AAIB investigation to Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP, G-ELLA

Forward baggage door opened in flight, near the Compton VOR, 10 January 2018.


Prior to undertaking a training flight with an instructor, the owner completed a pre-flight inspection. As part of this, he took off the aircraft’s cover and stored it in the forward baggage bay but, during the flight after practising a stall, the baggage bay door opened unexpectedly. The cover was sucked out of the baggage bay and struck the wing before detaching from the airframe. The baggage bay door remained open in the slipstream, with no control difficulties experienced by the crew, as they returned to White Waltham Airfield where the aircraft landed safely.

The instructor believes that the baggage bay door was not properly secured during the pre-flight inspection. Other than to the baggage bay door, no other damage was noted, and the aircraft was returned to service once it had been repaired.

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Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP, G-ELLA 12-18

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Published 6 December 2018