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Tailstrike following aggressive flare
Tail wheel on an Impala Mk II to prevent damage caused by tailstrike

In aviation, a tailstrike is an event in which the rear end of an aircraft strikes the runway. This can happen during takeoff of a fixed-wing aircraft if the pilot pulls up too rapidly, leading to the rear end of the fuselage touching the runway.[1] It can also occur during landing if the pilot raises the nose too aggressively. This is often the result of an attempt to land nearer to the runway threshold.[2]

A tailstrike is physically possible only on an aircraft with tricycle landing gear; with a taildragger configuration, the tail is already on the ground. Some aircraft, which require a high angle of attack on takeoff, are fitted with small tailwheels to prevent tailstrikes.[3] Examples include the Concorde and Saab Draken. Some aircraft, such as the Diamond Aircraft Industries Diamond DA20, have a skid installed to protect the airframe in the event of a tailstrike.

Tailstrike incidents rarely cause significant damage or cause danger, but may cause financial losses as the planes have to be thoroughly inspected and repaired. However, improper repair to the damaged airframe after a tailstrike accident may cause a later structural failure after repeated cycles of pressurization and depressurization at the weak point.

Examples of notable tailstrikes[edit]

Tailstrikes on takeoff/landing:

Improper repair after a tailstrike causing structural failure in flight later:


1.^ This was the aircraft involved in the Tenerife airport disaster. It suffered a tailstrike moments before the actual disaster.


  1. ^ Preventing tailstrike at takeoff, Airbus Safety Lib
  2. ^ Boeing definition of Tailstrike
  3. ^ Tailstrike in Airbus Safety lib
  4. ^ http://avherald.com/h?article=460db38a&opt=0
  5. ^ http://www.sdpnoticias.com/economia/2013/04/16/avion-de-aeromexico-sufre-accidente-en-barajas-espana-reportan-dos-heridos
  6. ^ http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19770327-1

External links[edit]