A YouTube video widely derided as a pilot faking an engine failure so he could bail out of his stricken airplane was in fact caused by a little appreciated hazard of being accidentally sucked out of the airplane when a door comes open. In this week’s Best of the Web video, crack aviation investigator Bryan Turner gets to the bottom of this tragic event and surely hundreds of lives will be saved as a result. As he points out, it can happen in cars, too. Even your house.

80 COMMENTS

  1. ALERT !!! Do NOT EVER follow what the guy in this video says.
    He states that, if a door unexpectedly opens in flight, you have to shut off the engine otherwise you’d be going too fast and you’d get sucked out.

    This is TOTAL NONSENSE! A pilot can manage airspeed by controlling pitch attitude and reducing power without turning the engine off! Who would make such a comment while reviewing the video of an airplane flying over rugged terrain with no safe option to land?

    If you have you not simulated the inadvertent opening of a door in flight during your private pilot training, try it with an instructor. You will see that it’s almost a non-event and you can easily lock and latch the door again in flight and/or land safely as if nothing had happened. Just remember to always keep your seat belt fastened at all times while at the controls.

  2. Thank you Brian! You made my day with this insightful PSA! As a retired airline captain, I can tell you it was one of my great fears that some one would open the passenger door and suck all my passengers out. That’s why the FAA put the beefed up door on all the cockpits so the pilots could land the plane and save the lives of innocents on the ground.
    God Bless You

  3. Wait a minute. I’ve skydived out of many 182s, Twin Otters, DC-3’s, Turbo Porters, Beavers, Twin Beach, Long Rangers and Balloons. Opening the door has never sucked anybody out of our stuffed airplanes, no matter how fast, slow, low or high we were. I can’t tell you what is going on here but I suspect even the guy reviewing this video is doing a fine job of faking us all.

  4. Dear Editorial Staff, If this was an attempt at humor, please leave that to the professionals. This waste of time can hardly be deemed the “best” of the web. Further, @justplaneSTUPID dude is a embarrassing moron to himself and aviation in general, and has zero business being featured in your “WORLD’S PREMIER INDEPENDENT AVIATION NEWS RESOURCE”. I usually welcome the updates from your publication, but if this BS becomes the same moronic media garbage designed to feed our increasingly stupid population, I will have to say goodbye. I treasure the aviation community as one of the last bastions of good clear thinking people left in this country, please don’t ruin it.

  5. What a load of crap!! I’ve hauled jumpers with doors completely removed and never had anyone “sucked out” of a light aircraft. I’ve had doors on Cessna, Piper, and Commander aircraft come open in flight – but everyone stayed in their seats. As far as “large airplanes” as the author suggests, people aren’t sucked out but are occasionally blown out during the rapid decompression. If you’ve never been through a rapid decompression chamber and had the chance to experience the event, given the chance it is something you should really do.

    Why is the mic unplugged for this flight but usually plugged in for other flights? Why is he wearing a parachute when he expressed no desire to perform aerobatic maneuvers? To stop the prop, the aircraft had to be slowed down very close to stall speed so where is the slip stream necessary to “suck” him out?

    This was completely staged. It would be interesting to review the pilot’s financial health, aircraft airworthiness, and how large a person his friend really was. That’s not a lot of “ash” for a human being.

    My premise: what a load of crap.

    • Not that I want to grant him any credulity, but, in fairness, he never claimed that ALL of his friend was there.

      It is not unusual for a person’s ashes to be divided amongst family and friends – why would he be left holding the entire bag?

      A common scenario would be for part of the cremains (which aren’t actually ashes) to be kept in a traditional urn, but with samples also reserved to be spread at appropriate locales.

  6. This video is yet another internet hoax.

    In addition to being a line pilot, I was a simulator instructor for many years. On the “Malfunctions” page of the instructor’s console in a 757 simulator, under “Miscellaneous” was “Pilot Sucked Out”. It did nothing. I think it was an artifact of Brit humor. The simulator was built by Rediffusion in Crawley, England and commissioned in late 1990. In a famous June 1990 incident, the captain of a BAC-111 was partially sucked out of his aircraft over Birmingham, England when an improperly installed windscreen blew out.

    There were a few times in 25 years of sim instructing that I wished for a functioning “Pilot Sucked Out” utility.

