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Can Aircraft Doors Be In Open In The Air.  
User currently offlineDjmatthews From United Kingdom, joined Dec 1999, 213 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 28360 times:

Having recently had this very same conversation with a friend, I was unable to accurately answer. When in the air, is it possible that aircraft doors can be opened?

Cheers

64 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTango From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 28343 times:

No. The pressurisation prevents this.



User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 28340 times:

The pressure INSIDE the aircraft is larger than outside right? So maybe they can be opened.

User currently offlineTango From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 28343 times:

There is no way they can be opened.

I used to be crew and also my relatives work in the f/deck, have asked them as well and we all have had the same thing told to us!

They cannot be opened. Blown open and off yes, if the pressurisation drops, but not opened manually.


User currently offlineJalalabad From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 28283 times:

in a non-pressurized cabin, it is physically possible to open a door (i.e. skydiving planes). in a pressurized cabin, it would be pretty hard. a 737 or 757 style door, for example, has to be pulled inward before you can swing it out and open. this would require overcoming lots of pounds of pressure (thousands?) pushing against it. different doors open differently, but i myself don't know of any that don't incorperate some varient of a pressure lock.

User currently offlineFLYSSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7415 posts, RR: 57
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 28270 times:

At the average cruising altitude (35000ft) there is NO WAY to open a door.

At a low altitude, if the cabin is depressurized. It is possible to open a door.
Emergency procedures to evacuate smoke in the cabin, for example, requires on some (old) aircraft to open one door or one overwing exit, after the plane has reached a "security altitude" (that was the procedure on the sud-Aviation Caravelle).

The "Caravelle" was used several times in the past to make photos of other airliners in flight, after lowering the rear stairs...


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Peter Tancred




On the upper deck of the B743 or B744 it is IMPOSSIBLE to open the doors, at any altitude as there is an automatic lock security that is activated when the wheels of the main gear leave the ground. The doors are unlocked automatically the same way when one wheel of the main gear touches the ground on landing.


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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt





User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29802 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 28250 times:

Depends on the airplane.

For commercial jets....no.

But I understand that connies back in the 1970's where very popular in Africa with the civil wars because the doors open inward...made it really easy to mount a .50 cal in the door.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 28209 times:

Even during ground engine runs if the aircraft is pressurized, you can't open the doors. Most cases the 'PSi DIF' must be below 1.0 for you to open the door, and even then you can hear the air rush out.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineHighflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 9 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 28199 times:
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Do a search, but there is an amazing photograph out there of a Dc-8F landing with its cargo door wide open. Presumably it happened at a relatively low altitude.

User currently offlineSafetyDude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 28182 times:

Do a search, but there is an amazing photograph out there of a Dc-8F landing with its cargo door wide open. Presumably it happened at a relatively low altitude.
I believe that it was open during its final approach.

Aircraft doors are capable of being opened when the plane is pressurized, but the amount of force required to do so does not exist, and if it did, it would weigh so much that the plane would never be able to get off the ground.

The pressure INSIDE the aircraft is larger than outside right?
Correct, is pressure exerted on the doors from the inside, hence the reason why the doors are bigger on the inside rather than the outside.

 Smile
-Will



"She Flew For What We Stand For"
User currently offlineCsavel From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1368 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 28184 times:

FLYSSC,
and let's not forget DB Cooper of the famous NWA hijacking fame. Same results on a 727. Different reason, of course.



I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29802 posts, RR: 58
Reply 11, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 28166 times:

I have also seen a photo of a CV-880 in that exact same predictament as the DC-8F.

Main cargo doors typically aren't plug doors like pax doors. They have latches to keep them closed. The only exception to this I can think of is the Main Deck door on the Electras with the Electric Lockheed doors. That one rotated inside the aircraft.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineAir2gxs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 28125 times:

DB Cooper was able to open the inner (pressure) door because the aircraft was unpressurized. The airstair will (not anymore) open regardless of the pressurization status of the aircraft.

The cargo door on a DC8 is not a plug door. It can be opened with a pressurized aircraft. It will get real exciting real fast at anything above 14000 feet.

Doors on most commercial airliners are plug doors. That means the door must enter the aircraft before it can be closed. Their are a variety of ways to acheiev this. The B767, for example, has the door physically mounted inside the airframe. Other aircraft, B727 or B747, have gates at the upper and lower ends of the door. These extend after the door enters the airframe and close the gap to seal the door.

