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What Would Happen If you opened a door in flight  
User currently offlineToxicmegacolon From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 28 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6560 times:

So sitting near an exit row on a widebody plane always makes me nervous....what would happen if some idiot just walked up to the door and pulled the handle to open it in midflight? Does anyone know what safety precautions are in place, or what conditions need to be satisfied so that the handle can be pulled and the door opened? Thanks!

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6509 times:

Nothing would happen. Those exits are "plug" type and the cabin pressure would make it impossible for the exit to open. In other words, the actual emergency exit door is slightly larger than the frame it rests in - hence, the term "plug". The cabin has to be depressurized in order for the exit to be opened.


User currently offlineBA757 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2832 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6493 times:

My understanding (from what I've read in the past) is you can't. The door wouldn't open because they are 'plug' doors. It basically works by the high pressure in the cabin pushing the door into the fitting - doors are apparently a little larger than the hole - no man would be ever be able to open a door with that pressure on it.

Someone will probably explain it better.


User currently offlineBA757 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2832 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6483 times:

Jetguy beat me too it!


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 69
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6437 times:

Ok, I knew about the plug-design - but how does it work with the exists on the 737NG?

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Gregg Stansbery

As you can see in this picture, they open outward - is there a mechanism in there that they also work like plugs?


Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6434 times:

Although it is true not all designs use "plug" doors for emergency exits or passenger doors for that matter, it is still quite improbable that someone will open one.

Current designs use safety interlocks such as pressure and speed locks. Pressure locks are pneumatic devices that apply a latch to the handle when the aircraft pressurizes. Many designs require no electrical power to operate.

Speed locks apply secondary locks when the aircraft reaches a certain speed (usually 80 or 90 knots). The speed locks are usually electrical solenoids that require aircraft electrical power to operate.

I'm not sure what to make of the picture. I'm not familiar with the 737-800 but I find it hard to believe they went away from the "plug" emer hatch.

User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6420 times:

My explaination of Leskova's picture? Perhaps they are laterally firing passenger ejection seats.  Innocent

User currently offlineMsllsmith From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 396 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 6348 times:

Good one Jetguy! Obviously you're not that tired!

There's nothing more beautiful than flying into the dawn.
User currently offlineTheGov From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 420 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6300 times:

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but during the Saudia TriStar fire of about 20 years ago, the report on the accident stated that to some degree because the cabin pressure was not released, the doors could not be opened as soon as needed and that led to the death of everyone on board. I think most of the blame rested with the pilots because the did not realise how serious the situation really was to take the necessary actions to save everyone.

Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
User currently offlineTrekster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6289 times:

That is true, but also the captain did not turn the engines off,he kept them on meaning the cabin crew could not openthe doors and safley get the chutes down.

He even taxied normally for a while after landing.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17267 posts, RR: 67
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6228 times:

The 737NG has a hinged overwing exit, so obviously it is not the plug type. But I feel confident there is some other safety feature.

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3152 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (11 years 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6047 times:

I just watched a video on that Saudia fire. The opinion of this video was that the crew was incapable of handling the situation. A total CRM failure (Maybe this should come up in the other thread Smile ) The captain, while singing becuase he basically shut down due to stress, made a long landing roll out. By the time the fire trucks go to the aircraft, the aircraft was engulfed and the crew was not responding to ATC.

Does the L10 have a system similiar to the 737 incorporating locks? I don't know if many people would have lived if they jumped out while the aircraft was moving at 75kts. Of course, had the crew not been total morons we probably wouldn't be talking about this.

User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 years 2 days ago) and read 6010 times:

Did you see the video on a television show? If so, what was the name? Thanks

Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5068 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (10 years 12 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5788 times:

I read in another thread some time ago that with the amount of pressure exerted on a plug type exit when cabin is pressurized you would need to exert a force on the door of over 10,000 lbs or so in order to open it.

Suffice to say that no human will ever be opening a plug type door inflight.

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineVC-10 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 1999, 3717 posts, RR: 33
Reply 14, posted (10 years 12 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5787 times:
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Please use the search function, this has been asked many times

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