Boeing 777-236B, G-VIIA
A large access door, measuring 4 x 6 feet and weighing 70 lb, detached from the aircraft shortly after takeoff from Gatwick Airport, causing substantial damage to two cabin windows and minor damage to the fuselage and fin. Fragments of the door penetrated into the cabin and large parts of it landed close to persons on the ground. It was likely that only one of the thirteen door catches had been fastened and that the door had suffered overload failure due to aerodynamic forces as the aircraft accelerated, allowing it to open and detach. Multiple walk-round inspections of the aircraft by different personnel had failed to detect the open catches. The inadequate fastening had apparently occurred during a routine maintenance check due to a deviation from standard procedures; a practice that reportedly had been fostered by features of the maintenance system and may have been commonplace. It appeared likely that the human performance factors evident in this event could be affected beneficially by improvements in the operator’s maintenance and inspection systems. One safety recommendation has been made.
Published 10 December 2014