This September 2008 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Three Lakes, Wis. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: As the pilot started the takeoff roll the airplane’s door opened. The pilot continued with the takeoff and simultaneously tried to close the door. The airplane did not gain enough altitude to clear trees next to the runway.
Probable cause: The failure to attain sufficient altitude to avoid the trees during initial climb. The failure to ensure the security of the door before takeoff and the unintentional opening of the door were factors.
For more information: NTSB.gov