There are plenty of incidents where a passenger tries to open an aircraft’s door. There are also plenty of stories about cabin crew members who try to subdue them.
Imagine what would happen if a passenger suddenly opened the emergency door mid-flight. All the passengers would be trapped inside the plane. A passenger in first class almost became that scenario after trying to open the cabin door mid-flight. Fortunately, the crew members were able to restrain him.
Unfortunately, this scenario rarely gets mentioned in the news. In most cases, the incident doesn’t talk about the fact that you can’t open the emergency doors of an airplane.
The main reason why you can’t open the emergency doors of an airplane is because of the pressure inside the cabin. Almost all exits are opened inward, and not even the strongest human can overcome the force that prevents them from opening.
So, in theory, someone could get through airport security and open the emergency exit door using a hydraulic jack. An open door can create explosive decompression, which is a type of structural damage that can occur when a portion of an aircraft’s roof collapses. In 1988, a flight attendant was almost killed after a section of the plane’s roof collapsed.
The Ramifications Of Opening The Door When The Plane Is In The Air
During an international flight, a passenger tried to open an emergency exit mid-air.
About 45 minutes into the flight from Seattle to Beijing, Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, a first-class passenger, grabbed the handle on an exit door.
According to the FBI, a brawl then erupted on the plane after two flight attendants tried to subdue him.
The report stated that after throwing the flight attendants off the plane, he was able to return to the door and disarm the emergency exit.
According to one of the flight attendants, the lever at the 90 degree position could alert the pilot, who would then be able to open the door.
Aerospace engineer David Birch of Surrey University said that the doors of commercial airplanes are typically designed to be secured using the higher pressure inside the aircraft.
If the passenger was able to open the door, then the inflatable slides would have deployed, but they probably would have been torn off due to the force of the oncoming air.
Since the plane’s altitude prevented the oxygen masks from deploying, the cabin pressure would have dropped slightly. However, it would still get very windy and would start to get cold.
Due to safety concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration requires airlines to design exits and cabin pressure gauges to prevent people from opening them intentionally.
Dr. Birch noted that an airplane’s door must be opened safely to allow the passengers to exit the plane.
The flight attendants then called the pilot after informing him about the situation. They then tried to pacify the agitated passenger before returning to the fight.
After the flight attendants tried to calm him down, he allegedly started punching them and hitting a passenger in the head with a wine bottle.
According to the FBI, the passenger did not seem to be affected by the bottle’s broken glass. Instead, he started asking the flight attendants about his identity.
The Doors Of An Airplane Cannot Be Opened
In the pre-flight safety announcement, it’s suggested that you gently pull the mask toward you to start the flow of oxygen. A rapid decompression is an event that can happen mid-flight. It can happen if the plane’s door is opened mid-flight or if a window is smashed.
If the plane’s door is opened mid-flight, people near the exit could be ejected into the sky. As for the cabin temperature, it could plummet to extremely low levels. During a rapid decompression, most people will have about 15 to 20 seconds of usable consciousness. However, this doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to help the other passengers. According to Superpilot, a member of the PPRunE aviation forum, experiencing rapid decompression can cause your tongue to completely bite into your throat in a second.
If you don’t immediately pass out, hypoxia is a serious medical condition that can lead to unconsciousness and death. Getting your oxygen mask fixed is the most important thing that you can do to ensure that the plane can reach a safe altitude.
The pressure difference between the inside and outside of the plane makes it hard to open a door mid-flight. The plane’s windows are also designed to withstand high-pressure conditions. They were made using a special compound.
During a cabin decompression event, a passenger was able to keep a crew member from getting ejected from the plane. Wearing the appropriate seat belt is also important. It can also help you determine the location of the oxygen mask when it’s needed.
A Passenger Cannot Open The Emergency Exit Door Of A Plane While It Is In Flight
In the US, several incidents involving unruly passengers have been reported in the past year. One of these involved a passenger who tried to open a plane door.
