An Air France jet suffered a tail strike during a go around in Toronto. The more details that emerge regarding what happened, the more confusing this incident becomes…
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Air France A350 has tail strike during go around
This incident happened on Sunday, January 21, 2024, and involves Air France flight AF356 from Paris (CDG) to Toronto (YYZ). The flight was operated by a nearly three-year-old Airbus A350-900 with the registration code F-HTYH.
The aircraft was attempting to land on runway 24L at 4:34PM, though the pilots decided to perform a go around, which is supposed to be a standard (and safe) procedure. However, something obviously went very wrong there, because the jet suffered a tail strike during this maneuver.
A plane spotter even captured the exact moment of the tail strike, where you can see sparks coming from near the tail.
Not only that, but there’s video from inside the cabin, where you can hear the tail strike.
VASAviation has a recreation of the incident, showing both the A350’s position, as well as the air traffic control audio.
Following the go around, the plane made a pattern around the airport, and ended up landing on the same runway at 4:49PM. Fortunately there were no injuries.
As you’d expect, the return flight to Paris was canceled, given the damage to the aircraft. Days later, the Airbus A350 remains on the ground in Toronto. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for this aircraft to return to service.
What caused this Air France A350 tail strike incident?
While tail strikes are problematic, they aren’t uncommon, and they can happen either during takeoff or landing. While it’ll take some work to get this plane fixed, hopefully there’s no major structural damage that make this much worse (though that is a possibility).
So, what happened here?
- The pilot told the air traffic controller that the decision was made to perform a go around due to a “long landing,” which is when there’s not enough room to stop anymore (or it’s beyond the company’s operating policies)
- Based on the video footage from inside the cabin where you can see the runway markers, it appears that the aircraft landed at around the 600 meter mark, and the runway is 2,956 meters long
- Multiple people who claim to have been passengers onboard state that the pilot announced over the PA that the go around was due to something on the runway, though the jet that landed prior to the Air France A350 had vacated the runway, so it wasn’t that plane
- It’s interesting how the tail strike marks are off-center, suggesting that the plane was banking to some degree while it was performing a go around, which is an additional detail that’s confusing
- What I really can’t wrap my head around (based on the above video) is how the aircraft touches down, then the pilots seem to pull the nose up, and then the pilots seem to apply power, which doesn’t seem like the right order in which to do things
- I’m curious if the pilots even realized they had a tail strike; they seem a bit distracted in their communication following the go around, and also don’t advise the air traffic controllers of the tail strike
I’m sure that an investigation will be performed into why this happened, to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. It’ll be interesting to see what that uncovers…
An Air France Airbus A350 suffered a tail strike during a go around in Toronto on Sunday. While go arounds are common, they shouldn’t result in tail strikes. Fortunately no one was injured, and the plane was able to land safely around 15 minutes later. Now the questions are how long it’ll take to fix this plane, and what the cause of this was.
What do you make of this Air France Airbus A350 incident?