the damge?
 
m717
Posts: 540
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:22 am

"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.





 
tarzanboy
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:18 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:30 am

i see wat ya mean

that's true..

because...weather amongst Pilot error, could cause tailstrikes too right?
 
AAR90
Posts: 3140
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 1:10 pm

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!
 
IMissPiedmont
Posts: 6200
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 1:12 pm

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.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
 
andrewtang
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2001 8:51 pm

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 2:12 pm

Try this  Smile/happy/getting dizzy http://www.fearlessflyers.com.au
May help you over come everything about flying.  Big grin
 
CX Flyboy
Posts: 6039
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 1999 6:10 pm

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Tue Sep 23, 2003 3:50 pm

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!
 
Airbus Lover
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:45 am

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
 
ConcordeBoy
Posts: 16852
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 8:04 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Wed Sep 24, 2003 6:04 am

Hmm... now that I think about it, wasnt the latest China Airlines crash (now, if that aint a redundant phrase  Laugh out loud) caused by fatigue due to tailstrike damage from years before??
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
SSTjumbo
Posts: 2579
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RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Wed Sep 24, 2003 7:44 am

In my short experiences, I've only worried about tailstrikes from iguanas and alligators. Those really hurt Embarrassment.
I don't know, so this is my signature.
 
Mr Spaceman
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Wed Sep 24, 2003 9:03 am

Hi guys.

> ConcordeBoy, your memory is working, however, the airline involved was Japan Airlines, not China Airlines.

The crash occured on August 12, 1985 at Mt Osutaka, near Ueno Village in Japan. The airliner was a B747-SR46 (reg-JA8119) and was Japan Airlines flight 123.

The aircraft suffered an aft pressure bulkhead failure at 23,900 feet. The aircraft had severe control difficulties with loss of all controls and eventually after 40 minutes, collided with a mountain. The cause was the improper repair of the aft pressure bulkhead by Boeing engineers after a tail strike in 1978. Some 520 out of 524 people aboard were killed.

I remember watching a TV show about this crash years ago, and if my memory serves me right, the engineers only used a single row of rivets on an area of the aft bulkhead where a double row was required.

Here's the cockpit voice recording of that crash.

http://www.planecrashinfo.com/cvr850812.htm

Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
n844aa
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:38 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Wed Sep 24, 2003 10:27 am

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 Airlines incident involved a 747 as well, just like JAL 123.

Your memory of JAL 123 is certainly correct however; that single row of rivets lasted something like seven years before finally giving way. I remember reading once that more than four passengers might have survived if there hadn't been some unseemly squabbling among the Japanese rescue crews regarding jurisdiction and such  Sad

I guess the moral of this story is that it's not the tailstrike you know about that should worry you, it's the one you don't know about.

Edit: I spoke a bit too soon. The cause of the CI incident hasn't been definitively determined yet, but that plane did suffer a severe tailstrike ... in 1979! Apparently not only was a permanent repair not done after that tailstrike, but the temporary repair was done incorrectly.

[Edited 2003-09-24 03:31:21]
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
fspilot747
Posts: 3455
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 1999 2:58 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Wed Sep 24, 2003 10:53 am

Tarzanboy: Tailstrikes are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. You should be shaking in your seat everytime you take off because you could DIE from just a little over-rotation. Death is bad, Tarzanboy...Tailstrikes are bad too. You probably should NEVER fly again because it's just too damn risky with the tailstrikes and all. Save yourself.

Oh yes, and don't forget about the little green elves that hide under your seat during take-off. They are peculiar little bastards, and they bite.

FSP

[Edited 2003-09-24 03:54:26]
 
Spitfire
Posts: 697
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 2:16 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Wed Sep 24, 2003 8:55 pm

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 and think that it is irritating....this should be a motivational and fully important topic to help and believe me, it will help you one day...

remember, flying is a learning experience, non of us are 100% professional pilots, simply because we are not perfectionists..."

