Blow-out panel knocks out airline captain


June 25, 2003, 08:34 AM
For the moderators: this is not firearm related, but of interest. I couldn't think of a better group to ask and get informaiton about this event.

The NTSB recently reported that while in flight an airliner's cockpit door's upper blow-out panel did just that, blew-out from the cockpit door and injured the captain rendering him incapaciated. The flight was never in jeopardy as the co-pilot took over, diverted the plane and made the landing at an enroute desination. This event happened as the door was being closed and secured. The panel fell forward and down, stricking the captain inflicting a 1-inch long cut to his head.

Questions: What is the blow-out panel? My immediate thought is that it equalizes the pressure between the cockpit and the cabin in case of an explosive decompression. How secure is the cockpit with regards to the blow-out panel?

We, I am certain, have some airline pilots or mechanics as members of this site and I would like to hear from them about this.

If you enjoyed reading about "Blow-out panel knocks out airline captain" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
June 25, 2003, 12:53 PM
What is the blow-out panel?

Something engineered into the latest model of the Depends undergarments? :neener:

Actually, I believe they are designed to give way at a level of pressure below what the skin of the plane, in an attempt to equalize the internal cabin pressure(s) before a catastrophic failure occurs. (In other words, they are designed to equalize pressure between compartments.)

These panels only exist in certain types of aircraft.

June 25, 2003, 01:49 PM
This doesn't sound right. AFAIK commercial a/c don't have blow-out panels, doors are typically secured before takeoff, and its hard to imagine something heavy enough on a lightweight door falling forward enough to injure the pilot badly while he is flying the airplane.

Plus a search of the NTSB website didn't show anything.

Mark D
June 25, 2003, 02:33 PM
All pressurized aircraft have blow-out panels of some sort.

Due to the FAA's mandate that all FAA registered commercial A/C have "Enhanced Security Flight-Deck doors", there are a bunch of new door configurations flying around today. These doors are bullet proof, but they still need to comply with the regs that define decompression compliance.

All that to say... The pilot probably got whacked with a reinforced doors blowout panel. Depending on the vendor that supplied the door, this could be a VERY unpleasant experience.

June 25, 2003, 02:45 PM
go to and ask in the forums. someone there always knows the answers.


June 25, 2003, 03:43 PM
Yes, some aircraft have blow-out panels. They can also serve as kick-out panels to allow the crew to exit should the door become jammed.

The reason is to allow the cockpit and cabin to quickly equalize pressure should a rapid decompression occur. The two areas will egualize eventually even without blow-out panels but the panels allow it to happen more quickly.

Current regulations require commercial aircraft to have secure doors to the flight deck so many of the old doors with blow-out/kick-out panels are gone. Because of this, modifications are made to allow the air to flow via a different path.

For instance, my company aircraft have a solid piece of kevlar on the cockpit side of the door and automatic locking mechanisms. We no longer have any panels that are removable. Works well.

Maybe in the incident above a temporary modification had been made to the door to meet the security requirements and still allow the air to flow freely.

Haven't heard about this before. Do you have a link to the NTSB report?

Double Naught Spy
June 25, 2003, 05:17 PM
YankeeRebel, do you have a link for this supposed event?

June 25, 2003, 05:55 PM
Let me look tomorrow at work. I think I left the report there on my desk. My flying buddy got it yesterday from the NTSB site. The event happened June 10 near GCK or DDC. The co-pilot diverted the a/c into Denver. The flight had departed STL for a destination on the West coast. One of the flight attentendents had just take refreshments to the cockpit crew and was securing the door on the way out.

The report names the airline, but I have choosen not to give it here. As I remember the a/c or equipment, if you preferr, was a B-757.

June 25, 2003, 06:13 PM

This really is off-topic, so I'm closing it. I think you've gotten enough answers here to be able to find the rest of what you want to know on your own.

Anyone else have more info, feel free to PM the thread starter.


The jorney of a hundred miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tire.

If you enjoyed reading about "Blow-out panel knocks out airline captain" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!