An Azul Brazilian Airlines Airbus A320neo scraped its tail on the runway on Thursday, October 17th while landing at Sao Paulo Viracopos International Airport (VCP).
The aircraft, one of Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras’ 35 Airbus A320neos, was returning to Sao Paulo State from Recife International Airport (REC) operating as flight number AD-6970.
As the plane came in to land at 4:36 pm local time on Viracopos number 15 runway, the aircraft’s tail scraped the runway’s surface. Other than some damage to the rear underside of the aircraft, the plane was able to taxi to the apron without further incident.
The aircraft registration number PR-YRQ is still on the ground some 74 hours after landing according to the Aviation Herald website.
The aircraft is scheduled to go for repairs at São José dos Campos
Flightradar24 is showing that the aircraft has been scheduled to fly to São José dos Campos on Sunday the 20th at 1:00 PM. Once in São José dos Campos, the aircraft will probably be handed over to aviation company DIGEX for repairs.
Once a Brazilian cargo airline, DIGEX built two hangers in São José dos Campos and now specializes in the repair of damaged aircraft. Among the various certifications DIGEX holds, one is for the maintenance of Airbus A320, including the neo family of aircraft.
What is a tailstrike?
As far as aviation is concerned a tailstrike happens when the aircraft’s tail comes into contact with the ground or a fixed object. This can happen during both takeoffs and landings when a pilot either pulls the aircraft’s nose up very quickly or when keeping the aircraft’s nose too high during the final approach when landing.
Azul Linhas Aereas Airbus A320NEO (PR-YRQ) received extensive fuselage damage in a tailstrike landing on runway 15 at Sao Paulo-Viracopos Intl AP (SBKP), Brazil. No one on flight #AD6970 from Recife was hurt. @portaoumhttps://t.co/klH54unqch pic.twitter.com/3slvyTXS3h
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) October 21, 2019
Generally speaking, minor tailstrikes are not dangerous. However, the aircraft does need to be inspected to ensure airworthiness and to prevent a more serious accident later in the aircraft’s life. If the fuselage has been compromised following a tailstrike, repairs can be complicated and expensive but need to be done to prevent structural failure later on.
The aircraft involved in the incident was less than two-years-old
The registration PR-YRQ belongs to an A320neo that was manufactured in 2017 and delivered new to Azul Linhas Aéreas in February 2017. Given the name “Blue is 10”, the aircraft is configured with Azul Linhas Aéreas’s standard 174 seats and powered by CFMI LEAP-1A26 engines.
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S/A or simply known as Azul is a Brazilian airline based in São Paulo. Azul founded by Brazilian-born American David Neeleman who also is the founder of New York-based JetBlue.
Right from its inception, Azul’s business plan was to fly to underserved markets in Brazil from its main base in São Paulo. After holding a naming contest in 2008, Azul which means the color blue in Portuguese, was chosen as the airline’s name.