Nippon Cargo 747-8 Strikes Tail During Tokyo Go Around

A Nippon Cargo Boeing 747F has experienced a harsh tail strike during a go-around at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. The airframe was badly damaged, with approximately three meters of abrasion visible on the underside of the fuselage. The plane landed safely on its second attempt, and all crew were reported safe and well.

A Nippon Cargo 747-8 scraped its tail during a go-around yesterday. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia

Tail strike causes damage

Flight NCA258 is a regular rotation between Singapore and Tokyo Narita, operated by Nippon Cargo. The route makes a stop in Hong Kong for a few hours to transfer cargo on and off the plane, before arriving in Tokyo around 11 hours after leaving Singapore. Nippon Cargo flies the route weekly using a Boeing 747-8F.

This week, the departing flight from Singapore set off at 07:27 Singapore time, touching down safely in Hong Kong around three hours and 20 minutes later. After just under four hours on the ground, it took off once more, heading for its final destination of Tokyo Narita.

On approach to runway 16R, the crew initiated a go-around after touching down while traveling at 158 knots over ground. According to the Aviation Herald, this was due to a strong gust of wind. The aircraft climbed out initially slowly, at just 130 knots over ground, but made its way to an altitude of 8,000 feet before attempting a second landing.

Nippon Cargo 747-8 Strikes Tail During Tokyo Go Around
The incident occurred during a go-around attempt. Flight data via

The second landing was successful, around 15 minutes after the first attempt. However, it appears the go-around was somewhat misjudged, as post-flight inspections revealed a tail scrape of some 90cm in width and three meters in length.

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Japan Transport Safety Board investigating

As the aircraft was inspected before departing Hong Kong, the conclusion has been drawn that it could only have happened during the go-around at Narita. While no serious consequences were incurred by the crew onboard, the extent of the damage has caught the attention of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan.

The Ministry is so far classing it as a ‘serious incident,’ but AvHerald warns that this could be upgraded to an ‘accident’ following further investigations. The Japan Transport Safety Board has dispatched an accident investigator to the scene to establish exactly what happened.

Thankfully for the busy Narita Airport, an inspection of the runway has shown no significant anomalies. Should the aircraft have damaged the landing surface, the runway could have been out of action for some time.

The aircraft involved

The aircraft involved in the incident was a Nippon Cargo Airlines Boeing 747-8 freighter, registered JA13KZ. This is a 10 year old next-generation Boeing 747, which has been in service with the airline since its delivery in July 2012.

Nippon Cargo 747-8F
JA13KZ is one of eight 747-8F in service for Nippon Cargo. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Wikimedia

Flight data shows that the aircraft remains on the ground at Narita, likely pending inspections and potential repairs. It would be safe to assume that, despite the damage, it will be relatively easy to repair, and that we’ll see the young Boeing back in the skies before too long.

Nippon Cargo has a small fleet of freighters, with eight in total. All are the 747-8F, although, in the past, it has operated other variants of the cargo-carrying Queen.