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Old 8th Mar 2006, 04:24   #1 (permalink)
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Red face Opening Airbus doors in flight. Facts? Trials?

I presume manufacturers test their doors to see if passengers could open them in flight at high levels.

I would like to know if my presumption is correct.

Does anyone have any info on this subject?

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Old 8th Mar 2006, 04:37   #2 (permalink)
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Most doors are plug type so, if the bird is pressurised, even Arnie at his peak would have been struggling for no purpose ...
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 05:05   #3 (permalink)
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That's not may not be true for doors designed to JAA standards. They have to have a pressure relief vent that opens ahead of the main door. Beleive you have to be able to open it against a 0.5 psi pressurized cabin. But I agree it's not designed for high altitude use just to overcome pre-pressurization loads after an aborted takeoff.

All our flight test birds have powered doors (hydraulic ram) that can be opened at high altitudes but are also fitted with special cabin overboard vents that can bring cabin pressure right to ambient rather a preset maximum cabin altitude.
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 05:26   #4 (permalink)
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Comfortable with that .. but presumed the question related to pulling the main door.

I presume that your flight test article operation is for exit ?
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 06:41   #5 (permalink)
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I have heard of a fatal accident on the toulouse final assembly line last year, when two mechanics were still working inside an aircraft while others performed the pressurisation test. They managed to open a door with the fuselage already well pressurized and were blown out of the door onto the hard hangar floor.
For the very same reason a warning light in the door window shows ground staff that there is some pressure remaining, so they don´t open it from the outside and are blown back down the stairs.
So it is possible to open the doors with some cabin pressure, but I don´t know if it is still possible when fully pressurized. There is some component of inward movement for the plug type doors, but this is small (just a few millimeters) and the lever is big. Maybe one of these guys that pull trucks with their teeth can open such door at cruising altitude.
The rules do not require that it is impossible to open plug type doors at full pressure, they just require that the pressure loads push them towards the closed position.
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 06:42   #6 (permalink)
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Open doors during pressurized flight....?

Hardly possible in-flight with up to 2-tons pressure per square foot on the doors, primarily because fuselage doors have to hinge inward first before they can be opened outward. The inward movement is evident as you rotate the door handle to the open position. Inside-fuselage doors on the DC10 and L10 also first move inward before they retract upward into the ceiling. Because of the extreme cabin pressure, the inward hinged vent plugs on cargo doors cannot be opened either.
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 06:57   #7 (permalink)
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Impossible to open in flight due to pressurisation loads and the flight locks these are activated at approx 70 Knots.Never heard of the accident in Toulouse not sure if this is possible but presumably the flight locks were not activated(aircraft in ground mode) but would still require some power to open the door even with a modest amount of pressure in the cabin.
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 07:54   #8 (permalink)
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related story... if you haven't seen before...

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Old 9th Mar 2006, 04:18   #9 (permalink)
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Not all doors (even Main ones) are plug type. The Main Door on CRJs is held in place by camlocks - the edge seal is pressurized. Similar with DC-10 and, if memory serves, 747 cargo doors. Remember Ermonville & Windsor both happened after the cams didn't go overcenter. Check out "Destination Disaster" which should be required reading for all engineers.

And John, you're right, if we ever did depressurize our next action would be abandon aircraft - normally out through the belly via a mod'd avionics bay hatch or the aft baggage bay door.
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 04:50   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you gentlemen. It would appear that the question is answered.

The next time I have to calm a FA or PAX who is worried about whistling seals I'll be able to sound twice as convincing.

Thanks again.
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 06:10   #11 (permalink)
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Talk about spooky timing... this headline from today's Sydney Morning Herald
Mid-air scare: bid to open plane door.
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 12:07   #12 (permalink)
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cold wx ops

Similar to the accident mentioned, engineers at my northern base (Minneapolis) would leave APU running and manually close the outflow valve. One morning an engineer went up the maintenance ladder and opened L1, aircraft was slightly pressurized and the man was blown to the ground (broken leg).
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 12:18   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ab Initio
Talk about spooky timing... this headline from today's Sydney Morning Herald
Mid-air scare: bid to open plane door.
What kind of jet was it?
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Old 11th Mar 2006, 00:38   #14 (permalink)
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Five years ago a Philippine Airlines A330 was hijacked by a mentally deranged person. Aside from the obligatory gun, he also had a homebuilt parachute. At some point, after passing a collection hat around for money and jewelry, he demanded to be let off the plane. The flight crew was only too happy to oblige--a member of the cabin crew opened the rear door and allowed the hijacker to jump off at 6,000 feet or so. Shades of D.B. Cooper! Except this guy, or what was left of him, was found in a muddy river bank.

I am not A330 rated so I don't know exactly what the crew needed to do to open the door.
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Old 11th Mar 2006, 01:36   #15 (permalink)
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Matkat, what are these flight locks you speak of?
Never seen them on any aircraft type i've worked. Are they on the biz jets or such?
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Old 11th Mar 2006, 13:38   #16 (permalink)
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Got an incident, a year ago, where a passenger travelling from Banjul to Geneva tried to open the rear right door during flight.

It happened during cruise near top of descent.
We were already having troubles with a thrust lever stuck, then when we saw the caution light "cabin door not shut", we thought of a contactor problem. (as it happens quite a lot)
In fact no, it was actually a passenger willing to open the door.

We were first thinking of landing asap with police upon arrival... but we also were thinking of leaving some positive pressure until the guy'd cool down.
Because, hey, at 30.000 ft, no way to open the door, but at 5000 ft? or 3000 ft? especially if you descend like a bullet and the pressu system cannot follow

Well finally when cabin crew and passengers talked to him, he said he wanted to go to the toilets

So rest of flight uneventful (except for the thrust lever stuck )

But on the ground, the guy had no passport anymore.

Guess where it was? torn to pieces in the toilet.
The reason? He wanted to throw it outside the plane, but as he couldn't manage to open the door...

Nevertheless, what do you get at 3000 ft? still 1 PSI? 1 pound per square inch, must be quite hard to move?
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