Event Details

Title:Tail strike during take-off, Boeing 747-412 9V-SMT, flight SQ286, Auckland International Airport 12 March 2003
Micro summary:This Boeing 747-412 experienced a tail strike on takeoff.
Event Time:2003-03-12 at 1548 NZDT
File Name:2003-03-12-NZ.pdf
Publishing Agency:Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC)
Publishing Country:New Zealand
Report number:03-003
Site of event:Auckland International Airport
Latitude/Longitude:S3700.48' E17447.5'
Departure:Auckland International Airport, Auckland, New Zealand
Destination:Changi Intenrational Airport, Singapore
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 747-412
Flight Phase:Takeoff
Operator(s):Singapore Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:On Wednesday 12 March 2003, at 1547, flight SQ286, a Boeing 747-412 registered 9V-SMT, started its take-off at Auckland International Airport for a direct 9-hour flight to Singapore. On board were 369 passengers, 17 cabin crew and 3 pilots.

When the captain rotated the aeroplane for lift-off the tail struck the runway and scraped for some 490 metres until the aeroplane became airborne. The tail strike occurred because the rotation speed was 33 knots less than the 163 knots required for the aeroplane weight. The rotation speed had been mistakenly calculated for an aeroplane weighing 100 tonnes less than the actual weight of 9V-SMT.

A take-off weight transcription error, which remained undetected, led to the miscalculation of the take-off data, which in turn resulted in a low thrust setting and excessively slow take-off reference speeds. The system defences did not ensure the errors were detected, and the aeroplane flight management system itself did not provide a final defence against mismatched information being programmed into it.

During the take-off the aeroplane moved close to the runway edge and the pilots did not respond correctly to a stall warning. Had the aeroplane moved off the runway or stalled a more serious accident could have occurred.

The aeroplane take-off performance was degraded by the inappropriately low thrust and reference speed
settings, which compromised the ability of the aeroplane to cope with an engine failure and hence compromised the safety of the aeroplane and its occupants.

Safety recommendations addressing operating procedures and training were made to the operator, and a recommendation concerning the flight management system was made to the aeroplane manufacturer.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Center of Gravity/MAC
Operations - Crew Resource Management
Operations - Tailstrike
Systems - Automation Design
Systems - INS/FMS/PMCS mis-entry
Consequence - Damage - Airframe or fuselage
Close match:Tailstrike on takeoff, Serious incident occurring on November 29, 2002 at Dortmund Airport involving a Boeing 737-800
Uncommanded rotation, Incident involving aircraft LN-RPL at Gothenburg/Landvetter Airport, O county, Sweden, on 7 December 2003
Loading error, Airbus A340-642, G-VSHY
Uncommanded pitch-up, Airbus A320-214, G-OOAR
Tail strike on rotation, Boeing 777-200B, N784UA
Uncommanded pitch-up, Fokker F27-600 Friendship, G-CHNL
Loss of Pitch Control During Takeoff, Air Midwest Flight 5481, Raytheon (Beechcraft) 1900D, N233YV, Charlotte, North Carolina, January 8, 2003
Stall on takeoff, Bombardier CL-600-2B16 (CL-604), C-FTBZ , Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, Kansas, October 10, 2000
Uncontrolled Impact With Terrain, Fine Airlines Flight 101, Douglas DC-8-61, N27UA, Miami, Florida, August 7, 1997
Loss of control on takeoff, United Airlines Flight 2885, N8053U, McDonnell Douglas DC-8-54F, Detroit, Michigan, January 11, 1983
Weight and Balance complications, McDonnell Douglas MD-83, March 7, 2000
Tail strike on takeoff, Boeing 747-128, December 28, 2001
Tail strike on landing from FMS error, McDonnell Douglas MD-11, November 11, 1998
Runway overrun, Airbus A320, Detroit, March 17, 2001
Runway overrun Onur Air, Runway overrun after rejected take-off of the Onur Air MD-88, registration TC-ONP, at Groningen Airport Eelde on 17 June 2003


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