Tail strikes: What are they, why are they caused?

Following a special audit regarding repeated tail strike accidents, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has fined IndiGo a sum of Rs 30 lakhs and given the airline a show cause notice.
According to a DGCA announcement, the special audit found “certain systemic deficiencies” in the paperwork for “operations/training procedures and engineering procedures” at IndiGo.
The audit was ordered after IndiGo experienced four tail strike accidents on its A321 aircraft in a six-month period this year, the most recent of which occurred on June 15 during a landing at the Ahmedabad airport.
The DGCA stated in the announcement that it examined the airline’s paperwork and operating procedures for its FDM (flight data monitoring) programme during the audit.
An airplane’s tail striking the ground or another stationary object is referred to as a “tail strike.” Although tail hits can happen during takeoff, most often they happen when an aircraft is landing. Over 65% of tail impacts, according to Airbus statistics data, occur during landings.
Tail impacts can result in serious structural damage to the aircraft, necessitating expensive repairs. Before the aircraft is cleared to fly again, rigorous checks are performed, even when the damage is not severe or immediately evident.
The majority of tail impacts can be ascribed to pilot error, despite the fact that contemporary aircraft are equipped with a wide range of devices to assist pilots and lessen the likelihood of human error.
Simply described, tail strikes happen when the aircraft’s pitch attitude, whether during takeoff or landing, is steep enough for the tail to strike the ground. varied sized aircraft have varied “tail strike margins”; the longer the aircraft, the more the rear protrudes below the rear undercarriage, increasing the likelihood of a tail strike.
The attitude of an aircraft refers to all of them.
The pitching motion of the aeroplane has the greatest impact on tail strikes. The nose of the aircraft is raised and the tail is lowered by a positive pitching action. When this manoeuvre is performed incorrectly during takeoff and landing, tail strikes result.
Inadequate takeoff speeds: Every aircraft is built to launch at a specific speed, called Vr or rotation speed, which changes according on the weight carried. Below this speed, its wings are unable to generate enough lift to raise it into the air. The thrust from the engine will drive the nose upward if a takeoff is attempted while the aircraft is still moving slower than this minimal speed, but without enough lift from the wings, the tail will simply hit and drag on the ground. The pilot most frequently enters the weight of the aircraft incorrectly, resulting in an inaccurate computation of the Vr.
Incorrect centre of gravity or an untuned stabiliser: An aircraft’s handling is dependent on where its centre of gravity is located. Pitch control is less responsive if the nose side is heavier. The heavier the tail side, the more sensitive it gets, making it more prone to pilot error owing to overcontrol. The aircraft’s stabiliser was set during pre-flight to take the centre of gravity into consideration. A tail strike can potentially result from this mistake.
Landing tail hits are more frequent and typically do greater harm. This is because, upon landing, the tail absorbs the majority of the energy of the impact of the aircraft with the ground if it makes contact with the surface before the landing gear. Instable approaches are to blame for such tail collisions.
The glide ratio, which is the distance travelled forward divided by the altitude lost over that distance, and the appropriate speed are both indicators of a steady approach. Tail strikes can occur during unstable approaches for a variety of different causes.

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