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Last updated: 28 February 2020
Status:Final
Date:Friday 15 September 2017
Time:21:59
Type:Silhouette image of generic A321 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A321-231 (WL)
Operator:American Airlines
Registration: N137AA
C/n / msn: 6647
First flight: 2015-06-10 (2 years 3 months)
Engines: 2 IAE V2533-A5
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 137
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 143
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Bridgetown-Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) (   Barbados)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Miami International Airport, FL (MIA/KMIA), United States of America
Destination airport:Bridgetown-Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI/TBPB), Barbados
Flightnumber:AA2393
Narrative:
American Airlines flight 2393 sustained substantial damage in a tailstrike accident on landing at Bridgetown-Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados. The aircraft, an Airbus A321-231, departed Miami International Airport at 18:42 hours local time (22:42 UTC). The flight was uneventful for the takeoff and cruise. A late descent clearance was obtained and the captain used 'selected speed' to descend at about 340 knots. The instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 09 was available and requested by the crew from the air traffic controller. The captain continued using 'selected speed' and speedbrakes until approximately 3,000 feet and 10 miles from the airport, at which point the airplane was configured for landing.
Conditions at the time of the accident allowed the use of flaps 3, however, they decided to land flaps full, versus the American Airlines recommended current landing condition which would allow a flaps 3 position.
At approximately 2000 feet, the captain selected 'managed speed' which subsequently resulted in a power increase to reach the last managed speed target of the descent phase which was 250 knots. The captain stated that he "thought something was wrong with the airplane" and disconnected the autopilot and autothrust, and increased the pitch of the airplane to avoid exceeding the limitation for the selected Ilaps. The captain subsequently hand flew the remainder of the approach.
At 500 feet, the airplane was below the required approach speed and therefore did not meet the American Airlines' standard for a stabilized approach.
The first officer provided a verbal notice to the captain of "a little slow" and the captain manually increased the engine thrust. The first officer made another verbal notice to the captain about the speed; however, the captain did not respond to that call. During this time, the airplane descended to about 1/2 dot low on the glideslope and the first officer called "a little low". The first officer reported that below 500 feet he was looking outside more than inside the cockpit and provided no further verbal prompts to the captain, until after touchdown.
At approximately 50 feet, the aircraft had reached about 10 degrees nose up pitch and the speed continued to decay through 120 knots. The airplane provided a "PITCH PITCH" aural alert almost simultaneously with touchdown which occurred at 110 knots and about 10 degrees of pitch up attitude.
After landing skin damage was observed to the lower tail section of the airplane.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause:
The airplane's tail made contact with the runway due to an excessive pitch attitude of about 10 degrees because the crew was unaware of the decaying airspeed.
Contributing to the tail strike were the following:
- the flight crew's failure to identify the fact that approach phase had not been activated during the initial approach phase
- the flight crew's failure to understand the automation
- the fact that the flight was unstabilized below 500 feet
- the night crew's failure to initiate a go-around maneuver
- the overall lack of clear communication and adequate use of Crew Resource Management (CRM).

Classification:
Landing after unstabilized approach
Tailstrike
Runway mishap

Sources:
» BEA
» Barbados CAD Accident Report

METAR Weather report:
00:00 UTC / 20:00 local time:
TBPB 160000Z 10010KT 9999 FEW018 28/25 Q1013 NOSIG

01:00 UTC / 21:00 local time:
TBPB 160100Z 09011KT 9999 SCT018 28/26 Q1014 NOSIG

02:00 UTC / 22:00 local time:
TBPB 160200Z 09012KT 9999 FEW016 28/26 Q1015 NOSIG


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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 Miami International Airport, FL to Bridgetown-Grantley Adams International Airport as the crow flies is 2577 km (1611 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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