UK authorities report details of Heathrow incident to CAAC after crew ignore ATC alert
The captain of a China Eastern Airlines Airbus A340-300 continued a flight from London Heathrow airport to Shanghai on 7 April despite being told that the aircraft had suffered a serious tailscrape during take-off. The aircraft landed safely at its destination.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has reported details to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Airbus confirms it is participating in an investigation. China Eastern and the CAAC decline to comment.
The extent of damage to the tail has not been revealed, but Heathrow confirms that air traffic control told the A340 crew that the tailscrape had happened and that scrape marks were discovered on the runway surface.
The A340 operations manual says that, after a tailscrape, the crew should land for damage inspection without pressurising the hull.
The aircraft – registration B-2383 – got airborne from runway 09R at about 21:35. The DfT says it received witness reports that just after unstick the aircraft's nose pitched down, arresting the climb, then pitched up again. The tailstrike occurred before the aircraft began to climb properly. Controllers in the tower saw the event and warned the crew, but the pilots elected to continue to Shanghai.
Source: Flight International