NTSB Identification: WPR12LA030
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 08, 2011 in Cheyenne, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31T, registration: N39EH
Injuries: 4 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 was climbing through 7,500 feet when the main cabin door opened in-flight and subsequently separated from the airframe. The main cabin door was later recovered and examined. The examination revealed deformation on the outer skin on the lower end of the door; the skin deformation was consistent with the door rotating downward and aft relative to the hinge attachment. The fracture surfaces were on slant planes consistent with ductile overstress fracture. No evidence of preexisting cracks was observed. The door latching mechanism was examined and all pushrods, latch pins, and the associated bellcrank were in place and intact. Wear was observed on the upper side of the forward pins at the middle and upper positions; however, the latching mechanism travel and extension of the latch pins was correct. No other anomalies were noted; thus it is likely the door latch mechanism was not fully engaged before takeoff, which resulted in the door opening in-flight.

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

The flight crew’s failure to properly latch the cabin door before takeoff.

Full narrative available

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