Tailstrike!

24 05 2010

For an aviator, the transition of his aircraft from ground to air and visa versa can be one of the most stressful times in the whole flight. There are so many things to do and look out for in a span of a short time. One small mistake can mean the loss of the aircraft and all onboard. Some, like the pilot of this unfortunate aircraft will make that mistake that he or she (and all onboard) will be able to walk away from.

A “tailstrike” is an where an aircraft’s tail hits the ground while attemping the transit from ground to air. It happens when the pilot flying applies too much elevator causing the aircraft to over rotate. This spectacular picture of a United Airlines 747-400 tailstrike was taken by a Sydney airport staffer who happened to be indulging in his hobby, taking pictures of aircraft. You’d have to be extremely lucky tobe at the correct palce and time to have taken such a photo. This is what makes this picture so spectacular.

The aircraft, a 747-400 registratered  N128UA was taking off enroute back to San Francisco when this incident occured. The pilot of the aircraft levelled off at 8000 ft and dumped fuel over the Tasman Sea before returning to Sydney airport. After temporary repairs were made, the aircraft took off 4 days later for Busan, Korea on the 11th of May for permanent repairs.

repairs.

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