I suspect that A300 does not have a plug door. 1) I can't find it in the discription and operation. 2)We have a "residual pressure" system installed in the door to warn of a pressurized cabin. We are not supposed to open the door with the light on. 3) I've heard of several crew members getting hurt when the door is opened and the aircraft still slightly pressurized.



User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 28037 times:

We have procedures for opening our E-3 (707-320) overwing hatches in flight, to vent smoke, though the flight engineer changes the pressure before this procedure is done, and the pilots sliding window is also opened.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Leave the Gun take the Cannoli


User currently offlineBuyantUkhaa From Mongolia, joined May 2004, 2907 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 27995 times:

Well, some of you might remember the guy who jumped out of an A330 over the Philippines in 2000:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/763341.stm

The man hijacked the plane (nearly 300 pax), got passenger's valuables, ordered the captain to open the door (which, after descending to 6000ft, was done) and jumped out. His home-made parachute failed to deploy, however. Quote:

"A huge gust of wind swept into the plane when the door was opened, passengers said.

A flight attendant had to help the hijacker leave the plane against the force of the air by pushing him out of the door. He left his gun and one shoe aboard the plane as he left, but took his grenade with him.

The door of the plane was still open as it landed, according to eyewitnesses."



And there must be more:

"The Manila hijacking was not the first of its kind - in 1971, an American hijacker bailed out of a passenger plane over the northwestern US with a bag containing $200,000 in ransom money."



I scratch my head, therefore I am.
User currently offlineSafetyDude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 15
Reply 15, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 27973 times:

And there must be more:

"The Manila hijacking was not the first of its kind - in 1971, an American hijacker bailed out of a passenger plane over the northwestern US with a bag containing $200,000 in ransom money."

I believe that incident involved the rear stairs of a 727.

 Smile
-Will



"She Flew For What We Stand For"
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 27955 times:

I remember the one AA300 incident where the cabin was still pressurized when the door was opened and it sucked the flight attendant out right onto the ramp. Dunno if it killed him/her. This was in like 2000.

User currently offlineLnglive1011yyz From Canada, joined exactly 11 years ago today! , 1608 posts, RR: 15
Reply 17, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 27838 times:

BR715 -- I do recall this incident..

I believe the Attendant was female, and she may have been having a panick attack or somethign similar..

A Search didn't come up with anything, on the net, but I'll continue looking.

In a further comment/question, how does the door / emergency system work on doors?

IF the plane is making an emergency landing, would the pressurization system automatically adjust as it descends?

I'm thinking of evacuations.. How would they be performed if the plane is pressurized? (COnsidering the crew would have more important things to do than to make the cabin occupants feel more comfortable haha)

1011yyz



Pack your bags, we're going on a sympathy trip!
User currently offlineChiGB1973 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1616 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 27802 times:

http://www2.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief2.asp?ev_id=20001212X22314&ntsbno=MIA01FA029&akey=1

I believe this is what you are looking for?

M


User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 27561 times:

There was an incident a few years with a C17 crew door that would not
open on the ground after arrival. A passenger went to assist the crew member on the door. Aircraft was still pressurized, however they managed to manhandle the door open. The passenger was fatally ejected from the aircraft.

I also had a door pop open on my C152 many years while doing pattern work.
It made for an effective extra control surface until I got it closed.

SATL382G


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29802 posts, RR: 58
Reply 20, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 27308 times:

OH here is the photo of your DC-8


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © JetPix




OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineAir2gxs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 27207 times:

Lnglive1011yyz,

Most aircraft are operated with the pressurization system in auto unless there is a failure, in which manual is used. Auto's function is to get the aircraft cabin pressure to ambiant at or just before landing. So, during an emergency evacuation the plane should be depressurized. In the event of a cabin pressurization failure where the manual is used, I imagine it is a checklist item to dump the cabin pressure at or just before landing. The 1 time I was flying on a jumbo that have a full auto failure we just dump the pressure below 10,000 ft, but that was a cargo flight, not sure what happens onpax.

This is not a passenger comfort item during an emergency, it is a safety issue; you can't get out of the airplane with the cabin pressurized.


