On February 1, 2020, a Saudi Boeing 747-400F operated by ACT Airlines (MyCargo Airlines) scraped its tail along the runway 16R during takeoff at Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport. After takeoff, the aircraft stayed at 7000 feet and entered into a holding pattern just west of Dammam airport after the incident. Once it was confirmed that the damage was severe, the pilots climbed to 18000 feet and diverted to Jeddah Airport. The aircraft landed at Jeddah safely after two hours and fifty minutes.
Damage to the tail section of fuselage of the 747F. Image Credits: Aviation24
The 747F was registered as TC-MCT, performing flight SV919 from Dammam King Fahd Airport, Saudi Arabia to Zaragoza Airport, Spain. The aircraft took off from Dammam at 0243hrs local time. Conditions were clear without any adverse weather.
Flight Path of SV919 as seen on Flightradar24
According to reports, an investigation shall be launched as to why the aircraft struck its tail during rotation. The aircraft involved in the incident will be grounded until a thorough assessment of damage is completed and respective repairs are undertaken. Incidents like these are most likely to happen when, during takeoff, the aircraft attempts to rotate at a speed lesser than the recommended speed. The recommended speed depends on the load, environmental conditions, head wind, among other factors. An error in this calculation might be one of the reason behind the incident; however, this is just a speculation, and more details will be known once the investigation concludes.
Damage to the underbelly of the 747F. Image Credits: Avherald
As of now, after about 22 hours after the incident, the aircraft is grounded Jeddah, and is undergoing a detailed examination to confirm the extent of damages, which do look substantial. We are following this incident closely, and are awaiting details from the investigation. Stay tuned!