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Report: Touchdown with higher than idle thrust causes Boeing 737-800 bounce and tailstrike at London-Stansted
11 December 2014
File photo of a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 (photo: ASN)

File photo of a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 (photo: ASN)

The U.K. AAIB released a correspondance investigation report on a Boeing 737-800 tailstrike accident at London-Stansted, UK.

On July 29, 2014 the Boeing 737-8AS, operating flight FR2369 from Ostrava, Czech Republic to London-Stansted, UK, sustained damage in a tailstrike on landing on runway 04. There were no injuries among the 171 passengers and six crew members.

The pilots report that they flew an ILS approach for a Flaps 30 landing on runway 04 at Stansted Airport. At 500 feet, with the aircraft stabilised on the approach, the co-pilot, who was pilot flying, disconnected the autopilot and then the autothrottle and continued flying manually to land.
The wind in the final 200 feet before landing varied slightly from the ATC reported wind of 330° at 7 kt and the co-pilot was applying left aileron, into wind, which resulted in a touchdown on the left main landing gear first. The aircraft then bounced 5 feet back into the air. The thrust levers were retarded and reached idle approximately 2 seconds after the initial touchdown and the speed brakes were deployed.

Then there was a second much firmer touchdown, during which the aircraft had a high-nose attitude. This landing occurred at a deceleration of 2.07g and the pitch reached a peak of 8.9° nose up.
The landing rollout was normal. After shutdown, the cabin crew commented that the second landing was hard, so the captain conducted a visual inspection of the aircraft and found damage to the lower rear fuselage.
The visible damage consisted of a large scrape along the skin of the tail section of the aircraft; numerous stringers and frames beneath the surface were also damaged, requiring a substantial repair before the aircraft was returned to service on August 17, 2014.

The captain considered that the aircraft bounced because the first touchdown occurred with higher than idle thrust. When the thrust lever was selected to idle during the bounce, the speedbrakes deployed automatically; this caused a loss of lift, the nose of the aircraft to pitch up, and the subsequent tailstrike on touchdown.


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