  7. I’m a great fan of intelligent satire, but I’m disappointed to see this on an august publication such as AVWeb. I saw this video-about-a-video on a flight instructor-themed Facebook group over the weekend and most of the many comments showed people were taking it seriously. For those of us familiar with the original video and the lampooning nature of the video linked here, this may seem funny. For the public that sees these things, now endorsed by the leading aviation news website as “the best of the web,” it can be easily misconstrued. There’s enough misinformation about light airplanes out there without us making it up and broadcasting it out ourselves.

  8. I’ll tell you what sucks here. It’s that the Clickbait Paradigm invoked by the bailout butthead in the original video is now being used by another clickbaiter in order to perpetuate more clicks well past the normally-allotted 15 Minutes Of “Fame”.

  9. Ok, this is some Monty-Python-grade nonsensical satire-humor here, the commenter guy seems to make it his specialty around aviation. Seriously, the RFID-proof wallet with a pouch if you have a really small friend’s ashes to carry on you? Planes land themselves after the pilot has left? (Although some do!). And I rather like the story within the story thing, like stupid squared.

    Anyway, you may not like that particular brand of humor, but it’s crazy to comment this video like it was some kind of instructional material – of course open doors don’t suck people out of planes, thanks for pointing it out!

    As for both guys, I just wish them to continue their gigs without dying, some of the stuff they do is a bit on the risky side for me – but even then, it’s their skin, right?

  10. Not that I want to grant him any credulity, but, in fairness, he never claimed that ALL of his friend was there.

    It is not unusual for a person’s ashes to be divided amongst family and friends – why would he be left holding the entire bag?

    A common scenario would be for part of the cremains (which aren’t actually ashes) to be kept in a traditional urn, but with samples also reserved to be spread at appropriate locales.

  11. I get it! But you did fool some. The video is so ridiculous and funny I am sure it took him many takes to do it with a straight face. Such lines as “see he gut sucked out and it goes all the way to the ground” are precious! Thanks AV web for my morning funny pages. Since I don’t read a news paper I have been missing the comments!

  12. Aerodynamic Pilot Extraction (APE) has been such a problem that a number of companies have attempted to address this unsafe situation for General Aviation. As was pointed out by a very knowledgeable airline captain, the reinforced doors in airliners were introduced to keep pilots in their recliners. But since very few GA airplane have cabin doors or recliners, a number of alternative strategies have been explored.

    Several years ago the Wherehouser Company introduced a product called “Woodie Door Keeper.” It consists of precision milled 2 x 4 timbers inside and outside of the pilot’s door, bolted together through the window. The STC AML currently lists only Cessna products as the window placement is a critical part of the installation. It has proved very popular in warmer climates and in airplanes with a high V(window open) operating speed. Wherehouser claims that pilots with Woodies are significantly safer.

    Garman R&D Inc. is covertly working on a light-weight Pilot Winch. It mounts to the instrument panel in place of the radio stack. A cable attached to a pilot waist harness automatically senses the pilot sucked out of his (or her) seat and automatically reels him (or her) back into the airplane. While an STC is not yet available, the FAA is working feverishly to approve the installation on virtually all GA airplanes that do not have recliners.

    For over half a century, Cub drivers have benefited from back seat piloting. The advanced design of the Piper Cub puts the door ahead of the pilot preventing the possibility of APE.
    A product called the “Mother In-Law Controller” (MILC) allows the controls of most GA aircraft to be extended to the back seat thereby giving all the advantages of a Cub without the constant threat of ground loops. The company, somewhat whimsically, states that MILC “does not suck as much” as other products.

    • Thanks for the first link. Haven’t seen it since my days as a student pilot. Some of the written for the PPL was based on that.

      I’ll leave Trevor to others. I have another as a flight instructor. Has anyone calculated the air pressure on a human body in a cockpit? Sucks, doesn’t it!

  13. Initially I was a tiny bit uncertain about the veracity of this video, but, having been an owner of both Cessna and Bonanza, when he noted that “Bonanza doors open all the time…and Cessna doors don’t even close” my faith in his technical expertise was solidified.

    It is a sad commentary on our pilot population that so many of those posting replies do not seem to accept this was a truly serious effort to address a real and widespread problem.

