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speedracer1407
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Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:10 pm

A few months ago, my girlfriend took an AA MD-80 flight from MCI or ORD. She could care less about aviation, but when I picked her up at the airport, she was eager to tell me that she was surprised to see the cockpit door open for the duration of the flight. I thought this absolutely impossible, especially since 2001, and made sure to grill her about it. She insisted that it did not close during taxi and takeoff, and she noticed it open when she looked up a few times during cruise. She's no aviation expert, enthusiast, or otherwise, but I suppose it doesn't take one to know when a door is open or not, and it did catch her attention enough to notice how unusual it was.
I can only assume that the door was broken and wouldn't close. But I'd have also assumed that, what with security issues and all, a cockpit door that doesn't close would be reason enough to ground the aircraft until it was fixed.

Am I wrong? This happen regularly?
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UncleBuck
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:39 pm

Quoting Speedracer1407 (Thread starter):
But I'd have also assumed that, what with security issues and all, a cockpit door that doesn't close would be reason enough to ground the aircraft until it was fixed.

exactly.

i don't see how this is possible, certainly not calling your gf a liar, but i just can't see how that is possible... typically the door only opens to for pee breaks or to allow food to be passed up, and there is always a person blocking the aisle and a person knocking.

would love to hear more details or if anyone has noticed anything similar?
 
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JBo
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:07 pm

Can't speak for mainline aircraft ... but our Skyway Beech 1900s sometimes have an MEL issued for the cockpit curtain/door if it's broken, and so it will be left open during flight.

I would venture to guess that larger aircraft are also permitted to write the cockpit door off on the MEL list and keep the aircraft flying until it is fixed. There are probably procedures in place when the cockpit door is on MEL as far as security is concerned.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
flynavy
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:09 pm

Quoting JBo (Reply 2):

Exactly, like an armed aircrew.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:21 pm

Quoting Speedracer1407 (Thread starter):
I can only assume that the door was broken and wouldn't close



Quoting JBo (Reply 2):
There are probably procedures in place when the cockpit door is on MEL as far as security is concerned.

The Cockpit door lock has to be serviceable on Pax Aircraft.
What type Aircraft was this.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
9VSIO
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:52 pm

Quoting JBo (Reply 2):
Skyway Beech 1900s sometimes have an MEL issued for the cockpit curtain/door if it's broken, and so it will be left open during flight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyway_Airlines

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4):
The Cockpit door lock has to be serviceable on Pax Aircraft.

ergo, Mel's statement probably does not apply to a/c in the US
Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:11 pm

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 5):
ergo, Mel's statement probably does not apply to a/c in the U

Im referring to DGCA registerd Commercial Aircraft post 9/11.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
blamemx
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:46 am

The cockpit door is required to be operational per the following FAR's
This one requires the door be installed on the airplane and
this one requires that it be locked during operation

cheers
 
pilotpip
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:21 am

The only reason that we can open our door in flight is if one of the crew members has to do a walk of shame back to the lav. We can't open it for drinks, gotta get those before we leave because food or drink could be used as rouse for bad guys trying to get in.
DMI
 
PGNCS
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:47 am

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 8):
The only reason that we can open our door in flight is if one of the crew members has to do a walk of shame back to the lav. We can't open it for drinks, gotta get those before we leave because food or drink could be used as rouse for bad guys trying to get in.

How can it be a ruse for a terrorist to get in for the pilots to call the FA and ask for drinks? I have been flying commercially for 20 years and this is the first time I have ever heard this posited.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:27 am

I've only ever been on one flight that had the flight deck door open on a commercial aircraft, but that wasn't a passenger flight. It was a test flight operated by Boeing flight crews with only company staff on board.

In the 90s I've been on flights that had the flight deck door open for extended periods of time. I remember flying LAX-AKL on a 747-400 and remember being on the upper deck and seeing into the flight deck for a while. But that was a different era.
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Tornado82
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:35 am

Quoting JBo (Reply 2):
Can't speak for mainline aircraft ... but our Skyway Beech 1900s sometimes have an MEL issued for the cockpit curtain/door if it's broken, and so it will be left open during flight.

I haven't been on one for a year or so, but the last time I flew Commutair's Beech 1900's they left the door open all flight. I believe it has to do with there being no FA in the back.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:24 pm

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 8):
We can't open it for drinks, gotta get those before we leave because food or drink could be used as rouse for bad guys trying to get in.

