NTSB Identification: DCA05MA099.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of SPIRIT AIRLINES INC
Accident occurred Sunday, September 18, 2005 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Airbus A321-231, registration: N583NK
Injuries: 197 Uninjured.

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

Upon landing, an Airbus A321, experienced a tail strike upon landing. The First Officer (FO) stated that over the threshold at an altitude of about 50 feet, "it just literally felt like we lost inertia." The Captain believed that the flare was initiated too late and was incomplete. The FO stated that before touchdown, he lowered the nose a little bit and the aircraft touched down firmly. The aircraft bounced and the FO believed he again lowered the nose to prevent a tail strike. The Captain remembered that as the nose of the aircraft was lowering prior to the second touchdown, he may have pulled back on his side stick controller slightly to prevent the nose gear from striking the runway at too great a speed. After the aircraft touched down a second time the tailstrike occurred. Information extracted from the aircraft's flight data recorder revealed that both side stick controllers were activated simultaneously during the tailstrike. According to the manufacturer, when both side stick controllers are activated simultaneously (at least 2 degrees deflection off the neutral position) in the same or opposite directions and neither pilot takes priority via the takeover push button, the system adds the signals of both pilots algebraically. Airbus had issued Flight Crew Operating bulletins concerning bounced landings and tailstrikes but the pilots stated that no classroom or simulator training was received to reinforce the meaning and contents of the bulletins.

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


Following a bounced landing, the pilot in command activated his sidestick controller while the first officer was in control of the airplane, which subsequently resulted in the overcontrol of pitch and a tailstrike. Contributing to the circumstances of this accident were the pilot-in-command's failure to properly activate his sidestick takeover push button prior to his remedial action, and the operator's insufficient emphasis on bounced landing recovery techniques and tailstrike avoidance procedures.

Full narrative available

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