Aircraft Door Blows Off: The Air Traffic Control Audio

I’ve been listening to ATC audio on YouTube and I just came across this really interesting exchange from last September.

A pilot was climbing after take off when the door allegedly blew off the craft.

airplane door

The video doesn’t give many details, so I did some digging.

From Business Insider:

“Emergency! Our door flew off the aircraft,” the pilot told air traffic controllers in a video posted to YouTube of the exchange. The two pilots and five passengers on board were all reported to be OK, but in the recording the pilot says, “they’re gonna be pretty upset.”

The plane couldn’t climb to get out of the clouds or maintain its elevation, but the pilots were able to turn around and make it back to safely land in San Francisco. There was one last complication though: The air traffic controller thought that the door hanging off of the plane was its landing gear and told them they only had one wheel down on the approach. (That turned out to be untrue.)

So this was a Wheels Up flight, which is sort of like an Uber for jets.  The pilot couldn’t climb to the altitude the ATC needed him to get to to turn around initially.  And the landing was further complicated by the (mistaken) belief that the landing gear wasn’t down properly.

Here’s the audio:

It seems to me (especially through the comments) that the door could have just opened due to not being properly secured.  Either way, both the ATC and the pilot are remarkably calm during the entire exchange.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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