Accident Boeing 747-422 N178UA,
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Date:Friday 14 November 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic B744 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 747-422
Owner/operator:United Airlines
Registration: N178UA
MSN: 24385/820
Year of manufacture:1990
Total airframe hrs:57337 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney PW4056
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 356
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Location:San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO) -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO/KSFO)
Destination airport:Hong Kong-Chek Lap Kok International Airport (HKG/VHHH)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
United Airlines Flight 805, a Boeing 747-422, N178UA, experienced a tail strike on rotation at San Francisco, California, USA.
The first officer was the Pilot Flying (PF), and the airplane departed on runway 10L. The winds were 180 at 16, gusting to 22 knots. The takeoff roll was normal, and the PF utilized control wheel input to correct for the crosswind. A few seconds after rotation, the PF noted the stick shaker annunciate, and responded by gently easing back pressure off the control yoke. The captain and a relief pilot felt a nose wheel vibration following the takeoff.
The air traffic control tower contacted the flight crew alerting them of a possible tail strike after observing smoke from the airplane at rotation. The crew returned to land at San Francisco. Evaluation of the damage resulted in structural repair to two structural members.

A tail strike due to a combination of the wind shifting from a headwind to a tailwind during rotation, and the pilot's control inputs for the crosswind condition.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: LAX04LA050
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 5 months
Download report: Final report


Revision history:


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