Out here theres no such restriction.FA can serve the Flight crew,only prior communication is required for Door unlocking purposes.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
pilotpip
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:15 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 9):

How can it be a ruse for a terrorist to get in for the pilots to call the FA and ask for drinks? I have been flying commercially for 20 years and this is the first time I have ever heard this posited.

Maybe I worded it wrong. Policy is pretty simple. Unless you're about to go in your pants you keep the door locked. Opening the door comprimises security. Therfore, we keep it closed.
DMI
 
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JBo
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:53 am

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 5):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyway_...lines

Your point? I'm well aware of what Skyway is.

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 11):
I haven't been on one for a year or so, but the last time I flew Commutair's Beech 1900's they left the door open all flight. I believe it has to do with there being no FA in the back.

They will also leave the door open in the event there's an unaccompanied minor on board, as there's no F/A to look after the kid.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
bablackpilot
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:15 pm

I remember talking to a friend years ago about the MD-80/DC-9 aircrafts and the fact that I saw airlines operating them with the flight deck doors open during taxi.
He told me (an employee and mechnic on the MD80) that the flight deck doesn't have the typical fresh vents from the packs. So they tend to leave the door open on ground opeations to get the cool air into the flight deck. As for in flight, it is a FAA requirement that the door be closed and locked at all times. Though I do know AAL arms there pilots so maybe one of them had there gun drawn the whole time....who knows.
But like I said, I believe the door open on the ground has something to do with the lack of fresh cool air into the flight deck.
Maybe someone with actual MD-80 experience (flight or mechinical) can confirm.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:39 pm

Quoting Bablackpilot (Reply 15):
But like I said, I believe the door open on the ground has something to do with the lack of fresh cool air into the flight deck

Shouldn't the F/D deck have a seperate source of Air Conditioned Air.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
9VSIO
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:53 pm

Quoting JBo (Reply 14):
Your point? I'm well aware of what Skyway is.

clearly, seeing as you refered to them as "our skyways". I was thinking perhaps MEL didn't get it....
Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
 
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JBo
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:58 am

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 17):
clearly, seeing as you refered to them as "our skyways". I was thinking perhaps MEL didn't get it....

Ah, gotcha.

Should have used AL then.  Wink

But after thinking it further, I think the fact that the cockpit door remains open on a Beech 1900 when there's an UMNR on board might be what allows the cockpit door to be deferred on MEL on the type. Something of a loophole, if you will.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
Stickers
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:24 am

The open cockpit door has happened at least twice to me on domestic flights in SA, although recently (last 6 months) they have always been closed from beggining to end. They also state in the in flight safety announcements that they can no longer allow visits to the flight deck. However, if you are patient and wait till close to last to leave the plane, then the flight crews that i have travelled with (Budget and premium carriers in SA) have always been most accomodating and friendly in allowing a visit and photographs.

Stickers
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:28 am

Quoting Stickers (Reply 19):
They also state in the in flight safety announcements that they can no longer allow visits to the flight deck. However, if you are patient and wait till close to last to leave the plane, then the flight crews that i have travelled with (Budget and premium carriers in SA) have always been most accomodating and friendly in allowing a visit and photographs

They probably meant...No Flt deck visits in Flight.Hence after Landing if the crew permission sought,a visit can be permitted.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
pfletch1228
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:55 am

Quoting Stickers (Reply 19):
The open cockpit door has happened at least twice to me on domestic flights in SA, although recently (last 6 months) they have always been closed from beggining to end.

That would be because its not a CAA requirement in South Africa - its an IATA requirement. So if the airline is not IATA affiliated (ala 1time for example), its up to the airline to regulate the policy, and most of the time the airline will cite "Captain's discretion". That is why you will occasionally see 1time flying with the cockpit door open, and why you will occasionally see passengers sitting on the jump seat for the flight. So, if you want a stab at a jump seat, fly 1time, hope you get a nice crew, and ask very very nicely and see where it takes you

[Edited 2007-09-22 22:57:49]
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Jetlagged
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:24 am

Quoting Bablackpilot (Reply 15):
I remember talking to a friend years ago about the MD-80/DC-9 aircrafts and the fact that I saw airlines operating them with the flight deck doors open during taxi.
He told me (an employee and mechnic on the MD80) that the flight deck doesn't have the typical fresh vents from the packs. So they tend to leave the door open on ground opeations to get the cool air into the flight deck. As for in flight, it is a FAA requirement that the door be closed and locked at all times. Though I do know AAL arms there pilots so maybe one of them had there gun drawn the whole time....who knows.

The DC-9 and MD-80 flightdecks certainly do have air vents. However that doesn't mean to say that any small flightdeck might not get hotter on the ground in the sun with the door closed, so opening it will help. They could always open the side windows instead, of course.

