Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

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Rick
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Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by Rick »

I found this on LiveATC last night:

https://forums.liveatc.net/atcaviation- ... g-buffalo/

Shortly after takeoff from KBUF yesterday, a DA40 (N568CA) pilot reported he was returning to the field after his rear door departed the aircraft. The audio is at the link above, but I couldn't find any additional information this morning.
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

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mhoran
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by mhoran »

I'm surprised at the news coverage of this. I guess there must not have been much else going on at the time. The above article says the FAA will investigate, but a door departure is not a reportable event. Not quite sure what that is about -- unless some further damage happened during landing? Or perhaps the declared emergency will trigger an investigation.

Knowing someone who this happened to, it is very much a non-event. The door is designed to break off cleanly and not cause any damage. It's just loud. A replacement door is expensive, though.
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by Rick »

I think I remember a series of such DA40 rear-door departures some years ago that prompted an AD to beef up the latching mechanism. I wonder if that AD was performed on this particular aircraft.
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Chris
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by Chris »

mhoran wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 3:51 pm I'm surprised at the news coverage of this. I guess there must not have been much else going on at the time. The above article says the FAA will investigate, but a door departure is not a reportable event. Not quite sure what that is about -- unless some further damage happened during landing? Or perhaps the declared emergency will trigger an investigation.
It's probably getting more coverage than normal as a result of the Alaska flight that lost the door plug over Portland last month. The news will make it seem that aircraft doors are raining from the sky. And the FAA will want to be seen doing everything possible to protect the public from all of the falling doors.
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by Rich »

This is one of those things that does show up in the FAA accident and incident data.

https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100: ... 24,DIAMOND

I see these from time to time. But I have never seen it show up in the NTSB database, as the door comes off cleanly and hasn't caused any further harm.

The AD/MSB has to to with modifying the safety catch piece that is supposed to keep the door from coming full open if the door latch isn't closed or somehow pops open. You have to push the little red button to release it to open the door. But I have found this thing can stick in the disengaged position. It's part of my preflight to make sure it's engaged. I also brief any back-seaters to not fiddle with either of those in flight.
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by Karl »

It is important to check the catch works during the preflight. when you press the red button it can stay in the unlocked position if it has not been maintained/lubricated.
The procedure I teach is to unlock the door open it and then let it drop from about 5-6 inch, the red hook should engage.
If it doesn't then spray a bit of light oil on the red button operate it a few times and try again. That usually fixes it.

The only way to lose the door is to not lock it, and check it is locked before flight or not maintain the lock/catch.
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by Rich »

Karl wrote: Wed Feb 14, 2024 3:16 am The only way to lose the door is to not lock it, and check it is locked before flight or not maintain the lock/catch.
The AFM specifically states the rear door is to be unlocked in flight. It’s emergency egress. And it would be totally irresponsible if you have rear seat passengers. There is no way to unlock it from inside.
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by dmloftus »

I believe he meant latched, not locked with a key
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Re: Rear Door departs a DA40 after takeoff

Post by OriensFlight »

Looks to be about 50-isch serial numbers before 6LU. When I first got 6LU I also replaced the pistons that push the latch shut. They’re expensive, but they keep the latch fairly well secured.

I instruct everyone to be fairly gentile with the rear door and not slam it shut. I’ve never had any safety-latch sticking issues, but I do feel the pressure release on the button every time. I guess it’s worth it to test if that safety-latch catches from time to time.

I also advise the “don’t close the latch if it opens” procedure to all passengers. The safety-latch should hold.

I’ve always wanted to see post door departure photos of the tail. I wonder if the previous departures struck the tail in anyway. 8CA appears to have been at 2,600’ and 90kts GS when the door came off.
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