Report: hard landing and pitch-up after touchdown factors in A321 tailstrike accident

April 22, 2011

The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) released the final report of their investigation into a tailstrike accident involving an Airbus A321 at Osaka-Kansai International Airport (KIX/RJBB), Japan. An improper flare, hard landing and pitch-up after touchdown  were factors.

On October 28, 2009, an Airbus A321-200, registered HL7763, operated by Asiana Airlines, took off from Seoul-Gimpo International Airport (SEL), the Republic of Korea, as a non-scheduled flight OZ1125.

The first officer was pilot flying during the approach to runway 06L of Kansai International Airport. The descent rate of 544 ft/min at the time of touchdown was high and the aircraft contacted the runway hard with a vertical acceleration of 1.91G. The nose-up stick input  was continued after touchdown, while the extension of the spoilers further produced a nose-up effect. As a result the aircraft’s pitch angle of 4.6 degrees at the time of touchdown increased to 10.2 degrees. This angle was in excess of the maximum allowable pitch attitude of 9.7 degrees.

The first officer decided to make a go-around and moved the thrust lever in the TOGA position about four seconds after touchdown. The airplane circled and landed safely eleven minutes later. There were 147 persons on board, consisting of the Captain, 8 other crewmembers, and 138 passengers. No one was injured. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, but there was no outbreak of fire.

JTSB concluded:

In this accident, it is considered highly probable that, during the landing on Kansai International Airport, the Aircraft sustained damage in the aft part of the fuselage which contacted the runway, since the pitch angle became excessively large after the touchdown on the runway.
It is considered highly probable that the Aircraft’s pitch angle became excessive because the First Officer continued inputting pitch-up signals even after touchdown.
The flare by the First Officer was inappropriate and as a result, the sink rate of the Aircraft did not fully decrease, causing the Aircraft to land with a strong impact on the ground. It is considered probable that, that the First Officer became upset by the impact contributed to his continuous input for pitch-up after touchdown.


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