The FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin Feb. 9 to alert owners about an issue with the doors on the Liberty XL-2 opening in-flight.
According to the SAIB, there have been six occurrences of a door opening in-flight. In all six cases, the pilot was able to land the airplane safely. FAA officials note there is evidence the doors were not properly latched before takeoff.
The two 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 airflow during flight could cause the door to open, the SAIB noted, adding the open door could separate from the airplane and could cause damage to the airplane empennage or injure someone on the ground.
Liberty Aerospace has issued Service Bulletin SB-09-003, dated Dec. 15, 2009, to provide a new rear tapered door pin for each door and to publish airplane flight manual (AFM) revisions. The new rear tapered door pin will allow for easier latching of the door. The 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 in their receptacles before takeoff.
FAA officials encourage owners and maintenance personnel to have the new rear door pin installed at the next scheduled maintenance event. “We also recommend that an updated AFM be onboard the airplane as soon as possible,” the SAIB concludes.
For more information: Cindy Lorenzen, Program Manager, FAA, Central Region, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, 404-474-5524 or Cindy.Lorenzen@faa.gov; 321-752-0332 or LibertyAircraft.com. Read the full SAIB here.