Boeing 757-204, G-BYAO
During the takeoff staff in the airfield’s ATC tower and the crew of another aircraft, which was stationary at a holding point on the aerodrome, saw a significant amount of smoke emanate from the rear of the aircraft as it lifted off the runway. At the same time the crew in the aircraft heard a noise and felt a slight bump. The commander advised ATC that they thought that they had suffered a tailstrike and intended to return to the airfield. The aircraft made a gentle, uneventful landing back at Manchester, 12 tonnes over the maximum landing weight, and used the full length of the runway to minimise the load on the brakes. The tailstrike was the result of an excessive rate of rotation during the takeoff. This was exacerbated by a variable headwind component which contributed to a lift off speed that was lower than intended by the manufacturer and compounded the loss of tail clearance. The operator has since amended his procedures to ensure better flying continuity, guidance for newly trained co-pilots and the inclusion in his operations manual of the advice given in the Boeing 757 Flight Crew Training Manual on the subject of takeoffs in Gusty Wind and Strong Crosswind Conditions.
Published 10 December 2014