These incidents were prevented by the actions of the passengers and flight attendants. Both passengers were arrested. Doug Moss, a retired airline pilot, said that passengers are not strong enough to fend off unruly individuals.
Airplane cabins are pressurized to allow people to breathe properly. According to Patrick Smith of Ask a Pilot, the pressure exerted on the interior of a plane ranges from 8 to 1,100 pounds per square foot.
Bob Thomas, an aeronautical engineering professor, said that the force required to open a plane door alone would be astronomical.
Moss explained that the pressurized environment would have the same effect on emergency exits and the cabin’s other features.
On a flight from Salt Lake City to Oregon on Friday, a man tried to open an exit door. He reportedly said he wanted to be recorded to share his thoughts about a vaccine for coronavirus.
On Sunday, a man tried to open the door of an American Airlines plane as it traveled from Los Angeles to Washington, DC The incident prompted the plane to make an emergency landing in Missouri.
Although it’s unlikely that passengers will be able to open a plane’s door, they should still be aware of the consequences of their actions.
An American Airlines pilot noted that the actions of individuals who try to open an aircraft’s door are considered an attack on the plane. Although it’s unlikely to be successful, the gesture still has dangerous effects.
Fortunately, the other passengers restrained him. However, it’s hard not to imagine what would happen if a plane’s door suddenly opens mid-flight.
According to experts, this would happen due to the difference in air pressure between the plane’s interior and exterior. If the door doesn’t close properly, the entire aircraft would immediately fall apart in the air.
Not wearing an oxygen mask would also increase the risk of oxygen deficiency. However, this scenario is very unlikely to happen.
According to Patrick Smith, a pilot and author, it’s very unlikely that a passenger would be able to open a door mid-flight due to the plane’s high cabin pressure. He noted that airport security would prevent this from happening.
Is It Possible For Pilots To Open Cockpit Windows While In Flight?
The cockpit windows of airplanes can be opened when they’re on the ground, usually for emergency purposes. However, they can also be used for other purposes.
The main reason why the windows can be opened in the cockpit is because of the safety law. It allows the crew to exit the plane using the secondary exit.
On some airplanes, such as the Boeing 747, a hatch can be installed in the ceiling to allow the crew to exit through. They can also use ropes to exit the plane.
Most airplanes, including those made by Airbus and Boeing, have opening windows. They also have an escape rope that can be thrown out of the window to allow the crew to get out safely.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible for pilots to open the cockpit windows during a normal flight. The pressure inside the aircraft prevents the window from closing properly. If the plane is not pressurized, then the windows can be opened.
Modern airplanes usually have the same opening procedure. After the window is opened, it slides into the cockpit.
Several Other Applications
If the cockpit window gets damaged, opening the windows can provide forward vision to the user.
In this video, a pilot demonstrates how this could work. He noted that the lower air flow created by the nose’s aerodynamic design could allow for this feature to be used.
Aside from providing fresh air, opening the windows can also help the crew communicate with ground staff. However, this feature is not usually used for design reasons.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of windows found in airplanes. We also talked about the Spicejet aircraft that had a cracked window.
Although it’s never recommended to open an airplane door mid-flight, you should still avoid doing so since it’s very unlikely that anyone else will be able to do so. At cruising altitude, the pressure that’s applied to the plane’s surface is around 3.3 pounds per square inch.
If someone manages to open the door mid-flight, then the pressure inside the cabin will immediately drop, causing a rapid decompression. This decompression would then cause objects to fall out of the plane, including those who aren’t secured in.
The issue was easily addressed, but the sudden sound that would come from the door along with the jet’s 1,100 horsepower engines would have a massive impact on everyone on board.
Upon reaching the gate, the cabin crew will typically ask passengers to open the door manually. They will also activate the emergency escape slide, which can be used to pull people out of the plane. The cabin crew also wants to make sure that the slides are not too heavy to kill someone.