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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 187236
Last updated: 1 April 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A320-232
Owner/operator:Jetstar Airways
Registration: VH-VGF
C/n / msn: 4497
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 141
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:Melbourne International Airport (YMML), Melbourne, VIC -   Australia
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:YMML
Destination airport:YMHB
The Airbus A320-232, registered VH-VGF and operated by Jetstar Airways as flight JQ711 was taking off on runway 27 at Melbourne Airport, Australia. The flight crew consisted of a training captain in the left seat, a cadet pilot in the right seat and a safety pilot, who was also the first officer, in the jump-seat. This was the cadet pilot’s first takeoff as pilot flying. During rotation, the tail of the aircraft contacted the runway surface.

After takeoff, the cadet pilot realised that the pitch rate during rotation was higher than normal and discussed this with the captain. During the climb, the cabin crew discussed hearing an unusual noise during the takeoff rotation with the captain. Due to the higher than normal rotation rate and the noise heard by the cabin crew, the captain elected to stop the climb and return to Melbourne. The first officer swapped seats with the cadet pilot and the aircraft landed uneventfully on runway 27.
The aircraft suffered a tailstrike whilst taking off from Melbourne International Airport, resulting in the flight returning to the airport for an emergency landing.

The ATSB found that during rotation, the cadet pilot applied a larger than normal sidestick pitch input resulting in a higher than normal pitch rate. The tail of the aircraft contacted the runway surface resulting in damage to the auxiliary power unit (APU) diverter and APU drain mast. While airborne, the crew did not specifically advise air traffic control (ATC) of the possibility that a tail strike had occurred during takeoff.

Contributing factor
- The cadet pilot applied a larger than normal sidestick pitch input to initiate rotation. This resulted in a high rotation rate during the take-off and the aircraft’s tail contacted the runway.

Other factor
- The potential tail strike was not adequately communicated to Melbourne air traffic control. This delayed checking the runway for aircraft debris.



Photo of VH-VGF courtesy

Sydney - Kingsford Smith International (YSSY / SYD)
29 October 2018; (c) Wayne Bass

Photo: ATSB

Revision history:

13-May-2016 07:07 Pineapple Added
13-May-2016 16:27 harro Updated [Narrative, Photo, ]
04-Sep-2017 06:27 harro Updated [Damage, Narrative, Photo, ]
04-Sep-2017 07:10 harro Updated [Time, Total occupants, Narrative]

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