I didn't think arming pilots was airline specific as implied, but I don't follow the issue much. I suppose some airlines might encourage their pilots to apply for the necessary training. The thought that an armed pilot might have a gun drawn the whole time the flightdeck door is open is quite chilling. Surely the thing to do if someone made a rush for the flightdeck would be to kick the door shut, if it was open, not start a gun fight.
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tom775257
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:23 am

Without going into too much detail we have the primary system which is an electronically controlled door and we control it with aid from multiple CCTV cameras with infra-red floodlights on the aircraft. Before the door is opened we have a very good idea with what is going on in the cabin.

If this fails we have a fish eye viewing lense on the cockpit door, and a mechanical lock that can be used if the electronic system fails. Plenty more info, but none that I will say on a forum.

If that fails I have a double headed axe. Enjoy.
 
AAR90
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:38 pm

Quoting Speedracer1407 (Thread starter):
But I'd have also assumed that, what with security issues and all, a cockpit door that doesn't close would be reason enough to ground the aircraft until it was fixed.

At AA, that is correct. The plane will not move for pax flight unless the cockpit door IS closed and locked. No exceptions for any reason.

Quoting JBo (Reply 2):
I would venture to guess that larger aircraft are also permitted to write the cockpit door off on the MEL list and keep the aircraft flying until it is fixed. There are probably procedures in place when the cockpit door is on MEL as far as security is concerned.

Not at AA.

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 13):
Maybe I worded it wrong. Policy is pretty simple.

Policy = company policy = not applicable at any other airline/company.

Quoting Bablackpilot (Reply 15):
He told me (an employee and mechnic on the MD80) that the flight deck doesn't have the typical fresh vents from the packs.

Your "friend" was lying, sorry.

Quoting Bablackpilot (Reply 15):
But like I said, I believe the door open on the ground has something to do with the lack of fresh cool air into the flight deck. Maybe someone with actual MD-80 experience (flight or mechinical) can confirm.

Will an AA Captain w/DC9 (MD80/90) type rated suffice? All DC9 series (includes MD80/MD90) cockpits are "overpressurized" (relative to cabin) to prevent smoke in cabin from coming into cockpit. Air source is direct from packs with considerably more fresh air per cubic inch than what is sent to the cabin. Large pressure relief air vents are installed near the bottom of the cockpit door panels to allow the additional air pressure in the cockpit to be vented to the rest of the cabin. Opening the cockpit door does NOT improve cockpit ventilation (actually makes it worse).
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:30 am

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 22):
Surely the thing to do if someone made a rush for the flightdeck would be to kick the door shut, if it was open, not start a gun fight.

Just using your example I would defy you to recognize the problem, get out of your seat and "kick the door shut" before someone can rush in. The firearm is a last choice and there's not a bunch of "Quick Draw McGraws" with itchy trigger fingers in the cockpit. However if the situation were to arise that deadly force is the only option I hope their aim is accurate and true.
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:54 am

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 25):
Just using your example I would defy you to recognize the problem, get out of your seat and "kick the door shut" before someone can rush in. The firearm is a last choice and there's not a bunch of "Quick Draw McGraws" with itchy trigger fingers in the cockpit. However if the situation were to arise that deadly force is the only option I hope their aim is accurate and true.

I accept it might take too long to get out of the seat to do this. But surely the best choice would be to shut the flightdeck door if possible, rather than leave it open and defend it with the gun in a fight the crew risk losing. If someone is "standing guard" as Bablackpilot suggested, then the first response of that person should be to shut the door. While a terrorist attack might begin on the ground in this way, most such attacks happen in flight, when the door should always be shut these days.

I'm not accusing armed pilots of being "quick on the draw", but from my side of the pond where arming people is much less routine, it is a hard concept to accept. Strange that arming the crew is not considered necessary in Europe, where you could argue the threat is greater and security more diffuse due to many national boundaries and so potentially weaker.
The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
 
AAR90
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RE: Cockpit Door Open During Flight?

Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:18 am

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 25):
Just using your example I would defy you to recognize the problem, get out of your seat and "kick the door shut" before someone can rush in.

Obviously someone does not understand how the MD80 cockpit door operates. It can not be kicked shut.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 26):
But surely the best choice would be to shut the flightdeck door if possible, rather than leave it open and defend it with the gun in a fight the crew risk losing.

Please read previous posts. AA does NOT operate a passenger flight with the cockpit door open. Not even ferry flights with deadheading crew only. Sorry, it simply does not happen.
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