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Air Plane Doors Shouldn't Fall Off



Originally published
in The Tigard Times
November 1995



        I was half dozing, listening to the radio news recently when the newscaster caught my attention with some startling information.  A rear cargo door came open on an airliner flying at 35,000 feet.  How could that happen I wondered incredulously?  How could they build an airplane that would allow the doors to pop open in flight?  Heck, car doors don't come open when we're driving!  How about a deadbolt or a crass but effective padlock and hasp?  If it were my airplane, the doors wouldn't pop open.

        What's wrong with airplanes anyway?  We've all heard instances of airliners forced to  circle the field trying to get the landing gear to come down.  What's up with that?  How could the landing gear just not come down?  How about sending someone in there with a hand crank?  Because if the wheels don't come down, the alternative is skidding along two miles of asphalt trying not to burst into flames.  If I had an airplane, when I opened the wheel wells they'd fall down.

        We've also heard of complete engines falling off in flight.  Excuse me?  The engine just did what?  I can just hear the pilot explaining that to the passengers! Even a car pulling a trailer has a safety chain.  How about a chain, in case the engine just decides to fall off.

        I once owned a Cadillac.  A wonderful car.  Power everything.  Floated like a cloud on the freeway...until the engine stopped, then  I could barely steer it.  No power steering.  I could barely stop it.  No power brakes.  Only by standing on the brake pedal with both feet was I able to squeak to a stop on the shoulder.  I tried to roll down the windows, but the button just wiggled  under my finger.  Without electricity,  my luxury car made a good two ton anchor, too heavy to push.

        I think technology has robbed us of our crank up windows and helped create airplanes with parts that can fall off or come open when they're supposed to be closed.  I  wondered what Henry Ford  would think of it all.  Now there was a man who understood the basics!



Don DuPay  



ABSOLUTELY NO PORTION OF THIS ARTICLE MAY BE REPRODUCED OR DISSEMINATED WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR, DONALD LEE DUPAY, UNDER PENALTY OF COPYRIGHT LAWS!!


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