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Last updated: 17 January 2022
Fecha:viernes 14 noviembre 2003
Tipo:Silhouette image of generic B744 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 747-422
Operador:United Airlines
Registración: N178UA
Numéro de série: 24385/820
Año de Construcción: 1990-10-23 (13 years )
Horas Totales de la Célula:57337
Motores: 4 Pratt & Whitney PW4056
Tripulación:Fatalidades: 0 / Ocupantes: 21
Pasajeros:Fatalidades: 0 / Ocupantes: 335
Total:Fatalidades: 0 / Ocupantes: 356
Daños en la Aeronave: Considerable
Consecuencias: Repaired
Ubicación:San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO) (   Estados Unidos de América)
Fase: Despegue (TOF)
Naturaleza:Vuelo Internacional Programado
Aeropuerto de Salida:San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO/KSFO), Estados Unidos de América
Aeropuerto de Llegada:Hong Kong-Chek Lap Kok International Airport (HKG/VHHH), Hong Kong
Número de Vuelo:UA805
United Airlines Flight 805, a Boeing 747-422, N178UA, experienced a tail strike on rotation at San Francisco, California, USA.
The first officer was the Pilot Flying (PF), and the airplane departed on runway 10L. The winds were 180 at 16, gusting to 22 knots. The takeoff roll was normal, and the PF utilized control wheel input to correct for the crosswind. A few seconds after rotation, the PF noted the stick shaker annunciate, and responded by gently easing back pressure off the control yoke. The captain and a relief pilot felt a nose wheel vibration following the takeoff.
The air traffic control tower contacted the flight crew alerting them of a possible tail strike after observing smoke from the airplane at rotation. The crew returned to land at San Francisco. Evaluation of the damage resulted in structural repair to two structural members.

Probable Cause:

A tail strike due to a combination of the wind shifting from a headwind to a tailwind during rotation, and the pilot's control inputs for the crosswind condition.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 5 months
Accident number: LAX04LA050
Download report: Final report


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from San Francisco International Airport, CA to Hong Kong-Chek Lap Kok International Airport as the crow flies is 11053 km (6908 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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