German investigators are exploring two scenarios following a DHL Air Boeing 757-200 converted freighter’s key cargo door opened in flight, some 3min just after just take-off from Leipzig.
3 occupants – the captain, 1st officer and a non-enterprise bounce-seat pilot – had been on board the Uk-registered aircraft (G-DHKZ) which was certain for Frankfurt on 13 February this 12 months.
Right after the doorway opened at about 5,100ft, the crew stopped the climb and opted to return to the departure runway, but to land in the opposite 08R way.
Although the crew expert regulate challenges with the autopilot engaged, and the captain took guide control, the plane landed safely and securely some 14min right after the incident.
The plane, initially sent to Inter European Airways in 1992, underwent conversion to a freighter in 2011.
German investigation authority BFU claims the cargo door design is composed of two key parts: a hydraulic-mechanical movement and locking procedure, moreover an electrical regulate circuit.
Each are still becoming examined as part of two situations under thing to consider by the inquiry. But BFU says the electrical circuit inspection has “not revealed any irregularities”.
Closure of the doorway will involve hydraulic stress remaining applied to the lift cylinders to decrease the doorway, until finally it is flush with the fuselage. As the hydraulic pressure will increase, latches are driven into the spools. Then a even more enhance in force moves lock pins into drill-holes, locking the door.
Indicator warning lights on the doorway command panel extinguish at each stage of the closing, latching and locking.
Whilst the inquiry has not reached any conclusions about the trigger of the event, it has produced a amount of observations about the door’s hydraulic procedure – together with a leak in a hydraulic line – and the latching mechanism.
It has not clarified no matter whether any anomalies found in the door’s mechanical techniques are the outcome of injury incurred as the doorway opened in the slipstream even though the 757 was travelling at 240kt.
But it says hinges on the carry system were distorted, the internal lining of the door was lacking, and there was harm to wiring harnesses.
Examination of the locking program, positioned on the decrease edge of the door, uncovered that lock pins did not arrive at their ultimate situation by drill-holes in the latches.
“During a later on assessment, the standing of the latches…was reconstructed and unveiled that the door could be pushed open up manually,” it provides. “The latches slid throughout the latch spools on the flooring. The upper surface of the spools confirmed scratch marks.”
Attempts to run the locking mechanism manually working with the hydraulic system’s hand pump discovered an “error in its motion sequence”, claims the inquiry. Investigators have been unable to rule out the doable presence of air in the system before the hydraulic leak.
Surveillance movie of the plane displays the previous crew opened the doorway about 85% of the way right after it parked on arrival.
When the ground crew took more than the doorway was opened even more, interrupted briefly, then opened totally before getting absolutely closed once more, in a solitary motion, about 1min afterwards. Immediately after yet another 2min the doorway was opened once again, by 20%, and then shut once more.
All the cargo loaded on the aircraft remained on board through these opening-closing sequences.
Following a new crew boarded, a little a lot more than 40min later on, the door was totally opened as soon as much more to unload the cargo. A new shipment was then loaded and an personal, identified as the captain, appeared at the crew door and closed the cargo door in a one movement.
“The [captain] mentioned he was the one particular closing the cargo door completely, so that all regulate indications at the [door] handle panel experienced gone out and the cargo doorway was flush with the fuselage,” suggests the inquiry.
“According to the assertion of each [pilots], in the cockpit the cargo doorway warning mild had also absent out.”
As part of the investigation BFU is examining a very similar incident, involving a Yakutia Boeing 757-200 (VQ-BPY), which occurred in December 2014 as the plane climbed out of Magadan. Right after the most important cargo doorway opened entirely, the crew returned to the departure airport and landed with out additional incident.