User currently offline320tech From Turks and Caicos Islands, joined May 2004, 491 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 27206 times:

It's not impossible to open cabin doors in flight, just very difficult (perhaps depending on the type of airplane). If you're up at max cabin dif altitude (say, 35,000 feet), the cabin dif pressure will be around 8 psi. The A320 door opens upwards and inwards first, and if you were tremendously strong, you might be able to move it a bit. But open it all the way, I doubt it.

At lower altitudes, you have lower cabin dif pressure, so things get easier. I wouldn't want to guess, but at some point, maybe, if you're strong, you should be able to get the door open.

(We have also had employees badly injured when they opened doors on partially pressurised aircraft.)

Having opened the door, you're going to have to fight the wind, because all the doors on the A320 open forward. So you might have a tough time squeezing out, if that's what you're thinking of doing.

Commercial aircraft dump cabin pressure when they land, if not before. Therefore, evacuation is not a concern.

Very briefly, the evacuation system on doors (A320) works as follows (you'll be sorry you asked):

The door is closed. The door has a flat bar called a girt bar, which sits at the bottom of the door, and is attached to the slide firing mechanism. When the door is armed, the girt bar is pushed into two fittings mounted on the floor. Thus, the slide firing mechanism is now connected to the aircraft (as opposed to the door).

With the door armed, the inner handle is pulled up (opened). The door begins to lift out of the door frame. The girt bar is held in place at the floor. The girt bar pulls on a cable, which is connected to the door slide inflation bottle. The bottle fires, and *POOF* the slide appears through a cloud of talcum powder.

Simultaneously, as the door is rising in the frame, a bar on the door strikes a firing lever on the door assist bottle, which is mounted on the support arm. The firing lever releases a small nitrogen charge inside the bottle, which pushes the door open (whether someone is hanging on to it or not).

The slide now inflates. It takes maybe five seconds or so (I've seen it a few times, but never timed it).

Yes, that was the brief version. If you want more info, e-mail me.



The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
User currently offlineSafetyDude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 15
Reply 23, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 27207 times:

I remember the one AA300 incident where the cabin was still pressurized when the door was opened and it sucked the flight attendant out right onto the ramp. Dunno if it killed him/her. This was in like 2000.
I remember this incident. I believe that the crew did not know that the plane was still pressurized, or a gate agent opened the door by accident. One of the other problems, I believe, is that the FA opened the door, not the gate agent. Upon opening it, she collapsed to her death on the plane/jetway.

A friend of mine has a fried who worked as a FA for many years until one day she opened up a door that was pressurized and suffered major memory and brain damage.

Doors can be scary things, even with all of the warnings on them.

 Smile
-Will



"She Flew For What We Stand For"
User currently offlineBuyantUkhaa From Mongolia, joined May 2004, 2907 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 27137 times:

Wasn't cabin pressurisation also an issue at the Saudia L-1011 accident? The astonishing fact that none of the doors were opened after landing (yes I know, they decided to taxi back to the apron, very clever) might be because of the cabin being under pressure?

I tried to find the picture of the disaster (seen it before) but didn't manage.

Edit: found some pics.



http://www.airdisaster.com/special/saudi163.jpg

http://www.fire.org.uk/common/aviation/graphics/saudia.jpg



[Edited 2004-08-16 19:58:10]


