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Could A Passenger Have Fallen Out Of Plane?  
User currently offlineJetjeanes From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1430 posts, RR: 1
Posted (6 years 3 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 12186 times:

Has anyone ever heard this story in any faa detailed reports.
On June 29, 1968, the Purdue Aviation Corporation charter flight was carrying 23 passengers from Kankakee, Illinois to a national Lion's Club convention in Dallas, Texas. It was a clear summer day without a cloud in the sky. Somewhere over Rolla, Missouri, Jerrold I. Potter excused himself to use the restroom and proceeded to make his way to the rear tail section of the plane. Mrs. Potter watched her husband walk down the aisle as he stopped to briefly chat with James Schaive, president of a Lion's Club in Ottawa, Illinios. She then turned to watch the beautiful scenery below. She never saw her husband again, dead OR alive. After a few minutes the plane seemed to shudder for only a few seconds and as it seemed to be only passing turbulence, no one paid it much attention. But when Mr. Potter hadn't returned after what had seemed an undue length of time Mrs. Potter grew concerned. She asked a stewardess to please check the lavatory for her husband. At about the same time, pilot Miguel Raul Cabeza noticed one of the "DOOR OPEN" warning lights was flashing. He asked the co-pilot Roy Bacus to investigate. Not wanting to cause concern among the passengers, Bacus calmly walked to the rear of the plane. On the way, the same stewardess Mrs. Potter had spoken with informed Mr. Bacus a passenger may be missing. The co-pilot surveyed the rear and found that indeed the exit door near the lavatory was slightly ajar, the same door the flashing warning light had indicated. Since the DC-3 wasn't pressurized, the cracked door hadn't caused any noticeable problems. Mr. Bacus found a chain used to keep the emergency door closed lying on the ground. He then reported his findings to the captain who speculated that when the plane was shaken, Mr. Potter had probably fallen against the door and when the safety chain broke, fallen out of the aircraft. But in a later report, it was noted that just because the chain had broken, the cumbersome emergency door handle still needed to be turned 180 degrees, and while this particular door handle was often a little harder to budge than the other hatchways, it would have been even harder to open in flight. No one had seen Mr. Potter fall, nor did they hear a scream or even any kind of commotion. One person said, "..it was as if he just vanished. One minute he was there, the next he was gone." Did Mr. Potter commit suicide then? Friends and family firmly rule that possibility out. He was, by all accounts, a happy person with a comfortable life and good friends. So what DID happen to Jerrold I. Potter? After making the discovery of the chain, the captain requsted permission to land, and did so in Springfield, Missouri. An intensely thorough search was made for Mr. Potter along the DC-3's flight path, but his body was never found, nor were any clues as to what might have happened.


i can see for 80 miles
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKingAir200 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1611 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 12147 times:

Ruling out any sort of conspiracy or stunt, I would think he had to have jumped/fallen out of the airplane. If he actually got on and was not found during a subsequent search of the airplane, I don't know what else could have happened to him.


Hey Swifty
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 12055 times:



Quoting Jetjeanes (Thread starter):
Has anyone ever heard this story in any faa detailed reports.

Raul Cabeza (like many ex-Purdue folks) was a pilot for Southwest Airlines in the formative years, and many of us in those days had heard about the incident, but never a firm conclusion as to what really happened. We'll probably never know....


User currently offlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 6177 posts, RR: 30
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 12036 times:
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How is it possible for a body falling from a DC-3 to not hit the tailplane structure?


MGGS
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25117 posts, RR: 22
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 11948 times:



Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
How is it possible for a body falling from a DC-3 to not hit the tailplane structure?

DC-3s and C-47s have dropped many parachutists over the years including tens of thousands of paratroops during WWII and other conflicts.





User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7873 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11379 times:



Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
How is it possible for a body falling from a DC-3 to not hit the tailplane structure?

Don't forget, even though wind resistant is great, the first instant someone jumps out of a plane they are going the same speed the plane is. You will sink faster than it takes for the air resistance to slow you down and hit the tail. But this is not true for every aircraft, especially the faster ones.



Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 11211 times:

On November 3, 1973, National Airlines flight #27 was flying between Houston and Las Vegas, when the #3 engine disintegrated. Flying pieces of the engine acted as shrapnel and punctured the fuselage, including the window by row 19. The passenger seated there, despite heroic efforts to keep him in, was sucked out of the fuselage.

In the ensuing investigation, many pieces of the engine were found, but the majority of the engine fan blades - and the body of the unfortunate passenger - were never found.

