Singapore Airlines Airbus A330 Suffers Tail Strike On Landing

A Singapore Airlines A330 has hit its tail on the tarmac when coming into land at Yangon International Airport (RGN) but managed to correct itself and continue to a safe stop. Passengers were disembarked safely but the aircraft was unable to perform its scheduled return flight.

Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK
Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300. Photo: Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

What are the details?

Singapore flight SQ-998 was coming in for a routine landing at Yangon International Airport from Singapore when the aircraft managed to hit its tail on the runway. This is known as a ‘tail strike’ incident and is treated just a seriously as any other collision with the surface (apart from wheels obviously).

The aircraft managed to roll on through the collision and continue to a normal stop at the end of the runway and proceed to disembark passengers normally. The report from The Aviation Herald makes no mention of any debris or other broken parts being left behind so we can assume that it was more of a bump than a strike.

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The route of the flight. Photo: Flight Radar 24

However, better safe than sorry, the Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 (tail number 9V-SSI) was grounded pending further maintenance and inspection. Outbound passengers were informed they would have to wait for a replacement aircraft.

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And boy what a wait it was. The new Boeing 777-200 delivering those passengers on flight SQ-997 to Singapore arrived approximately seven and a half hours behind schedule.

As for the tail strike aircraft, well it is still sitting there at Yangon awaiting inspection over 70 hours since the flight. It may have been much more serious than first anticipated and Singapore will need to go over every part of the aircraft to ensure that it is flight worthy again.

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Simple Flying reached out to Singapore Airlines and received this reply:

“Singapore Airlines can confirm that flight SQ998, an Airbus A330-300 aircraft operating from Singapore to Yangon on Monday 25 November, suffered some damage upon landing in Yangon Airport due to a suspected tail strike. The aircraft taxied to the terminal uneventfully and all passengers disembarked normally.
Engineers assessed the damage to the aircraft, and a relief aircraft was sent to Yangon to operate the return flight SQ997, which departed Yangon at 1823LT.
The occurrence is being investigated by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau of Myanmar. SIA will cooperate closely with the AAIB and also conduct its own internal investigation”

What is the Singapore Airlines A330-300 like?

Despite having an impressively new fleet of modern aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, Singapore Airlines still has some older aircraft like the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 to operate some of its regional routes.

The aircraft is set out with two classes with business with 30 seats in five rows of 2-2-2. The seats are angle flat, and have 60 inches of pitch. It is for this reason that Singapore operates the routes within short to medium-haul routes as they are not really up to the standard that Singapore operates on their long haul fleet. For reviews of their long haul A350 and 787, you can watch them here.

That being said, it is really still quite fantastic for its purpose.

Singapore
Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 regional business class. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Economy features 255 32-inch seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. This configuration is great for couples as they can sit together alone, whilst families can get a whole row of four seats across.

What do you think? Could this be a serious incident? Let us know in the comments.

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Gerry Stumpe

Tail strike by itself is not usually serious unless the rear bulkhead has been compromised. If not detected then you can have an explosive decompression event the next time it takes to the air. This is real serious. What is mostly of concern is the obvious inability of the pilots to maintain optimum flare. This is pilot error, pure and simple.

Andrew

The A330s in Singapore Airline’s fleet are just great in economy .. spacious and a great seating configuration. Much preferred to their new 787s.