Check my profile and I can assure you that in 12000 flying hours on a lot of different "big jet", plus numerous "small airplanes" I DO NEVER HAVE A TAILSTRIKE....so keep your lessons for yourself and wait till you can be a "safely retired pilot" before trying to give lessons to others. YOU have to learn that also little boy ! There are tons of other things to learn before becoming a fully professional airline pilot, keep that in mind.
Rgds
Spitfire
Sabena ... Never to be forgotten (12 years already , what a shame !! )
 
aa61hvy
Posts: 13021
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 1999 9:21 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Thu Sep 25, 2003 3:50 am

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 the angle to rotate at, then again a gust of wind may come...  Wink/being sarcastic
Go big or go home
 
bigphilnyc
Posts: 3874
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2002 10:43 pm

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Thu Sep 25, 2003 4:24 am

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.
Phil Derner Jr.
 
Mr Spaceman
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Thu Sep 25, 2003 6:28 am

Hi guys.

> N844AA, Thanks for letting me know that part of my memory is still working  Big thumbs up with regards to a missing row of rivets in the aft bulkhead of Japan Airlines flt 123 being the cause of the bulkhead's failure.

Here's a pix of a 747-230's aft pressure bulkhead. It's shaped like a cone.


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Photo © TZ Aviation



Also, you're correct. The last China Airlines crash did involve a 747-209B.

I believe this is the crash you & ConcordeBoy are talking about ...........

It happened on May 25, 2002 over the sea off of Taiwan about 20 minutes after takeoff. The 747 (flt 611 - reg B-18255), disintegrated in midair while at 35,000 ft in good weather. It broke up into 4 pieces, and all persons aboard were killed. However, as you stated, there's no mention of a previous tailstrike, atleast not in this small report.

http://www.planecrashinfo.com/2002/2002-20.htm

>ConcordeBoy, I'm sorry I assumed you had the wrong airline.  Sad The odds of two 747's crashing because of the same kind of circumstances (aft bulkhead failure) seemed pretty slim to me. My mistake.

Chris  Smile

"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Guest

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Thu Sep 25, 2003 6:54 am

Tail strikes...
xxx
From the QRH (Quick Reference Manual) for the 747... "tail strikes" on takeoff, the SOPs require (1) not to pressurize the aircraft (2) return for landing...
xxx
Good... thanks to our young friend Tarzanboy, we have discussed this matter of tailstrikes, in any form and manner possible. Surprisingly, there is a lot of archived material in past Tech.Ops, that Tarzanboy can research regarding this subject, in order for him to put his phobia to rest in peace...
xxx
Tarzanboy has asked about tail strikes damage for many separate types of aircraft, and if not tail strikes, flare attitudes, and rotation attitudes, this in direct relation to tailstrikes... The 747, the 1011, the 757, the 737... should we suggest him to ask questions about the A320, and possibly the longer model A321... I have enough of this tail strike subject for a while. There are hundred and hundred of subjects that are a pleasure to discuss, to research for all of us and to enjoy in questioning and answering...
xxx
Tarzanboy: you mentioned that you are about to start training as a student pilot, welcome in our family, it is a pleasure for us to have you here. Now start asking about basics of flying, and aeronautical knowledge. Ask us i.e. of the difference between best angle of climb and best rate of climb... To take your PPL written and oral, there will not be questions about tailstrikes. There are many here who will be able, and happy to answer your other many questions. Whenever I know the answer, I will help...
xxx
Happy contrails -  Smile
(s) Skipper
 
goboeing
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 5:31 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Thu Sep 25, 2003 7:42 am

Well said Skipper.

What you said about relevance of certain questions to initial training reminds me of myself asking my instructor questions about airliners. He might not have been able to help me, and then he would ask me something about the 172 which we were to do in that day's lesson...and I didn't know. Then I realized: you have to take it one step at a time. Force yourself to learn more about the plane you're flying initially, otherwise you will never get past it.

Nick
 
tarzanboy
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:18 am

RE: Overcoming Tailstrike Fear

Thu Sep 25, 2003 1:05 pm

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 us young ones...

i thank you guys once again, and with all that i learnt from you stallions and veterans, i am rest assured that my tailstrike phobia has ended.....

i dont want to be an enemy of anyone of this forum, i want to be your friends; i guess and i admit that i was really paranoid about Tailstrikes....

i am satisfied and comfortable now, that i am fully over this worry and i thank you guys once again for your help....

now lets put an end to this topic!!!

cheers!!
tarzanboy

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