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PA28 damaged due to open door

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PA28 damaged due to open door

Old 13th Mar 2022, 17:25
  #21 (permalink)  
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I'm sorry, I'm not saying this has happened but, on aircraft I've worked on, loss of panels, doors, cowlings can generally be divided into "darn, need a new panel" and "Jeez, this could take another big lump of the aircraft with it". In the latter category in my experience are Puma transmission deck cowlings, King Air upper engine cowlings, Navajo/Chieftain nose baggage doors, and I would include any crew door.

A Cessna 150/152/172 door is secured in flight at 3 points; 2 hinges and the latch. It is being suggested that one of these can be released and the other 2 put under stress outside their design certification.

Again, I'm not saying its a thing but, you know, be my guest.
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Old 13th Mar 2022, 18:52
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
Ahhhh, no it didn't, it popped open, and trailed a few inches upon, neither opening more, nor being willing to be closed. This should be trained as an acknowledge and ignore event. If everything else is fine, you can play with the rudder, and probably get it closed, but you can also break the door handle if you fight against it.

There is no excuse for loosing control of the airplane. As per FAA AC105-2c, all PA-28-140, 160 & 180s may be approved to fly with the cabin door removed.
Agree that unlatched PA-28 door is, or should be, a non event. For those not familiar with the aircraft the door has two front hinges and two latches. I expect the most common error is to takeoff with the upper latch not fastened. It's noisy but has no control impact. Far less likely is to fail to secure the top latch and the main aft latch. Still not a controllability problem.

Many years ago a pilot lost control of an aircraft over Phoenix and crashed in a back yard swimming pool. A door had opened in flight. Some time later a tow pilot who had towed me many times died when he lost control after the Pawnee engine cowling opened soon after takeoff. The distraction is real and can kill you but that doesn't necessarily mean the aircraft was not controllable.

I did learn the hard way that the 182 jump door does change performance when opened. I was in a nice controlled flare when the jumpmaster, who had ridden down with me to take the next load of static line students, opened the door. Landing was firm and he was asked not to do that again.

Last edited by EXDAC; 13th Mar 2022 at 19:18. Reason: Added "A door had opened in flight"
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Old 13th Mar 2022, 19:22
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Originally Posted by EXDAC View Post
Many years ago a pilot lost control of an aircraft over Phoenix and crashed in a back yard swimming pool. A door had opened in flight.
It was worse than I had remembered - https://www.upi.com/Archives/1988/06...7279581227200/
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Old 13th Mar 2022, 22:03
  #24 (permalink)  
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Cool Rattle and Bang, Bubbles and Squeak

Originally Posted by sherburn2LA View Post
As a student I once trapped the end of the seat belt in the door of a 150 which started making a hell of a racket. Without really thinking I popped open the door and pulled it in. The instructor only looked slightly askance at me.
I had the same thing happen to me, sherburn2LA, except I was solo in a 152. The clatter arose as I rotated and continued 'til ~ 400 msl when I diagnosed the problem, opened the pilot's-side door, and retrieved the metal-tipped belt. Then I restarted my heart! I shave my sparsely-populated pate, but my gray beard still has a special highlight streak of white on my chin which grew in after the incident.

- Ed
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Old 14th Mar 2022, 13:36
  #25 (permalink)  
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I flew many types of PA28, Cruiser, Warrior, Archer, and Dakota, and had no issue with the door becoming unlatched. I did however have a problem with a C172 having departed BWU (Sydney Bankstown) for YHOX (Liverpool Hoxton Park) after climbing out, at ca. 550ft. a massive noise of wind rush as the pax door became unlatched. a/s was 90kts.
I was able to reach over, and second attempt able to pull the door closed. I decided to return to BWU to check the lock on the a/c.
I wonder if a "Stabilized Approach Concept" would have made a difference to the outcome of the PA28 at Welshpool I had been taught this method, driving the PA28 cruiser in at a constant 75kts.?
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Old 14th Mar 2022, 14:04
  #26 (permalink)  
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I wouldn't have any problems with a C-172 or PA-28 door coming open and indeed during my distant training was taught to open a door during PFLs in case the subsequent arrival distorted the frame and trapped the occupants.

What I am not so sure about though is the DA-20 Katana I am flying at the moment. Its hinged in a way that it lifts and travels backwards and I don't know what the consequences might be of it coming unlatched at 120 kts. Certainly opening it on the ramp on a windy day meant it opened very briskly and needed to be held carefully to avoid it banging back onto the stops.

