**Update on 02/13/2020 at 19:32UTC- Inserted Statement from Air Tahiti**
An Air Tahiti ATR 72 suffered a tail strike on landing in French Polynesia. The turboprop aircraft was landing in Tubuai when the tail of the aircraft struck the runway before the main landing gear touched down.
The Aviation Herald reports that an Air Tahiti ATR 72 registered as F-ORVI and flying from Rurutu to Tubuai on January 29th, 2020, suffered a tail strike on landing at Tubuai. Thankfully, neither the airline nor airport operator have reported any injuries to passengers or crew.
VT939 took off from Rurutu en route to Tubuai. From Tubuai, the aircraft would continue onwards to Papeete– the major international gateway of French Polynesia. Upon landing, the aircraft suffered a tail strike. The weather may have had a factor– specifically– rain and wind gusts. However, this is currently unclear. What is clear, however, is that the aircraft was taken out of service pending additional assessment.
To fly passengers from Tubuai to Papeete, Air Tahiti dispatched a replacement ATR 72. F-ORVT took over and flew the final segment from Tubuai to Papeete. The final delay was about eight hours.
Air Tahiti presented Simple Flying with the following statement:
We confirm a tail strike (tail bumper touch down) event occured at landing in Tubuai on 29 January with no injuries to passengers and crew members. The aircraft has been inspected in Tubuai airport by a dedicated mechanics team coming especially from the main maintenance base in Papeete. Inspections were satisfactory, no damage were found on the aircraft. Therefore, the aircraft has been released to service before noon on 30th January for normal commercial operations. Root cause of this event is weather conditions, heavy rain and wind affected this airfield at the time of the event.
While most people have heard of Air Tahiti Nui, Air Tahiti is separate. Air Tahiti Nui operates Boeing 787 aircraft to international destinations in Japan, New Zealand, the United States, France, some charters like this one to Easter Island. Meanwhile, Air Tahiti flies all-economy configured ATR aircraft on an island-hopper kind of service. This involves flying passengers regionally across French Polynesia. However, Air Tahiti has a monopoly across French Polynesia on island routes.
Simple Flying’s Arran Rice flew Air Tahiti to Bora Bora and wrote an extensive guide on flying into Bora Bora on Air Tahiti. Ultimately, turboprops are the most convenient option to get around French Polynesia. Although, most people will likely choose to fly out to Bora Bora. But, there are some other hidden wonders around the South Pacific. For example, Samoa is another more off-the-beaten-path destination that could be a lot of fun for a tropical island getaway. You can fly there on a number of airlines like Samoa Airways and Fiji Airways.
Flying to a tropical island for a holiday can be a lot of fun. While this tail strike was a bit of an inconvenience for passengers, ultimately, it is important that no one was injured as a result of this incident.
Were you onboard this Air Tahiti ATR that suffered a tail strike? What happened? Let us know in the comments!
Simple Flying reached out to Air Tahiti for comment. However, Air Tahiti did not respond prior to publication. This article will be updated as needed and accordingly.