Oops: British Airways A350 Damaged In Heathrow Tail Strike

A British Airways A350 scored a trip to the London Heathrow Maintenance hangar after landing at the airport on Sunday afternoon. G-XWBC had to go around after attempting to land on runway 27L. A tailstrike prompted the go-around and led to the temporary closure of the runway.

A British Airways A350 (exact registration not pictured) was damaged during a tail strike at the weekend. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

While best avoided, tail strikes do happen from time to time. When this does happen, it could mean anything from a little bit of scratched paintwork to structural damage. While some aircraft had inbuilt measures to defend against tail strikes, this isn’t the case for many newer jets once they leave the testing phase.

Airbus A350 damaged in London

On Sunday, G-XWBC was landing in London following flight BA 104 from Dubai. While the flight appears to have largely taken place without incident, it was noticeable that the aircraft went around at Heathrow and then landed on the airport’s other runway. We now know that the plane experienced a tail strike landing on Heathrow’s Runway 27L, which prompted the go-around.

Following the tailstrike, the aircraft landed safely on Runway 27R a short while later. The incident led to 27L being closed to landing aircraft a short while later while an inspection was carried out. G-XWBC landed at around 14:43. At roughly the same time, the Heathrow Noise Twitter account confirmed that a runway change would be taking place due to “circumstances beyond our control”.

Commenting on the incident, a British Airways spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“The aircraft landed safely and customers and crew have all disembarked.”

Not the first BA A350 incident

This isn’t the first time a British Airways Airbus A350 has been involved in an incident. G-XWBD was damaged in an Airbus hangar before it was even delivered. In January 2020, the aircraft experienced a hard landing in Tel Aviv. Some worried that G-XWBD might be cursed after it experienced a third incident just a month later. While landing in Toronto, the aircraft reported a hydraulic failure. Thankfully, it seems that the plane isn’t cursed after all, as all flights with it since have been completed without incident.

British Airways, Airbus A350, Collision
A British Airways Airbus A350 collided with an Emirates Boeing 777 in Dubai in 2020. Photo: Nigels/Nigellas via @Airline_Kitty

G-XWBD isn’t the only British Airways A350 to have suffered an incident. Like G-XWBC on Sunday, G-XWBA has also experienced an incident during a Dubai rotation. In April 2020, G-XWBA was being pushed back when its vertical stabilizer cut into that of an Emirates Boeing 777. The aircraft remained on the ground in Dubai until the damage had been repaired.

Oops: British Airways A350 Damaged In Heathrow Tail Strike
A BA 787-8 was damaged after the nose gear collapsed last summer. Photo: Reposted with kind permission of @airline_kitty

Like G-WXBA, G-XWBC will now remain at Heathrow until it is deemed safe to fly. Hopefully, this won’t take as long as when a Boeing 787-8’s gear collapsed at Heathrow. In that case, the aircraft was out of action for around five months.

What do you make of this Airbus A350 incident? Let us know in the comments.

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