NTSB Identification: DCA04MA082.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR FEDERAL EXPRESS CORP
Accident occurred Sunday, September 19, 2004 in Memphis, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Boeing MD-11, registration: N601FE
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The approach to landing was normal, and the crew stated that the touchdown was firm but not categorized as a hard landing. The airplane pitched up and bounced after touchdown and the captain became concerned that the airplane would porpoise. The speed had decreased to 107 knots, and reverse thrust had been initiated. The captain elected to conduct a go-around maneuver, and rotated the airplane to a nose high attitude of about 12 degrees prior to achieving sufficient airspeed and a positive rate of climb. The rear fuselage of the airplane contacted the runway for about 3,000 to 4,000 feet causing substantial damage to the airframe. The airplane lifted off, and the crew completed a second landing on runway 36R without further incident. Boeing training material and FedEx guidance states that "after reverse thrust is initiated, a full stop landing must be made. Do not attempt a go-around." Additionally, the FedEx tailstrike awareness training states that "the [pilot flying] must not exceed 10 degrees of pitch or retract the landing gear until the aircraft is safely airborne with a positive rate of climb."

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

The pilot's over-rotation during a go-around maneuver initiated because of a bounced landing. The go-around maneuver was initiated at a low speed and high pitch angle, and after reverse thrust was selected, contrary to Boeing and FedEx training guidance.

Full narrative available

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