NTSB Identification: DCA09FA004
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of United Airlines
Accident occurred Monday, October 20, 2008 in Phoenix, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/23/2010
Aircraft: AIRBUS 320, registration: N448UA
Injuries: 162 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.

United Airlines flight 1449, an Airbus A320, experienced a tailstrike on landing. Substantial damage occurred to the underbelly and aft bulkhead area. There were no injuries among the crew or passengers.

According to the pilots, the approach was stabilized, on speed and on glide path, until the aircraft descended below 100 feet above the ground (AGL). Then, the airspeed began to slow below the approach speed of 141 knots, and the aircraft pitch attitude increased. At about 100 feet above the field elevation, the first officer pulled the thrust levers to idle. Shortly thereafter, the airspeed decreased to about 10 knots below approach speed. The first officer stated that he felt a “sense of ground rush” during the flare at about 70 feet and he increased back pressure on the side-stick to arrest the sink rate.

The airplane touched down with a nose up pitch attitude of 12.3 degrees with the main landing gear compressed. The tail strike pitch limit at touchdown with the main landing gear compressed is 11.9 degrees nose up.

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

The failure of the flightcrew to arrest an excessive sink rate during the flare for landing.

Full narrative available

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