There is only one situation where the aircraft door can be opened in the air

 Hollywood movies seem to like to show people opening hatches in flight. But is this really possible? Let's take an "open" look at this topic.

A321 hatch and first class cabin crew

Hollywood movies seem to like to show people opening the hatch in flight. The wind speeding through the plane is usually accompanied by images of struggle. But can the doors open in flight?

Operating the door requires skill

The first thing to consider is that the A320 hatch is ultimately mechanically locked and controlled by the pilot.

The large handle on the hatch is locked through the flight crew.

Of course, once all passengers have boarded, the crew will close the hatch and perform an inspection. The pilot will then activate the final locking mechanism and the hatch will be secured by a series of electrical and mechanical locking latches.

On landing, when the aircraft has landed and taxied to the gate and passengers are ready to disembark, the pilot hands over control and only those standing near the hatch can open it.

If the aircraft needs to be evacuated, a ground hatch operation is required. You may have also heard the pilot communicate the command to "unlock the hatch," which refers to the automatic deployment of the slide, which can be deployed with great force. Enough to kill a man, or destroy a food truck.

So, when you are on the ground, it is possible to open the door. However, in the air, it's a different story.

The flight attendants have to personally check and close the cabin doors before the plane moves.

Pressure, pressure, pressure

Once airborne, the air pressurized aircraft hatch cannot be opened. Pilots, flight attendants and passengers can't open anyone. Why? The reason is simple: the cabin pressure does not allow this.

These doors open inward, and the cabin pressure is too high for anyone to open them. At a typical cruising altitude, every square inch of the interior of the fuselage is under pressure of up to 8 lbs. That's more than 1,100 pounds per square foot. Even at lower altitudes, this difference is still more than anyone can overcome.

The hatch is protruding and seals like a plug once pressure is applied. Even well-trained flight attendants must practice navigating the nuances of coordinating muscle strength and opening mechanisms. Some doors can retract upward into the ceiling; some swing outward. But first, they open inward. This requires a great deal of training, and most passengers are not equipped to operate this expertly.

Cabin doors have a series of mechanical latches and tapered shapes to ensure a tight seal under pressure.

But didn't D.B. Cooper already do that?

The famous case of D.B. Cooper, who pulled off the incredible feat of rescuing a plane from a Northwest Airlines Boeing 727 with a bag full of money on his back, is legendary. There are still many mysteries surrounding his escape, but one thing is certain: the door he walked out of was not the cabin door. This is very difficult to do.

This mysterious thief opened the back door of the 727 and lowered the stairs in mid-flight. It was something the civilian crew didn't realize at the time. Cooper's high-altitude rescue in the night sky, along with many stories and conspiracy theories, led to changes in the design of the 727's rear doors and a security feature called "Cooper Vane.

The rear doors and stairs of the Boeing 727 are not sealed like other cabin doors.

Passengers and crews took risks trying.

Mysterious criminals aside, there were many passengers who tried to open the hatch during the flight. But they never succeeded and ended up just handcuffed.

On the ground, there have been passengers who have opened the hatch, and even one or two exhausted flight attendants who tried to end their flights early inside a safely parked aircraft have done so.

These ambitious attempts to open the cockpit door will probably be continued by others. However, I'm afraid any attempt to open the door during a flight is only possible in Hollywood movies, where the impossible can always become a reality.

There is only one situation where the aircraft door can be opened in the air There is only one situation where the aircraft door can be opened in the air Reviewed by airmedia on August 10, 2022 Rating: 5

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