This is an excerpt from a report made to the Aviation Safety Reporting System. The narrative is written by the pilot, rather than FAA or NTSB officials. To maintain anonymity, many details, such as aircraft model or airport, are often scrubbed from the reports.
On departure, the Baron’s right-hand side passenger door came open.
At first, the door only opened slightly and noise was the only factor. Nothing changed in the way of flying the airplane.
I got the hand-off from Tower to Departure, and during my initial check-in out of 1,500 feet climbing to 2,000 feet, the door swung fully open and became stuck in that position.
At this point, the airplane did not fly in a stable matter. There was so much noise that I could no longer hear ATC with much clarity.
At this point, an immediate return to ZZZ was needed, and I had already informed Departure that we were going to need to come back to the airport. I knew we were moving away from the airport and I did not know how much longer I was going to be able to fly the airplane, and if the door was going to rip off and cause structural damage to the airplane.
I requested priority handling and said we were going to proceed straight in for Runway XX at ZZZ, and to send the trucks if possible, as I did not have confidence in the aircraft performance at low speed.
Once I landed the airplane, I determined there was no longer a need to continue with the priority handling and I advised Tower that assistance was no longer required.
I had a passenger in the aircraft on the previous flight, which had terminated only minutes before the other one commenced. The seat belt was stuck in the door, and I was able to put the door handle into the closed position getting a positive indication that the door was closed and secure.
I should have looked at the entire door to confirm that it was closed and secure, and not just the general frame and the door closed indicator.
I will now be doing that on every flight in this aircraft in the future.
At the end of the day, I, as Pilot in Command, am responsible for all the doors being secured, not any passenger. This was nobody’s fault other than my own.
Primary Problem: Human Factors