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Reference: Can Aircraft Doors Be Opened In Flight?  
User currently offlineAirbusA346 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 7437 posts, RR: 2
Posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7338 times:

In response to this thread.
Can Aircraft Doors Be In Open In The Air. (by Djmatthews Aug 15 2004 in Tech Ops)

It has been bugging me for day. How many times does this question have to be asked.

An aircraft door can not be opened, while in the air, or the cabin is pressurised. The reason for this is because the hole in the fuselage is smaller than the door it self.

The door fits through the hole because there are sections of the door that fold in on them self's. They are at the top and bottom of the door. The fold in on them self's when the hand on the door is turned or lifted, depending on the type of aircraft.

The reason it does not open in the air, is because of the door being bigger than the hole. This means that when the aircraft is pressurised and the aircraft is several thousand feet in the air. The pressure is differant and the aircraft's door is being pushed, by the pressure against the fuselage, so it can't be opened.

I hope you can understand this, and this thread is for reference when people search for this topic.


Tom Walker '086' First Officer of a A318/A319 for Air Lambert - Hours Flown: 17 hour 05 minutes (last updated 24/12/05).
4 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7340 times:

Quoting AirbusA346 (Thread starter):
An aircraft door can not be opened, while in the air, or the cabin is pressurised. The reason for this is because the hole in the fuselage is smaller than the door it self.

Surely the correct response should be:

'A plug type door, of which most airliner doors are, cannot be opened when the cabin pressure is higher than the external pressure due to the outward force exerted on the door. Since the door requires inward movement to be opened, you would need to overcome the several tonnes of force pressing outward as a result of the pressure difference.'

Forget whether the aircraft is flying or what height its at, its a simple pressure differential which can happen at any height.

User currently offlineWingscrubber From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 862 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7325 times:

This only applies to pressurised aircraft such as airliners, some unpressurised aircraft allow opening of door/canopy in flight.

Resident TechOps Troll
User currently offline320tech From Turks and Caicos Islands, joined May 2004, 491 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7189 times:

Hi, Tom.

The question keeps getting asked because the answer is not as simple as you believe.

Many pressurised aircraft do not fold in part of the door to form a seal. The A319, for example. As surely the youngest F/O on A319s in the world, you will be aware of the red flashing light mounted in the pax door windows. This light flashes when cabin pressure is above outside pressure and someone tries to open the door. People have been seriously injured from doing this, all on the ground, as far as I know (generally before Airbus decided a light would be a worthwhile mod).

The A319 door is lowered into position and comes up against stops on the door frame. There is a very slight inward movement required to open the door. This makes it difficult, but not impossible, to open the door. There may well be a diff pressure where opening the door becomes impossible - I don't care to perform that experiment.

Lots of unpressurised aircraft doors can be opened in flight.

Have fun in the Hague.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
User currently offline747NUT From Australia, joined Sep 2004, 78 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7165 times:

With reference to all pressurised aircraft.

Even if the cabin was depressurised, all cabin doors on airliners, e.g. Boeing 747,737,A320 etc. open forward , you would still be able to unlatch the door, but the wind would not allow you to push the door open.

Also if you do remember about a certain Mr. D.C.Cooper that opened the aft door on a 727 by depressurising the cabin and opening the door, after that there was a spring loaded latch that was fitted to the door that when the aircraft was moving forward, the latch would be engaged over the door with the wind and not allow the door to be opened, it is only once the aircraft was stationary again, the latch would disengage and allow the door to be opened.

Have fun with that

If it's not broken, don't fix it !
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