Any experiences with Diamonds ?
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Old 14th Mar 2022, 17:26
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I have door-off approval EOs for all my PA28s for aerial photography , one archer also has approval to fly with the baggage door removed. There are a few airspeed and bank angle limitations but thats all. Ive dropped skydivers from PA28, Islanders and C182s with various configurations some with roller doors some with door removed for the whole flight. Not sure why its a big deal in a non pressurised light aircraft?
Edited to add I would never get in an aircraft like the one described in the post above where it has a hinged canopy, apart from it coming open and blowung off, theres been people trapped in these things if they end up landing on the roof.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 14:30
  #28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BalusKaptan View Post
So true, it happens from time to time, not a big deal.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau though it was worth looking at: Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - 15

In particular, the research indicated that all 33 aircraft in the study were capable of
controlled flight with the door open. However the distraction, pre-occupation, channelized
attention, panic, etc. associated with a door opening in flight apparently affected 17 of the accident
pilots to such an extent that aircraft control was significantly degraded. This degradation led to
outcomes such as stalling, landing hard or with the gear up, flying into an object or the ground and
loss of control while attempting to close the door. In 11 of these 17 accidents, the pilot-incommand had over 500 hours total flying time.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 22:23
  #29 (permalink)  
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B2N2 & Ozgrade3 amongst others make good points around unintended door openings being something they've effectively taught. Along with others here I've experienced this issue several times (see BUMFFPITCHH.. H? for one example) thus I agree with what next that dealing with this should be a specific part of the training syllabus.

That said I'm not sure such training should be restricted to just door openings, and that dealing with other non-fatal uncommanded events that often occur with aircraft should also be taught - as much as it's possible to teach for things that are by nature unforeseen. I recall in my training an instructional flight that was all about 'unusual attitudes' and how to recover from them, but I do not think we did anything all - in flight - on how to deal with radio issues, opening doors, jammed controls and the like. Some of these things were discussed on the ground, but that's a very different thing to practical examples in the air - or even at least in a simulator.

So, to my mind, an 'unusual event' instructional flight should be a pre-requisite for a PPL, and in more detail perhaps for a CPL. Such training and flight could be used to assess the 'presence of mind' of the candidate - how they are able to deal with unusual occurrences yet fly the aircraft successfully at the same time.

Although the report on this accident is brief it seems to me the accident instructor might have benefited from such a segment in their training, examiners would have gained an insight into their ability in such situations, and we may not have been discussing this event...


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Old 15th Mar 2022, 22:40
  #30 (permalink)  
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I had about five hours total time the first time a door came open. (I hadn't latched it properly because it was a different airplane than I had had my first four previous lessons in, and it had to be actually latched, not just slammed like in the other airplane). It opened right after take off.

The instructor said, "Your door is open."
I said, "I know," and did nothing.
"Aren't you going to close it?" she asked.
"No. I'm flying the plane." So I had >that< much experience and already someone had taught me that flying the plane was first priority.
She reached over me and closed the door.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 22:43
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
Was that the same Cliff Barnett who tragically lost his life in a twin engined aircraft accident involving a mid air collision? If so, he sent me off for my first powered solo, at Ipswich in 1973.
it was indeed the same Cliff Barnett. A very laid back and excellent instructor who took me from zero to PPL in five weeks at Ipswich. He went on to become the light aircraft correspondent for Flight International and I believe he was on assignment for them when the accident happened.
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Old 16th Mar 2022, 07:07
  #32 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by letMfly View Post
He went on to become the light aircraft correspondent for Flight International and I believe he was on assignment for them when the accident happened.
He died along with Flight photographer and Propliner enthusiast Steve Piercey and a South American photographer in an Aztec while doing air to air photography with a Beech 1900 at the Hannover Air Show in 1984. The 1900 landed safely.
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Old 17th Mar 2022, 14:07
  #33 (permalink)  
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Not only doors, Id open the windows too on Cessna aircraft.
I would always brief it before hand, the what if scenario, at a non towered airport takeoff with one or both windows open.
Then prior to solo pop mine unexpectedly.
Bring Florida in the summertime wed mostly do slow flight excercises with the windows open anyway.
Even though technically there isnt one Id use Vfe as max window open speed.
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Old 23rd Mar 2022, 07:30
  #34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by B2N2 View Post
What an utter lack of skill and understanding on the part of the instructor.
An open door in a Pa28 is a complete non event.
No student of mine ever flew solo without having flown at least one pattern with the door open. Half the time I was the one that forgot to latch it properly in the first place.

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Old 23rd Mar 2022, 08:13
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Originally Posted by VH-UFO View Post
Let me provide a little more context to that remark. Flight instruction at a busy school in Florida, 5-8 flights a day in all different aircraft that are all 30+ years old with tens of thousands of airframe hours and less then perfect latches aka junk aircraft.
Yes, Ive forgotten a door or two as this one just needed a slam, the other one need a slam and a twist and the third one needed voodoo incantations to even get the engine started let alone close a door.
Yes, guilty..never pranged one though.
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Old 23rd Mar 2022, 23:00
  #36 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by B2N2 View Post
..... No student of mine ever flew solo without having flown at least one pattern with the door open. ......
Quite. The doors on some 150s/152s I flew were quite adept at springing open so I always used to brief it to students ... and it quite often happened at least once during their training. Once the venturi effect opens the door a few cm, airflow takes over to keep it from opening any more - even if they try to push it open further.

Did have an amusing moment in later life when, in a Trislander, my pax passed a note up to me from the back explaining the rear-most door had opened as I rotated. As there were now, effectively, 2 pax sat back aft on one seat staring wide-eyed at the gap beside the other seat, I decided it was prudent to fly a quick circuit and land back on and sort it out. They took it in good spirit once I explained what had happened and what a non-event it was. Did have a quiet word with the ground staff who dispatched me when I next saw them tho!
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