    • My (limited) experience with Cessnas and a Bonanza (K35) shows that the doors open only a few inches. Loose McDonald’s wrappers stay in place or flop around the cabin.

      I didn’t get the video as satire until the bit about suction going all the way to the ground.

  14. One of the funniest things about this is all the commentators who think it was serious and/or didn’t think it was funny!

    Thanks, AvWeb for posting this. I think it’s hilarious.

    For all those who think that satire or humor has no place in a forum like AvWeb, I would suggest that they stop reading any of Paul Berge’s commentaries. He’s a master at interjecting humor into his writing–and he isn’t the only one.

    If Roscoe Turner could fly with Gilmore the Lion as his FO and Art Scholl could fly with dog as his copilot, surely we can smile at the modern click-bait seekers as they entertain us with their versions of aeronautical absurdity. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. 😂

  15. Reading the comments here I honestly thought pilots would be a little brighter than this.
    Some of you actually think this is real? The stunt Jacobs pulled IS real but not Bryan’s video is satire.

    The individuals that think Bryan’s video is anything other than satire lampooning and idiot that pulled a stunt for views, burn your logbooks, turn your certificate into your local FISDO and never get near an airplane again.

  16. I would suggest that quite a few commentators need a sense of humour transplant. I thought the video was hilarious and was amazed he could keep a straight face throughout.

    To the editors. Don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun. The next time you want to keep it light I highly recommend the Pratt and Whitney “Turbo encaspulator” video on YouTube 😀

  17. This reasoned and explanative video should immediately be forwarded to the NSTB and the FAA, it would save them a lot of time figuring out what went wrong with poor Trevor’s flight. Thank God he just happened to have a parachute on during that flight, plus numerous video cameras to record exactly how the dreaded “pilot getting sucked out of a aircraft ” happened once again. Avweb performed a valuable service to the aviation community in posting this video. Plus made me laugh like hell and almost blow beer out my nose.

  18. I apologize for trying to bring any humor to aviation. I forget we are supposed to just be a bunch of crotchety old men that like to argue and bicker about these new fangled magenta lines. The good news is I have learned and here forward I will only make videos explaining why flying is serious and scary and explain why everyone else is doing it wrong. I will incorporate phrases like “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it” and continue the effort to push newcomers away from this terribly serious hobby of ours. Its ours dammit. Only ours! And when we’re gone, so shall it be gone. I will only post things that get the response “I bet you’re real fun at parties.”
    I understand the mission now gentlemen. Together we can kill this.

  19. I have subscribed to Bryan’s channel on YouTube for years. Trevor was a moron and Bryan is just being… well Bryan. I would not care to be in the same room with Trevor. But would like having Bryan around my local airport to hang with. Yadda Yadda.
    But now let me point out what I am getting from reading many of the comments here written by those who can’t seem to catch on to what’s going on. A few of these respondents appear to be outside the USA and the language difference and nuances of satire (lost upon many) can be a set up for failure. My sister was a foreign exchange student in Guadalajara when the movie, “Porkies” was released in Spanish. She found herself the only one laughing aming the stoic and serious crowd in the theater and the locals thought she was weird laughing during such a classic cinematic masterpiece. My fiancé is originally from the Czech Republic so I often find my colloquailisms and Texas cowboy sayings answered by a blank stare. And irony and satire can flat get me in trouble rather than a chuckle. This from a girl who speaks fluent English, Czech and Spanish with a US college degree who turns embarrassingly red when we pull into a parking lot with a Dick’s Sporting Goods. Aside from the foreign-angled innocent serious response to satire there will always be a few old Type A sore heads out there. And then there was even the FAA moron who investigated Bryan’s satire as being bad official flight instruction. I know nobody likes Trevor’s original immature moronic bailout video destroying a great little T-Craft because nobody gave him any attention in school. But we should equally embrace Bryan’s effort at stepping on Trevor’s head for being stupid enough to publish the staged publicity stunt. I would encourage anybody who doesn’t find Bryan’s satire here fulfilling to visit his other videos on YouTube. Much like “The Far Side” it takes a couple of goes to catch on and acquire the taste. I reckon a percentage of us embedded in foreign culture or the truly shallow won’t get it. And a few old sore heads.

