An Air India aircraft suffered a tail strike while taking off from Pune airport on Saturday, February 15, 2020. The incident has led to the damage of the aircraft as per the reports available. The aircraft which has suffered damage is the Airbus A321 which was flying for Delhi. The flight bound for Delhi from Pune was forced to take an early lift-off after the pilot realised there were incursions on the runway. As soon the Airbus A321 was ready to take off, the pilot suspected a runway incursion and executed an early rotation. However, the early rotation did not cause any problem at the moment.
Air India Pune-Delhi Flight Suffers Damage
In under two hours, the Air India flight made a landing at Delhi airport, where the ground crew noticed the damage done to the fuselage and noted the tail strike. The early lift-off of the flight happened at 130 knots. It is worth noting that as per the available reports, the runway incursion is likely to be a Jeep and a person who were on the runway at the instance. There is no report on why the vehicle and the person was present on the runway at that time.
DGCA Grounds Aircraft
The regulatory body in India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has opened up an investigation in the matter to find the reasons for the damage. However, as per the Indian Air Force, a vehicle was doing routine on the runway from where the Air India flight was taking off. After this damage, the aircraft has been grounded and will be searched for further damage.
Tail Strike Not a Common Happening
It is worth noting that a tail strike is not something that happens frequently on the flights and could be severe too. The strange thing about the incident is that none of the passengers, crew or the captains were aware of the tail strike when it happened and it also does not appear that the crew was informed of the damage. Amidst its cash struggle and reeling debt and the preparation for privatisation, the airline is now short of another working aircraft.
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