NTSB Identification: ATL98IA024.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Scheduled 14 CFR operation of AMERICAN AIRLINES
Incident occurred Monday, December 15, 1997 in MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/29/2000
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A-300-600, registration: N90070
Injuries: 246 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

According to the flying pilot, the existing wind information was different from the planned wind information, resulting in a 'circle to land' approach on runway 25. The downwind leg and turn to final were normal with the airplane on speed, and 'in the slot'. As per the final approach checklist the pilot armed the spoilers for deployment on main wheel touchdown. Upon touchdown the airplane bounced and the pilot said he increased the pitch attitude of the airplane to soften the second touchdown. On the second touchdown, a flight attendant heard a loud bang in the aft section of the airplane. Post flight inspection revealed damage to the tail skid area on the underside of the airplane. According to the flight manual, the deployment of the ground spoilers induces a 2 degree pitch up and increases the sink rate of the aircraft, therefore contributing to the higher pitch angle that can result in tail strikes. In the American Airlines A300 operating manual under touchdown, it states that 'no attempt should be made to hold the airplane off by further increase in attitude.' According to the flight data recorder the pitch attitude reached a maximum of 11.78 degrees which occurred when the airplane touched down for the second time. The tail strike pitch attitude is 11.4 degrees.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be:

The pilot's improper recovery from a bounced landing, compounded by the automatic deployment of the ground spoilers on main wheel spin-up, resulting in a pitch angle beyond the tail strike pitch angle of the airplane, which led to the tail contacting the runway.

Full narrative available

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