Event Details

Title:Tailstrike, Boeing 757-232, October 4, 1993
Micro summary:This Boeing 757-232 encountered a tailstrike while taking off.
Event Time:1993-10-04 at 1720 EDT
File Name:1993-10-04-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:ATL94IA001
Diversion Airport:Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood, Florida, USA
Site of event:Fort Lauderdale, FL
Departure:Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood, Florida, USA
Destination:Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 757-232
Flight Phase:Takeoff
Operator(s):Delta Air Lines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Diverted to:Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood, Florida, USA
Executive Summary:

NTSB short summary:

Failure of the captain to use the proper rotation and lift-off speeds, which resulted in over rotation of the aircraft during takeoff and a subsequent tail scrape.

NTSB synopsis:

According to the pilots, during the takeoff roll, the airplane began to bounced forward & backward, & at about 128 kts, the nose pitched up. Info in the flight data recorder showed that at 95 kts, the elevator began a positive deflection; at 108.5 Kts, pitch attitude began to increase; then at about 126 kts, the pitch angle reached a maximum value of 11.25 Deg & the aircraft became airborne. About 3 seconds after initial lift-off, the aircraft touched down momentarily. The captain stated that after becoming airborne, he applied full power & continued the climb. Suspecting a possible tail strike, he elected to return to the airport & land. A post-flight exam revealed a 6' scrape mark aft of the pressure bulkhead. Computed takeoff speeds for this flight were: decision speed (v1) 128 kts, rotation speed (vr) 130 kts, and takeoff safety speed (v2) 135 kts. The previous flight's lift-off occurred at 151 kts & 6.855 Deg nose up pitch. No mechanical problem was discovered with the airplane.

NTSB factual narrative text:

On October 4, 1993, at 1720 eastern daylight time, a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-232, Flight 594, N638DL, collided with the runway during an attempted takeoff from International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The scheduled, domestic, passenger flight operated under 14 CFR Part 121 with an instrument flight clearance. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the incident. The airplane sustained minor damage, and none of the 95 occupants was injured. The flight departed Fort Lauderdale, at 1720 hours.

According to the pilots, during the takeoff roll, "the aircraft bounced forward and aft" (rearward), and as the airspeed approached 128 knots, the nose pitched up. At this point the pilot stated that he applied full power and continued the climb (see attached airworthiness release). Seconds later, a flight attendant seated in the rear of the airplane reported that she thought that the tail of the airplane struck the runway (see attached NTSB Form 6120.1/2 with crew statements). The flight returned to Fort Lauderdale and landed without further incident.

Examination of the airplane revealed a six-foot long scrape mark on the bottom of the fuselage near the aft pressure bulkhead. Further examination revealed a buckle in the lower panel of the pressure bulkhead assembly. Examination of the aircraft flight control systems failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or component failure.

The aircraft digital flight data recorder (DFDR) was removed for data readout and evaluation. The recovered data disclosed that,

at 0039:30 elapsed time, at an indicated airspeed of 95 knots, elevator deflection began to change from a negative to a positive value. Three seconds later, at an indicated airspeed of 108.5 knots, pitch attitudes began to increase as well. At 0039:37 elapsed time, elevator deflection angles attained maximum values, and one second later, at an indicated airspeed of 126 knots, pitch angle reached a maximum value of +11.25 degrees nose up while the air/ground parameter changed to the "air" state. Pitch angle values then decreased concurrently with elevator deflection angle value. At 0039:41 elapsed time, the air/ground parameter changed back to the "ground" state. At 0039:42 elapsed time, at an indicated airspeed of 140 knots, the air/ground parameter changed to "air" and remained in that state for the remainder of the flight.

Data from the previous take-off was also examined. The data revealed that elevator deflection began to move from negative to positive values at an indicated airspeed of 136.5 knots.

Additional review of the DFDR data revealed no N1 engine speed changes until after the aircraft had established a positive rate of climb. Further review of the DFDR data did not disclose a pitch angle in excess of +10.0 degrees on the previous flight until the aircraft was well into the positive rate of climb; a corresponding reduction in engine N1 speed was also noted at that time. The previous flight liftoff occurred at 151 knots and at 6.855 degrees of nose up pitch.

A review of the final weight and balance data revealed the following computed takeoff airspeeds for Flight 594: V1-128, VR-130 and V2-135 (see attached V speed definitions).
Learning Keywords:Operations - Tailstrike
Consequence - Damage - Airframe or fuselage
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