In aviation, a tail strike is an event in which the rear end of an aircraft strikes the runway. This can happen during takeoff of a fixed-wing aircraft if the pilot pulls up too rapidly, leading to the rear end of the fuselage touching the runway. It can also occur during landing if the pilot raises the nose too aggressively. This is often the result of an attempt to land nearer to the runway threshold.
A tail strike is physically possible only on an aircraft with tricycle landing gear; with a tail dragger configuration, the tail is already on the ground. Some aircraft, which require a high angle of attack on takeoff, are fitted with small tail wheels to prevent tail strikes. Examples include the Concorde and Saab Draken. Some aircraft, such as the Diamond Aircraft Industries Diamond DA20, have a skid installed to protect the air frame in the event of a tail strike.
Tail strike incidents rarely cause significant damage or cause danger, but may cause financial losses as the planes have to be thoroughly inspected and repaired. However, improper repair to the damaged air frame after a tail strike accident may cause a later structural failure after repeated cycles of pressurization and depressurization at the weak point.