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19731103-0

For further reading on this, I recommend MacArthur Job's "Air Disaster" volume one for his outstanding and meticulous work.

It's not the same situation as the one you described, but it is the only similiar situation that I know of. A depressurized plane certainly changes the parameters, and from what it sounds like, it is possible.



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineTylerDurden From United States of America, joined May 2008, 852 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 11123 times:



Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 6):
The passenger seated there, despite heroic efforts to keep him in, was sucked out of the fuselage

If I'm nost mistaken, you're going from higher pressure to lower pressure---so blown out of the fuselage--not sucked.


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 11070 times:

I have a few flights in DC-3's. Some with the aft door open for parachuting, most without. But never on a US charter or scheduled carrier passenger flight.

I can absolutely believe a passenger could accidently or purposely cause the door to open and fall out.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 10988 times:



Quote:
If I'm nost mistaken, you're going from higher pressure to lower pressure---so blown out of the fuselage--not sucked.

I'm not sure either...but vacuum cleaners operate by creating a suction whereby the pressure differential (lower in the vacuum than the floor) "sucks" the dirt and materials up. In the DC-10 scenario, the outside pressure pulled the unfortunate passenger out, versus an inside force pressing him out.

In any case, it's an awful thing.



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 10975 times:

There was a Service Bulletin issued for Dash8s, to remove the sign for the lavatory. This was done because th sign is right next to the main cabin door handle, and more than one passenger has attempted to open the door inflight. The interesting thing is, the brain must just shutoff sometimes because this handle is a big lever, and dosen't resemble a normal lav doorknob in any way. Possibly the poor gent did the same thing, and opened the wrong door.

User currently offlineOtnySASLHR From Spain, joined May 2007, 131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 10915 times:

I won't say that it would be impossible for anyone to open a DC3 door in flight but I think highly unlikely.
The effort needed to push the door against the slipstream would be considerable. Put your hand out of the window of a car travelling at 60mph with your palm facing the direction of travel - the air exerts a fair pressure on your hand. Now imagine doing 3 times that speed and instead of the approx 24square inches of your hand say 5ft 6in x 2ft 6in = approx 2000 square inches of the aircraft door - that's 80 times bigger than your hand. I'm sure somebody out there could give the comparative pressure figures but I'm sure you get my drift.
I'm sure also that people would have noticed the increased noise levels if the door had been opened.
However, whatever happened it remains a mystery that's for sure
Tony



oTny
User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 10817 times:



Quoting OtnySASLHR (Reply 11):
I'm sure also that people would have noticed the increased noise levels if the door had been opened.

Noise levels in a DC-3 are pretty danged high, and I don't remember there being much, in any, of a difference between noise levels in a DC-3 with the door closed or one with an open door for parachute jumping.

Of course it was louder right by the door, where I took some video. But two rows forward - about the same. The closer to the front you get the louder the engines which would cancel the increased noise of the door.

The story does indicate there was enough impact upon the flight characteristic that the cockpit crew noticed something was unusual.


User currently offlineFsnuffer From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 250 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8902 times:

We did have a woman commit suicide from an HP Twin Otter while I worked there

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/US/12/18/woman.plane/index.html

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20010110X00078&key=1


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3811 posts, RR: 34
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8790 times:



Quoting Fsnuffer (Reply 13):
We did have a woman commit suicide from an HP Twin Otter while I worked there

I was just going to post this. Here's a transcript of the news story that aired and the text of part of the 911 call. That was really a strange case.

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineAdriaticus From Mexico, joined May 2004, 1137 posts, RR: 19
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8510 times:

IIRC, a passenger was blown out of a Greek airliner in-flight sometime in the late 70's / early 80's, when something ruptured the fuselage between a cargo door and the wing. I distinctly remember a picture of the ruptured fuselage in bare metal, white and dark blue - but cannot recall which airline or aircraft type that was.

In fact, that image is what makes me buckle up and stay like that each and every time I fly - not the security announcements, not the stories of horrendous turbulences with broken arms (I witnessed one of those during a transpacific flight in 1986), but the rememberance of that hole in the fuselage and thinking of the poor pax being expelled out at 10,000 meters and -50 °C... I speculate he must have died / fainted within seconds, from freezing or cardiac arrest. There's no way someone can survive such a free fall as to hit the ground alive, or conscious...

__Ad.



A300/18/19/20/21 B721/2 B732/3/G/8 B741/2/4 B752 B762/3/4 B772/3 DC8/9/10 MD11 TU134/154 IL62/86 An24 SA340/2000 E45/90
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