Door opens in flight: what would you do?

I tried to find this flight to see if he diverted, but could not find any diversions over the weekend. Most likely was this flight: … /KBIL/KGPI

“A cargo door came unlatched on an airborne Alpine Air Express plane carrying mail from Billings to Kalispell at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, but it is uncertain whether any mail was lost.”
The Beechcraft 99 twin engine turboprop was about 40 miles north of Lewistown when the pilot noted a light on the instrument panel came on indicating the door was unlatched. Because there was about 3,000 pounds of mail cargo in between the pilot and the door, he couldn’t close it. Mallette said that because the door is located below the plane’s airstream, even when open it wouldn’t compromise the ability to fly and land the plane. … mode=story

I’ve had the crew door to a PA-31 pop open on me twice. Once in Alaska coming out of Coldfoot on a CAVU day with a boat load of tourist. I was lucky to have a passenger in the FO seat and between the two of us we managed to get the door closed.
The second time was coming out of KBOK brookings OR, (2900 of usable runway) The weather was 1/4 in fog and as I got about halfway down the runway “POP” the door popped open. I couldn’t abort the Takeoff cause I didn’t have the room to stop.
After I got to cruse, I tried to get the door closed, in the end I was only able to get the upper portion latched, at one point It was snowing in the cockpit. I can tell you that in the winter time on the southern Oregon coast at 8,000ft and the door partially open, the janitrol heater in a PA-31 will not keep you warm.

You’ve had quite a career! :open_mouth:

Remind me to never fly with Jason! I’ve had a few interesting moments, but holy crap.

Jason you need to start writing these down before the memories fade. Make a great book when you retire.

(I’ll fly with you J, lightning rarely strikes THREE times in the same place!) :wink:

I wouldn’t’ t stand by the door, that’s for sure.

If you spend enough time flying aircraft that have been used and abused you are bound to have something out of the norm happen.
I only have 6,000+ hours (that’s not a lot) but most of that time is flying AC that are far older then me in conditions that aren’t ideal (logged 1031 hours of actual IMC)
The worst thing I’ve had happen in the last two years was the emergency pressurization system kicked in at FL410, never lost cabin pressure but having unfiltered bleed-air feed directly into the cabin for 15+ min was not fun.

JHEM- Thanks bro!

When I can’t sleep, I often watch the flights that pop up on FA in the middle of the night in my area - they’re always hauling freight in some ancient flying machines from some BFE to another BFE - over us as we sleep at night. I’ve always found that type of stuff fascinating for some reason - I bet most of those guys have similar stories to yours Jason. If anything, it keeps you on your toes! And likewise - I’d fly with you. If you haven’t been downed by a goose, depressurization, storms, IMC, instrument failures and whatever else God has thrown your way, you can probably hold your own up there.


Had the same thing in a Lear 35 at FL430. Gets hot fast.
Freight Doggin it :wink:

Just open a window! :wink:

Or pull the power back.

If you fly for very long you’ve had a door come open. Rule #1, fly the airplane. At some point, and a higher altitude, you can try to close it. Some doors will close in flight, some won’t.

John in Saudi tomorrow.

Had it happen on a C-12 (Beech King Air 200) and a P-3. Door light came on but door didn’t pop. Pilots descended to 9K or so and we continued on (we were about an hour out in both instances).

Ah yes, the old sticky micro switch. I had an old mechanic tell me years ago that most squawks he worked ended up being indication problems rather than system defects.
When a door opens for real, it’s usually right at lift-off and you don’t need no stinking light to tell you about it.

Well since no one is embarrassed here…same here in a Cherokee 180 several yrs ago. During the climbout immediately after lifting off. Scared the living crap out of me. Whats worse I was by myself. Flying the airplane with my left hand and reaching over trying to push out and slam it back shut with my right. Felt like forever. We all know whose ultimate fault that was. Door secured and locked, check. :blush:

Which brings me to another embarassing moment…anybody else ever takeoff in a single (it happened in a C-172), by themselves, obviously, and close the pax door side only to realize the loud thumping coming from that side is the seatbelt dangling for God and Country to see it? :blush:

oh yeah, makes a gawdaful racket.

Beechluvr wrote:
anybody else ever takeoff in a single (it happened in a C-172), by themselves, obviously, and close the pax door side only to realize the loud thumping coming from that side is the seatbelt dangling for God and Country to see it? Embarassed


have a long seat belt and slam the excess in the door of a C-210 or C206 and have the damn thing slap the sh*t out of the outside. I got smart the second time and just yanked the belt up so there wasn’t as much handing out.

I’ve got video of mine in an Archer. I always am the one the latches the top latch on the door before we start the engine, no matter who I’m with. The latch on this one sometimes doesn’t engage properly, so when you turn the lever, it still has enough resistance to feel like it’s latching but the latch does not engage. This is with my friend Gary (Right seat) who was an CFII about 20 years ago and is getting back into it, and a railroad friend of mine in the back seat whom I’ve just gotten addicted to this drug called flying.
We taxi out, and on the checklist you can even see the little hole open up when Gary checks it, but neither of us pick up on it. We begin the takeoff and Gary feels a draft. STill not seeing any light we are at rotate speed and as we lift off I notice that it’s not latched. Since it wasn’t the whole door, and since we were already airborne, I elected to continue into to pattern altitude and we were going to land and close it properly. You can’t hear it but I told Gary not to worry about it, we’ll get it on the ground, as I didn’t want it to latch with all the air pressure and possibly bend the door. He got it though and we continued the flight.
Not a complete open door , and definitely easier to deal with than the larger aircraft discussed, but at any rate, it was a good excersize in flying the airplane. Definitely a good reminder to check BOTH latches on those Cherokee doors.

:blush: :blush: :blush: oops video here :blush: :blush: :blush:

pfp217 You have a GNS 430? Man I could nav my way to f-ing mars if they gave me something fancy like that

I haven’t tried it myself, but Id imagine Mars is loaded in the database.

See that’s my impress the ladies rental there. A 77 Archer with HSI, and the 430

I usually slum it in the 77 Warrior, which is dual VOR at best (when the VOR2 is not flaggin), no GPS, not even an ADF.

In all honesty though, that flight and every other I do, I had a complete flight log with dead reckoning as well as had my landmarks (usually imaginary VOR intersections) figured and such. I just prefer doing it the old way, I think it gives me vindication for sucking in math class so bad!
I don’t have too much experience with GPS as a whole, most of the time was on the old orange and black KLN89, so when I fly the Arhcer, it’s a back up and I’m still learning really.

edited because my HTML skills suck!

I wasn’t the PF, just the guy in the right seat insisting that he had properly closed and latched the door in a 310 (IIRC) that I chartered to take me to an oil spill site in Manistee, MI.

We had barely left the ground when, you guessed it, the top latch popped open. Rather than turn around and land, I said I’d try something. I took the strap off my camera and led it up and over the top latch. I was than able to pull the latch down enough that when fully extended it engaged the locking pin and I was able to get the door secured.

I spent the remainder of the flight keeping my hands and feet away from the controls while looking sheepishly out the window. :blush: