EASA Advisory Seeks To Prevent Explosive Door Openings

 - February 13, 2019, 3:38 PM

Several occurrences of explosive passenger door openings on parked aircraft resulting in injuries, and even fatalities, to people inside and outside have led the European Aviation Safety Agency to issue a Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) containing recommendations to prevent such incidents. The main factor leading to these occurrences was an inadvertent development of an excessive differential pressure between the inside and the outside of the aircraft.

Crews of business aircraft with bottom-hinged main doors should take special note of this advisory. In fact, EASA singled out the Jan. 5, 2018 accident in Finland when the captain of an Austria-registered Gulfstream G150—a model with a bottom-hinged door—died from injuries sustained when the passenger door blew open as he was trying to open it. While the jet was being readied for flight, the flight attendant was inside with the APU running and cabin heat on. Investigators concluded that the cabin was “over-pressurized” and once the door locking mechanism was released, it “blew open by force, striking the captain.”   

Essentially, the recommendations call on aircraft owners and operators, maintenance personnel, ground handlers, airport operators, and firefighting and other emergency workers to be aware of the risks described in the SIB. In addition, it recommends that training and procedures should include the issue of explosive door openings and their prevention.