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(YouTube)   Usually, a door does not become part of the flight control surfaces on a light aircraft. Usually. Skip to 3:45 for the pucker factor nine action   ( divider line
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5321 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Jul 2020 at 12:30 AM (11 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

Mayday! Light Aircraft | Forced Emergency Landing (Unedited Video) Door Opens & Hits Tail Mid Flight

Door latch fails - 3:48

Cockpit view from our second flight of the day, my wife and I returning from Charlton Park to our home base Fairoaks. 15 minutes into the flight the Baggage hatch latch opens and door breaks away from the piano hinge, it some how catches on the leading edge of the horizontal stabiliser. The loose metal managed to wedge itself between the elevator fork and the main surface restricting free movement of flight controls.

After the initial impact of the door hitting you can see the AC pitched itself into a negative attitude, we were only at 2100ft (only 400meters from the ground) on the QNH & started to roll slightly to the right, after a second I regained partial control (accepted 300ftpm level decent, maximum endurance reduced to just less than 4 minutes) to then have a uncontrolled full deflection of the ailerons both right and left. With direct line of sight of the damage from the P1 seat and the old RAF grass strip at Membury visual I did not hesitate to declare a Mayday with Brize Radar and proceeded to line up for R13 (770m).

After trimming out everything we had left on the downwind leg the yoke continued to buffer, turning base felt ok but turning final the AC just didn't want to behaviour and I had to fight back onto the centre line, over the motorway & all the way to the ground. With the debris on the wing, it felt like it was trying to stall the tail, having heard other pilot stories I was more concerned after falling out the sky rather than running out of field, if we got there. POH states 96Kt with the door open, I can't imagine an improvised airbrake on the tail improves the performance, 100Kts was my target over the threshold. Gear down, couple of bounces and roll out onto the asphalt.

Mooney's have control rods rather than cables connecting the flight controls and an articulating tail trim so although in the video the aircraft seems responsive it needed huge asymmetric inputs to hold level, the warping on the right side elevator surface, popped rivets, twisted linkages on stabiliser and sheered metal on the empennage just shows how much force was being applied on the flight controls.

Wind from 090 - 7Kt
No significant weather
OAT - 27 '

Enjoy & Subscribe to watch the rebuild!
Thanks, Steve

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