Frontier Airlines A320 Tilted up at KORD Gate on Saturday

(Not my words) A Frontier Airlines plane tilted up while at a gate at O’Hare Airport Saturday.
The Frontier plane arrived at O’Hare shortly before 7 p.m. and came to a stop at a gate. As passengers exited, the nose of the plane tipped up.

(My words) …Man this is scary. I was just on that exact flight at that exact airport a few ,onths back. I’m glad I wasn’t there today but wow I had thought about flying out in April/may instead of February. Really happy I didn’t. I’m glad no one was hurt.
This is the second frontier airlines incident with the first being the wingstrike with Southwest at Phoenix SkyHarbor a month back.


Here is the link to the Phoenix SkyHarbor incident:


What’s your scoop on this? I’m curious what people think is the cause for the rotation.

Wow this is crazy! Maybe they unloaded the cargo/ luggage from the front first making it lighter causing the front to tip up. Good thing you flew in February, not April.


I’m glad a school well but I feel bad for everyone who were near the incident as it was happening. Could you imagine standing next to the plane and someone tapping you on the shoulder and saying:
“Yeah the plane is moving up. It’s not supposed to do that right?”


That’s bad. It looks like it’s rotating and taking off from the gate.


Frontier cuts costs by reducing taxi times and taking off from the gate!

In all seriousness though, it must’ve been scary. Probably caused by an imbalance when the passengers left the aircraft, leaving some bags in back of the cargo hold behind.


That must be really scary! I guess there must be some weight imbalance which causes this. Glad that none was injured

It reminds me when people take Pirate Ship on amusement park 😱

I swear if this becomes logical reasoning and people don’t realize you’re joking…😂😂 because Frontier, as much as it does cut costs, still manages to be one of the best airlines out there.


Lmfao how did that even happen ;)


a few moments later…


O’hare ground: FRONTIER(**): what are you doing!

FRONTIER(**): Just trying out a new technique.

O’hare ground: 🤔😳😮

In all seriousness I think this was caused by the cargo being improperly loaded into the hold.


Looks like something that would happen on TS1


The joys of tail-tipping… happens all the time on 737s. I’m not even kidding on that one – the 737-900(ER)s are so long, Boeing designed a pole to attach to the tail to prevent loading issues. It looks like this:


UIA had a 73J tip over last year in Tel Aviv, and Delta had an incident in 2014 when a 737 tipped over, which introduced the tail-stands to DL’s fleet. AS followed suit soon after, and UA has special procedures regarding the unloading process of their 739s as well. Even the 737-800 is long enough to tip over in the correct circumstances, which occurred in AGP 5 years ago. And it’s not limited to the 737 either – 727s, DC-10s, and stretch DC-8s all have the same issue. Even the E170 has special procedures to prevent tail-tipping by removing aft cargo before anything else once a plane lands.

@SkyHighGuys The issue here is within the key words here - “as passengers exited.” Looking by the picture above, it seems no one had emptied any of the cargo bins or has even begun to remove any cargo, which caused the issue. As passengers deplaned, the weight of the passengers was no longer in the front of the aircraft while the heavier aft cargo was still in the back, shifting the centre of gravity aft past the landing gear and leading to a tip. Considering Frontier’s ground crew in ORD see regular flights to 10 destinations and seasonal flights to 13 more, you’d hope that the ground crew would have more experience handling F9 aircraft.


That’s amazing that It could happen! Especially with the heavy engines.

@Ryan_Vince told me about this the other day. He said that it was balanced wrong.

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How strong are those poles? Surely if an aircraft wanted to tip it would, wouldn’t the full weight snap the pole?

Rosie O’Donnell and Amy Schumer were flying together and decided to move to the back of the plane


Looking up the technical name for the tail-pole, the “tail support stand,” I found this pdf here from HALL Technical Services regarding both load rating and features:

It looks like tail tip stands are rated to 5 tons. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the incident Frontier aircraft (an A320) has any sort of tail-support pole. Even the A321, Frontier’s longest jet, doesn’t seem to have one on the market.

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O’hare ground, Frontier (flight number here) ready for takeoff at gate (whatever gate they leave from), departing south.
Ok in all seriousness this is pretty scary. I didn’t expect something like this to happen to Frontier. Still I’m glad no one was injured and the plane wasn’t damaged very much.

It could have been the wind. If the wind is strong enough then the plane could get airborne. This video shows a version of the phenomenon:


Excluding the fact that that is the empty shell of a plane, missing the fuel, the weight of passengers and cargo, and the engines.

A conservative measure of 160 passengers onboard an A320 would result in roughly 32,000 pounds (180 lbs/person and 20 lbs for baggage).

The engines were roughly 5,250 lbs/each, for a total of 10,500 pounds of weight.

Assuming the aircraft had contingency fuel and reserve fuel remaining, that should be a total of 4500 lbs (1000 lb estimate for contingency as 5% of trip fuel from DEN-ORD, 3300 lb estimate for fuel to reach DTW as an alternate airport).

Not to mention countless other factors, including the weight of the interior, whether the video aircraft has been tied down in any form, or the ratio of surface area on the 747 in the video compared to an A320 in the Frontier incident.

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