• Passengers on an old, Russian-made Antonov AN-26 recently experienced a scary incident when a rear door malfunctioned and opened mid-flight.
  • Small items were sucked out in the frigid below-freezing temperatures.
  • Due to airplane design and cabin pressure, a cabin door opening mid-flight on a modern airplane is not possible without other damage.

OK, so it generally isn’t a great sign when the rear door to your commercial airliner rips open during a flight filled with passengers and starts sucking out small items, which is what recently happened on a Soviet-era Antonov AN-26 traveling between two small Russian cities.

But hey, it could’ve gone so much worse: Nobody was seriously injured, the flight had just taken off so the pressure change wasn’t dangerous, and most of the world doesn’t fly in an outdated airplane manufactured in the 1970s and 80s, so the likelihood of this happening on one of your future flights is incredibly low.

Shortly after takeoff of the Russian commercial flight, a “loud pop” resulted in the rear door of the AN-26 opening, sucking out hats and luggage—and thankfully not a male passenger near the rear of the plane who had just unbuckled, as he was able to grab hold and stay inside—and forcing the plane to immediately return to Magan in the Siberian region in -41-degree-Celsius conditions.

One passenger grabbed footage in the 15 minutes from the door opening to the emergency landing, showing the incredibly cold, wind-sucking nature of the flight. You can check out that footage below, via The Sun:

Hear it from one horrified male passenger:

“A man sitting at the rear of the plane was nearly blown away. He had just unfastened his seat belt. And he was almost blown out of the plane.”

Due to the age and known manufacturing techniques of the Antonov AN-26 plane, you can almost certainly rest easy knowing the door on your next flight won’t just pop open. A few things are in play on modern flights, including the curvature of the door that acts as a plug for the plane, the mechanical lock that prevents them from opening, and the cabin pressure that further renders them impossible to open mid-flight.

Older airplane designs didn’t feature specialized locks, especially on rear doors, or plans that prevented a rear door from opening, even in pressurized situations, because of its location on the rear of a plane without outside resistance.

The recent Russian flight encountered its malfunction shortly after takeoff, but as cabin pressure grows—airplane cabin pressure mimics 8,000 feet above sea level, so we aren’t physically harmed by the super-thin air and low levels of oxygen when we reaching our favorite cruising altitude—it can reach over 1,000 pounds per square foot of pressure on a cabin door, ensuring the door stays in place even if the mechanical locks were turned off.

One of the most horrific cases of an opening occurring mid-flight happened to an Aloha Airlines flight in 1988, when a piece of the fuselage broke open a chunk of the top of the plane at 24,000 feet, with the instant pressure change sucking a flight attendant through the hole.

The vacuum effect only recedes when the pressure inside the plane matches that outside.

2023-01-10T15:58:57Z dg43tfdfdgfd