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Accident description
Last updated: 23 May 2018
Status:Final
Date:Friday 3 January 2014
Time:ca 19:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic B738 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-8H4 (WL)
Operator:Southwest Airlines
Registration: N8327A
C/n / msn: 37009/4269
First flight: 2012-11-16 (1 year 2 months)
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-7B27E
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 174
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 180
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Orlando International Airport, FL (MCO/KMCO), United States of America
Destination airport:Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS/KLAS), United States of America
Flightnumber:2516
Narrative:
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8H4, registration N8327A, was damaged in a tail strike accident while landing on runway 25L at Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS) in calm winds and good visibility.
According to the operator, the captain was the pilot flying and the first officer (FO) was the pilot monitoring. Both pilots indicated that takeoff through the initial descent was uneventful. The aircraft was configured for a flaps 30 landing. During the ILS approach to runway 25L, the captain used the Heads-up Guidance System (HGS) in the IMC mode.
During the decent below 100 feet, the FO indicated that the runway environment was dark and sensed the runway was "coming close fast". He noted a slightly increased descent rate and before he could make a callout, the captain had begun to take corrective action.
During the descent, the captain stated he was hand flying the airplane (autopilot and autothrottles were off) and used the localizer, glideslope and flare cues from the HGS. At approximately 30 feet, he transitioned from the HGS to the runway environment, noting it appeared "pitch black." He then noticed the runway edge lights and what appeared to be an increased sink rate.
Both pilots indicated the airplane touched down firm, then bounced, and the second touch down was harder than the first. Neither were aware that they had struck the tail. The captain did not recall seeing a tail strike warning indication from the HGS.
Post flight inspection revealed that the tail strike indicator was compressed and deep scrapes and wear damage to the lower aft fuselage skin. Further investigation revealed multiple fractured frames and buckled stringers, shear ties and straps.

The airplane was ferried unpressurized from Las Vegas to Phoenix, AZ (PHX) on January 13 and continued the next day to Seattle-Paine Field, WA. The airplane was repaired and back in service on February 27.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The captain's over rotation during the bounced landing."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 4 years and 2 months
Accident number: DCA14CA034
Download report: Summary report

Classification:

Tailstrike

Sources:
» NTSB


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Orlando International Airport, FL to Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV as the crow flies is 3255 km (2035 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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