Accident Airbus A321-231 G-EUXF, Sunday 19 July 2015
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Date:Sunday 19 July 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic A321 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Airbus A321-231
Owner/operator:British Airways
Registration: G-EUXF
MSN: 2324
Year of manufacture:2004
Engine model:IAE V2533-A5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 207
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Location:Glasgow International Airport (GLA) -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL)
Destination airport:Glasgow International Airport (GLA/EGPF)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
British Airways flight 1498 from London-Heathrow was involved in a tailstrike accident upon landing at Glasgow Airport, U.K.
There were no injuries. The underside of the aft fuselage and drain mast were damaged.
The co-pilot was the Pilot Flying for the flight to Glasgow. The en route of the flight was uneventful. The pilots reported that the approach briefing was carried out before the top of descent and that it included a review of the greater potential for a tailstrike on the A321. The descent and approach for runway 23 also proceeded uneventfully, with the aircraft being vectored for a CAT 1 ILS approach in visual flight conditions. At 1,000 ft aal the aircraft was fully configured for landing, stable, with flap full and the autopilot engaged. The VLS (lowest selectable speed), based on the weight data for the aircraft, was 140 kt and the corresponding VAPP (approach speed) was 145 kt.
The co-pilot took control, disconnected the autopilot and flew the final approach manually with the autothrust engaged. At 50 ft agl the flare was initiated, using a progressive aft sidestick input, and at 25 ft agl the thrust levers were closed. Sensing that the pitch attitude had not increased enough and that the flare was a bit "flat", the co-pilot continued to pull further back on the sidestick.
After touchdown the operator's SOP requires the commander, as the Pilot Monitoring, to select reverse thrust. He reported that, on touchdown, he looked down to locate the thrust levers, prior to making the selection, and this may have diverted his attention from monitoring the landing attitude.
The recorded data showed an initial touchdown at 138 kt, with a pitch attitude of 7.4° and a normal acceleration of 1.5 g; the ground spoilers deployed. The aft sidestick input was reduced but a net nose-up pitch command was maintained. The aircraft lifted off the ground for a short time before making a second touchdown, recorded at a pitch attitude of 9.5° and normal acceleration of 1.7g. The operator's SOP requires the PM to announce 'pitch' if the nose-up pitch attitude exceeds 7.5°. At some stage the commander said 'ok push the nose down' but it was too late to prevent the tailstrike. Reverse thrust was selected 4 seconds after the second touchdown.
The co-pilot reported that the touchdown seemed heavier than normal and the pitch attitude rather high but, because no 'pitch' callout was heard, the co-pilot was not overly concerned.
Neither pilot perceived that the aircraft had bounced or that a tailstrike might have occurred. The landing was completed and the aircraft was taxied clear of the runway and onto a parking stand.
After the aircraft parked on stand, a post-flight report (PFR) printout was generated. The commander checked it and noted that there had been a pitch exceedence on landing.
Several of the cabin crew had noticed an unusual noise during the landing and the senior cabin crew member reported this to the commander. A ground maintenance engineer then came on board and advised the commander that there was damage to the aircraft. They both disembarked to carry out an inspection and observed scrape marks on the aft lower fuselage area and the aft galley drain mast.

The technical and training measures put in place by the manufacturer have been effective in reducing the tailstrike rate on the global fleet over the last ten years.
It is difficult to pinpoint a precise reason why this tailstrike occurred. As described in the manufacturer’s bulletins, it is likely to have been the result of a combination of factors.
These include an airspeed which had reduced below the target towards VLS, and an initial tentative but progressive flare input which did not sufficiently alter the flightpath of the aircraft. Although the initial touchdown was at a high pitch attitude, probably the most significant contributor to the tailstrike was the continued aft sidestick input after touchdown, which resulted in the pitch attitude continuing to increase.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Report number: EW/C2015/07/02
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 12 months
Download report: Final report


Revision history:


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