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Last updated: 22 February 2020
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 21 December 1989
Time:22:34
Type:Silhouette image of generic B752 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 757-223
Operator:American Airlines
Registration: N611AM
C/n / msn: 24487/236
First flight: 1989-06-26 (6 months)
Engines: 2 Rolls-Royce RB211-535E4B
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 104
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 111
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Santa Ana-Orange County Airport, CA (SNA) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, TX (DFW/KDFW), United States of America
Destination airport:Santa Ana-Orange County Airport, CA (SNA/KSNA), United States of America
Narrative:
The tail struck the runway during a visual night landing. The FDR indicated a pitch attitude of 11.074 deg for 2 seconds at touchdown. Boeing stated that the maximum pitch at touchdown should not exceed 10.3 deg.
This was the pilot's first night flight into Orange County Airport in this aircraft type. As of February 1990, there have been 27 tail strikes of B767 and 51 tail strikes of B757 aircraft during take-off or landing.

Probable Cause:

The copilot's overrotation of the aircraft during the flare which allowed the tail to collide with the runway. The failure of the captain to take appropriate corrective action was a factor in the accident.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 6 months
Accident number: LAX90LA055
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Tailstrike
Runway mishap

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Map
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 Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, TX to Santa Ana-Orange County Airport, CA as the crow flies is 1922 km (1201 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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