An Open-Door Policy?

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An aircraft door or window popping open in flight is usually not as big a deal as the movies and popular media would like you to believe.

The sound of an aircraft’s door or window popping open is certainly startling and that alone can make some pilots over-react with some unfortunate results. If there is any real danger to an open aircraft window or door it is pilot panic.

These openings usually happen during or after takeoff and the noise can be dramatic and loud. Just fly the airplane and continue unless you are at a very slow speed on the runway. If you are slow just come to a stop, close the door or window and taxi back for takeoff. Inflight openings are rare, but are usually no problem.

 Here are some things you can do if your aircraft door or window pops open in flight:

·         You could try to close it by opening your side window or vent (if you have one) and slamming the offending door.

·         If you can’t close it simply return to the airport and land.

·         If that is not possible right away because you are flying on instruments or for some other reason just continue flying to destination and live with noise or divert and land.

Are you flying a bigger, faster airplane? No worries. When I worked as an instructor in flight training at my airline I produced a training video with a real Boeing 767 in which we flew around with both cockpit windows wide open. I would not recommend this at high altitude, but we did the video to keep the pilots from doing expensive and possibly dangerous takeoff aborts due to an open window or door.

Remember, you may freak out a little bit if your airplane adopts an open-door policy, but it is usually not a big deal.

Here is a link to a video produced by Boeing about open airline cockpit windows.