NTSB Identification: LAX00FA229.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 14, 2000 in Lihue, Kauai, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2003
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51, registration: N649HA
Injuries: 2 Minor,137 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane landed hard during the touchdown, damaging structural members in the lower aft fuselage. The captain authorized the first officer to fly the route between Honolulu and Lihue during which no mechanical abnormalities were experienced. Approaching Lihue, daytime visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the first officer continued as the flying pilot. He established the airplane on a 3-degree descent profile toward the runway, with stabilized engine thrust and with a stabilized rate of descent. The digital flight data recorder (DFDR) indicates that, about 1 second before touchdown, the airplane's rate of descent was approximately 384 feet per minute, which was higher than normal, and the pitch attitude was at 8 degrees nose up. The hard landing and tail strike dislodged several passenger cabin oxygen masks from their ceiling storage compartments, and it also resulted in deformation to the aft empennage that was not immediately apparent. Subsequently, the DFDR readout indicated that during the impact sequence the airplane's maximum recorded vertical acceleration was 2.33 g's. The flight crew reported not observing damage to the airframe during a post-flight walk around, whereupon they departed with passengers and thereafter made several additional flights. During the follow-up maintenance examination, the airplane's tail bumper compression indicator was found in the normal (horizontal) position, having been compressed about 2 7/8 inches. By design, tail strikes that result in 3 or more inches of compression to the tail bumper reposition its indicator from a horizontal to a vertical position. This serves as an additional visual aid alerting personnel of the severity of the tail strike event. The first officer had completed his initial operating experience (IOE) training and had been released to fly the line 5 days prior to the accident. However, according to the Hawaiian Airlines Flight Operations Manual, and associated Federal Aviation Regulations, because he only had about 61 of the requisite 100 hours of DC-9 flying experience, he was not authorized to land at the Lihue Airport. Additionally, he was obligated to so inform the captain of his limitation.

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

The first officer's delayed and misjudged landing flare resulting in a tail strike and hard landing. Contributing factors were his relative inexperience flying the type of airplane, and the captain's and the first officer's failure to adhere to required company procedures and Federal Aviation Regulations.

Full narrative available

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