I have been told that tail strikes on take off and landing are rare but do occur. I think, in my mind, the tail touching the ground at all would just make the tail fall off, but it appears I was wrong. In most of cases of tail strikes I've read about the plane is able to either continue on it's journey or can simply circle back to the field it departed from.
So I'm wondering, what do big commercial aircraft manufacturers (like Boeing and Airbus) do to keep tail strikes from turning into a major disaster? How do they engineer the plane to survive the incident?