NTSB Identification: LAX05LA083.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 17, 2004 in Jean, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Aircraft Mfg & Dev. Co. (AMD) CH-2000, registration: N285AM
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane's clamshell canopy door departed the airframe and struck the pilot's shoulder, while in a banking maneuver. As the pilot initiated a 30-degree turn to the left, the airplane's left canopy door suddenly became ajar, and he experienced difficulty flying the airplane. He attempted to regain control of the airplane, and about 2 to 3 seconds later, the door canopy separated completely from the airframe. After detaching, it struck the pilot's left shoulder, and then impacted the side of the fuselage; he landed at the airport without further incident. After egressing the cockpit, both pilots noted that the canopy latching mechanism was still in the locked position, affixed to the airframe. After several doctor's visits, the pilot was determined to have suffered tendon damage to his left shoulder. Technical examination of the airplane disclosed that the upper aft hinge of the canopy door failed first, followed by the forward hinge and a bolt attaching the bottom latch to the frame. The hinge had apparently undergone stress from the door remaining open during windy conditions or while the propeller was under power over an undetermined number of prior flights. The airplane's flight manual indicates in several locations that the door is to remain closed during such conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

an in-flight separation of the left cockpit door due to the failure of the hinges from repeated exposure to wind or propeller slip stream forces while in the open position. The hinge failures were the ultimate result of the failure of persons unknown to follow the procedures/directives in the airplane flight manual.

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