February 18, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Liberty Aerospace has come up with a solution for a problem with doors on its two-seat XL-2 aircraft that may pop open in flight. The FAA said it is “not an unsafe condition that would warrant airworthiness directive action.”
The FAA released a special airworthiness information bulletin explaining that “there have been six occurrences of a door opening in flight on Liberty XL-2 airplanes. In all six cases, the pilot has been able to land the airplane safely and there is evidence the door was not properly latched before takeoff.”
The two-passenger/crew entrance doors on the XL-2 are gull-wing type doors with hinges on the top edge of the doors. If a door is not properly closed and latched prior to flight, the air flow during flight could cause the door to open. The open door could separate from the airplane and could cause damage to the airplane empennage or injure someone on the ground.
Liberty Aerospace issued Service Bulletin SB-09-003 on Dec. 15, 2009, to provide a new rear tapered door pin for each door and to publish airplane flight manual revisions. The new door pin allows the door to be more easily latched. The flight manual revisions include additional notes and warnings in the checklists for the pilot to check the engagement of both the front and rear door pins before takeoff.
The FAA “recommended” that owners follow the advice in the service bulletin.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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