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Home > Air Travel > Would the cabin crew inform the captain if there were a tail strike?
Would the cabin crew inform the captain if there were a tail strike?
Flying - Air Travel
Tuesday, 13 December 2005 02:58

Hi Captain Lim,

Firstly I would like to thank you for the amazing array of information available on your site. Believe me, it has put my mind at ease. I recently took my annual 2-week holiday from the UK to Barbados. I have never been a nervous flyer until my return flight.

Leaving the UK with Virgin Atlantic on a 747-400, and having flown this route 3 times before, I was relaxed and comfortable on the outbound flight until we hit turbulence about 2 hours into the flight. The sudden drop in altitude caused me to pull hard against my seatbelt (which I*m glad I was wearing) and lifted my legs from the floor to above my waist and tossed us around a little. It also caused screams and panic from other passengers. When the turbulence calmed down, the captain announced it was due to the plane moving into the jet stream. Is this not something you should avoid doing if it will cause such turbulence or is there no way of knowing?

Secondly, after an uncomfortable outbound flight, I was increasingly nervous on the inbound flight. As we taxied to the runway, I tried to calm my nerves knowing I had never experienced a flight like that before and was unlikely to have a similar experience returning home.

However, as we got to the runway and the plane began to accelerate for take off, I felt as though something wasn't right. I didn*t feel the same "pushed back into my seat" of acceleration as I had on all other flights and didn*t feel like it was enough to get us into the air. I was sat at the rear of the plane and as the nose lifted there was a definite tail strike. It obviously wasn*t severe as I*m still alive!!!! And the captain continued with the flight as normal although I prayed that we were turning around to land again, and then spent the first 30 minutes looking out the window waiting for something to fall off the back of the plane.

My question is, would cabin crew inform the pilot of a tail strike if it wasn*t severe enough for him/her to be aware of, and should any action have been taken since there was an obvious thud and drag sensation to passengers at the rear?

Thanks,

Abbie Skene, UK

Hi Abbie,

It is not always possible to avoid turbulence that comes from flying in the vicinity of jet streams. Some of them are thousand of miles long and pilots have to fly through them in order to reach the destination. Yes, pilots know about them and take whatever steps necessary to reduce the discomfort caused to passengers.


I am not sure whether the plane you flew back actually had a tail strike
. Normally a tail strike would be indicated in the cockpit by a warning . That would call for a landing back at the airport. Since it proceeded to its destination, I would presume that it wasn*t one.

Yes, cabin crews are trained to keep the captain informed of any abnormality that affects the safety of the plane. In fact, passengers are also encouraged to pass along any safety concern to the pilots through the cabin attendants. Pilots would welcome such reports as long as they are reasonable.

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