  20. I have been skydiving for more than 25 years. A lot of that time was spent as an instructor working through an open door and working with students getting out of the airplane. We have been in and out of all manner of aircraft. We have ridden in all manner of airplanes with doors open from taxi through exit at altitude. We have sat in the open door at very slow and very fast speeds. We often times check our progress to our exit point with some or much of our body outside the door. We have been in the open door or in the cockpit of open cockpit aircraft at all sorts of unusual attitudes. We are so used to being close to an open door in flight that it is not even an event. Ever. (Yawn) In fact, it’s a whole bunch harder to get a scared student outside the airplane than just simply opening the door and watching them being sucked out. Sometimes, understanding the difficulty in getting some to leave the airplane it would be far more preferable to simply have them sucked out. As I grow older my exits grow more arthritic in nature and I’ve often thought a nice high powered vacuum extraction might be more comfortable. Trouble is, it just doesn’t work like that. This is an attempt at Roadrunner/Coyote physics placed where we know they don’t exist. I have grown very weary of the lame attempts at humor of writers here on this site. It seems there are not enough real life situations in our day to write about so we have to suffer through paragraphs of utterly ridiculous hyperbole and the worst ever in history stand up comedy presented in print. This story cannot be realistic and simply put, bathing the dogs is far more interesting. Even better that, it’s a better use of my time.

  21. I have several real-life occurrences that are hilarious. I’d rather read about the real stories in aviation that people can find hilarious. I’ll start. This one is real.
    In the middle 2000’s I and my family often made flights to visit family. Our common route was 3AU with a restroom stop at KONL and then on to NA13, my wife’s home airport. She grew up there. We have two girls who were then 2 and 3 years old. Thus the rest stops at O’neill. The airplane could go a lot farther than the kids could sit. KONL provided an easy stop and a place for lunch. I always bought fuel while there just so I was contributing to the facility. You know how it goes. The manager would often chat with us when there and he was delighted by kids who were obviously involved in aviation, albeit a passive role. We became common visitors to his world. On one of the return flights we had departed KONL and were enroute about 30 minutes when our 2 yr old discovered she had left her stuffed monkey at the KONL FBO. Tears ensued and wailing was not far behind. I wasn’t willing to go back for the monkey. We proceeded on course and put the loss behind us. After arriving home things fell back into routine and the monkey was for the moment forgotten. Two year old kids have a full schedule just being kids and the monkey wasn’t missed. About 2 weeks later the UPS truck sped up to my business and stopped in the doorway. The driver came in with a small box that was addressed from KONL. I was shocked but not surprised that the monkey was in the box. I took the monkey home and a glorious and tearful reunion took place with promises to never leave the monkey behind again. Now the girl is 17 yrs old and the monkey is still in her room. My wife and I still make jokes all the time how dogs and stuffed monkeys always return home. Even in simple passing conversation the manager, Brian, had noticed the 2 year old clutching that monkey. When he found it neatly tucked in for a nap in a bunk in the pilot’s lounge, he scooped it up and sent it to my FAA address listed with my tail number.
    A lot of us lived through and love these kind of true tales. We used to sit around at our home airport on Saturday mornings over coffee and told these kind of stories. They made us realize we all belonged to a family larger than our own. Most of these stories are just hilarious at their base and compelling at their message. I miss those days. Nobody gathers for coffee or stories any more. We’re somehow less for our disconnected social media lives and bored to tears with poor stand-up humor in print form. There’s more to life still.

  22. Thanks Bryan and Avweb. I thought this video was hilarious. If you want understand one of the problems with getting younger folks into aviation, all you have to do is read some of the comments made by the curmudgeons who often populate the comment section on Avweb.

  23. Dear Bryan (And AvWeb)
    I would like to recommend that both videos be incorporated into the PPL written exam. The Kevin one followed by a few questions, and the Bryan one followed by a test.

    Those that fail the first would be allowed second chance after additional 80 hours of instructions. Those that fail to recognize Bryan’s as satire would be forever banned from GA (pilot or passenger) and would only be allowed to fly commercial with a special “Do Not Use Humor” decal on their foreheads.

    Avweb – keep up the humor! (However I suggest adding a note that those are for intelligent viewers only)