Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary DCA22LA002

Newark, NJ, USA

Aircraft #1


BOEING 757-224


United Airlines Flight 1117 experienced a tailstrike while landing at the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Newark, New Jersey. The captain was the pilot flying and receiving operational experience refresher (OER) training with a line check airman (LCA) who was the pilot monitoring and the pilot-in-command. All other phases of the flight were uneventful. According to the LCA, the captain suggested a go-around shortly after touchdown due to a significant pitch up, but the LCA thought the pitch was like the pitch up caused by ground spoiler deployment and advised the captain to continue the landing. However, the ground spoilers had not automatically deployed, and the airplane skipped and then began to bounce. The LCA took control of the airplane and attempted to execute a go-around, but because the engines had previously been placed in reverse thrust for the continuation of landing, the thrust levers would not advance so he elected to land on the remaining runway. According to United, during the LCA’s landing, the ground spoilers deployed normally. According to the aircraft manufacturer, a review of recorded data from the airplane revealed that prior to landing, the speedbrake lever had not been fully placed in its armed detent, which prevented automatic ground spoiler deployment upon landing.  Additionally, operation of the reverse thrust levers to their deployed position would mechanically release the speedbrake lock mechanism and move the speedbrake lever out of the down-and-locked position into the armed detent position.  This was evident in the recorded data and was likely the cause of the ground spoiler deployment being coincident with the thrust reverser deployment. The automatic ground spoiler deployment during the LCA’s landing resulted in an airplane nose-up pitch tendency (which is an expected aircraft behavior) for which the LCA failed to mitigate. As a result, the pitch attitude increased until the tail struck the runway.  After the tailstrike, the remainder of the landing and landing rollout were normal with no risk of runway overrun or excursion.  A post-flight inspection revealed substantial damage to the aft pressure bulkhead and frames.

Probable Cause and Findings

The nose high attitude on landing resulted in a tailstrike.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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