I scratch my head, therefore I am.
25 Post contains links JMV : Here is a link to a CNN article regarding the flight attendant that was killed when he opened the cabin door following an emergency landing but before
26 Flyboy80 : Most aircraft have some sort of mechanism that physically disables door operation in unsafe conditions (IN flight) for instance... Even on regional ai
27 ChiGB1973 : I might have missed it in this thread, but a 747 door can be opened to allow smoke out of the cabin. This is, of course, at less than 15,000 feet, pro
28 Jspitfire : I have heard a story about an aircraft that crashed because the only pilot was sucked out of the aircraft. Apparently a warning light came on for the
29 HAWK21M : Not if its a Plug type. regds MEL
30 Flyboy80 : I feel ya there...theres a particular plane I fly on that does this quite often (C152 as well) I will also say its not just the big aircraft that hav
31 Bhill : Commercial...As I understand..nope..plug doors...but in the cargo area of a military flight...HALO drops are made from the doors or off the ramp of th
32 ReidYYZ : I agree and, bear with me, might be possible in cruise as well. A/C types and the associated doors referred to, I know, are listed as examples, any o
33 Jamesbuk : LOl ive had a similar occurence, A couple of weeks ago i took off with my instructor in a C150 and at about 800Ft his door came open, made the aircra
34 2enginesonly : James, There is NO WAY a B767 cabindoor can be opened in flight. At max dif press there is around 15000lbs pushing against the door and the first act
35 Jamesbuk : Ah thanks for that i never realised they came inward then up it thought they went more or less straight upwards, those must be very strong doors to c
36 A342 : Talking about this issue, is it a problem for aircraft operating to high-altitude airports such as BPX or LPB ? How is the door openend there when the
37 Post contains images David L : Depressurise before opening, as at other airports?
38 Jspitfire : I have been learning about the Beech King Air in groundschool, and it has safety systems that prevent the cabin from being pressurized when the aircr
39 Gigneil : There's a little too much generalization here. Descend a plane to 10,000 feet and you can open even plug type doors. It is still standard procedure to
40 Kaddyuk : I think thats on a few types of aircraft, it also depends on throttle position as well...
41 Poitin : The B727 has a interlock on its rear loading ramp, but if what you say is true, then you can't open the doors if the aircraft ditches in the ocean or
42 ChiGB1973 : It is true on overwing window exits on the 738 and 753. Though we never discussed this situation, I am relatively sure that when you have to ditch, t
43 57AZ : Actually, emergency exits on certain types of aircraft can be opened in flight-specifically those on Douglas and Lockheed propliners. It is common pra
44 HAWK21M : Upto the cocked position only.With the Headwind present,opening it would be a problem. regds MEL
45 Post contains images David L : I didn't mean to be too specific, I just meant the pressure would be equalised at some point between cruise and opening the doors.
46 Litz : Consider this also ... even assuming you overcome the 15,000 lbs of pressure holding the door in place and get it cracked open, or the pressurization
47 YYZYYT : Am I wrong, or can that defeat the purpose of an emergency exit, i.e. in the case of a gear-up emergency landing? To paraphrase Lt. Cmdr. Data from T
48 HAWK21M : What was the result of the former. regds MEL
49 Litz : What was the result of the former. The hijacker safely exited the aircraft, managing to NOT get sliced by the horizontal stabilizer. Unfortunately fo
50 Post contains links HAWK21M : So that leaves only DB Cooper .....One unsolved Mystery. regds MEL
51 Post contains links MarkHKG : Actually, the Phillipines hijacker used the rear L4 door. It was an Airbus 330 so there is no overwing exit. A detailed report from Australia's Fligh
52 Scarebus03 : When the A/C cabin is pressurised depending on the level of pressurisation it is mostly impossible to open a door. If somebody e.g. "the incredible hu
53 Cancidas : it is... i did it in a C-206. had the same effect as applying rudder though so we stopped doing that when it got annoying. eventually, for summer time
54 EMBQA : Actually no. If you watch 'Myth Busters' on Discovery Channel they did this test once and proved it would not happen. They first started with bullet
55 Starlionblue : Agreed with EMBQA. A hole in the pressure vessel will not weaken the entire vessel in a catastrophic manner. The problem is more if you have a hole,
56 Post contains images Scarebus03 : Starlionblue and EMBQA, apologies as I was referring to the United 747 out of HNL in '89 not the Aloha 737. Mentioning the Aloha incident did get me t
57 Starlionblue : Agreed. And besides Aloha would not have had a problem if it had not been operating in a salty air high cycle environment. More frequent checks "fixe
58 Post contains images Mikkel777 : I did have some fun with a pilot friend in a 172 once. We trimmed the plane for level flight, let go of the yoke, and opened both doors. We then used
59 Post contains images Starlionblue : If only they'd known that trick at Sioux City...
60 Mikkel777 : Who tried to land a 172 without flightcontrols in SUX?
61 Post contains images Starlionblue : I was referring to the DC-10 crash. And yes, I was being facetious
62 Mikkel777 : I guess I'll think twice before post anything with relation to real life flight experience here next time...
63 Post contains links AirbusA346 : Reference: Can Aircraft Doors Be Opened In Flight? (by AirbusA346 Feb 21 2006 in Tech Ops) Tom.
64 Starlionblue : Hey I was just messing with you. I really liked your story actually. Very interesting.
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