Door Pops Open Mid-Flight

One thing I hate about the 152 is the doors are prone to popping open if not slammed shut and pushed to check. Door Pops Open on Airplane - YouTube

:rofl: one of the things I remember about the clapped out beater of a 172 I flew for primary training was you had to slam the door like 10 times to get it to shut… Oh and that useless door key took about 40 tries to get it to lock/unlock. Ah, I don’t miss that bucket.

Never had the door pop fully open in flight in the Arrow… I did have it pop open to the latch once and it just got noisier… no real issue. Most annoying thing was once I was flying someone back to the DC area and the loose end of their harness strap somehow got closed in the door. Produced a loud, annoying flapping noise for the entire 1.5 hour flight :rofl:

Fly the airplane. There really is nothing much to it.
Even if the door flies off completely…no big deal.
It hits the elevator on the way from the airplane…not likely and also not likely to render the aircraft uncontrollable.
So….fly the airplane….almost every singe occurrence of this with a less than uneventful outcome was caused by the PIC forgetting that part.

Since in the Cherokee family the PIC is not sitting by the door, it is important to make sure the passengers or right seater knows how to properly latch the door and make sure it is closed and latched.
I added that to our checklists as a before take off item.
But as has been mentioned before the door may pop open a few inches, making it a bit more noisy. But the airplane will not even know there is something amiss.
Closing the door as single pilot is what usually gets people, they get to preoccupied with that nonsense task and forget the important bits.

As for that 150 door…I have flown an airplane like that. I actually held the left door with my elbow for a half hour and until short final. It had popped open after a bit of mild turbulence…the owner told me afterwards….”yeah she does that sometimes” :crazy_face:

Hah, I do the same. I have my passengers practice opening and closing the door and tell them it probably won’t happen, but it’s not a big deal if it pops open. Also good to have them practice in case the need to quickly egress arises.

It comes into play more with Cessnas, but I also tell them to egress to the rear of the aircraft, not toward the potentially invisible prop.

Most definitely!

There’s a saying regarding Cessnas: “when one door closes, another opens.”


Back when I was a CFI, a door popped open on a student in a 152 and he tried to close the door 50 feet above the ground after rotation. To show he wouldn’t fall out and to realign his focus with flying the airplane first, especially after takeoff, we re-opened the door at a safe altitude and left it trailing for most of the flight. Eventually, I had him slow the aircraft and then close the door.

Cessna doors can be used as flight controls in an emergency. A friend told me this :wink:


I’ve had both a 152 and 172 door pop open during flight. After the first time it wasn’t a big deal.

Recently there was an excellent analysis by a professional 737 captain discussing how IRL a passenger opened an Airbus A320 door during an approach. He went into a lot of detail about door design and the force needed to open a door. He contrasted the A320 door design with the 737 door design. It was very informative! The most often asked question was why the A320 didn’t have an explosive decompression and why no oxygen masks were deployed. Since the aircraft was on final, it was low enough where the outside and inside air pressure were equal and well below the altitude for oxygen equipment.

In-flight door openings aren’t limited to 152s or 172s!

I remember getting the look from my instructor when my door popped open on the 152 after take-off. I don’t remember trying to fix it, and if I did I certainly didn’t have the controls.

What’s funny is the door doesn’t latch half the time and bangs around loosely on the Grand Theft Auto 5 Cessna. For as arcade as that game is, the developers sure put in a lot of little realistic touches that I’m sure were born from their real life experience.

I just wish we could open the doors at all on the Asobo aircraft.

I had this happen on my second or third flight. Fortunately however, it was my instructor popping the door open to get it to close properly. He did it, adjusted himself and then looked over to my, obviously aghast, face to reassure me that this was okay as he still had his harness on. I mean, I get it, but still, unannounced and without warning - It was a shock.

Also happened to me while doing steep turns at around 5000 feet lol, the instructor just reacted like its just kinda normal

I thought that was my big failure on my discovery flight. I slammed that thing over and over and over. I thought we were never going to get off the ground. I was feeling like an idiot for not being able to close the door.

Once I got it closed, I really made sure my seat belt was secure. :sweat_smile:

That was the hardest part of the whole experience.

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