NTSB Identification: ERA12CA024
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 10, 2011 in Warrenton, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 182A, registration: N6324B
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that he was descending the airplane from an altitude of 8,000 feet after releasing skydivers. During the descent, at an altitude of about 3,000 feet, the airplane's door opened and contacted the underside of the wing. The pilot slowed the airplane and attempted to close the door but noticed that the door had warped and that the window was missing. A postflight examination of the airplane revealed that the window had separated from the door in flight and contacted the right horizontal stabilizer, resulting in substantial damage. The door had been modified with a top hinge for skydiving operations and was closed by means of two pin-type latches that were inserted into holes located on both the forward and aft sides of the door frame. The aft pin hole was torn, indicative of its latch pin having been inserted at the time of the door opening; however, the forward pin hole exhibited no damage.

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

The pilot did not ensure that the forward door latch was secured prior to initiating the descent.

Full narrative available

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