September 2010 Issue

Open-Door Policy

Flimsy doors and windows are prone to popping open, but we still have to fly the airplane.

The Cessna 150 I first soloed had a time-between-window-openings of about three hours. My instructor and I had suffered the event a couple of times on my way to soloing at—as luck would have it—about nine hours. Sure enough, as I lifted off the runway on my second touch-and-go, the window on the "far" side of the 150’s "cabin" decided it was time I had some fresh air and noise. As if I needed another challenge. What I really needed was three hands: one for the yoke, one for the throttle and one to grab the window latch. Not capable of all three tasks, I climbed away from the runway to what I considered a safe altitude, loosened my death grip on the throttle, reached over, closed the window and latched it. After an otherwise uneventful circuit, I landed to pick up my instructor, who was still laughing. For all I know, he still is.

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