The Nation : Fail-Safe Machinery Urged for Jet Doors

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended the use of redundant fail-safe mechanisms on airliner cargo door latches to prevent the doors from popping open in flight and to assure that they are properly closed before takeoffs. The safety board said its investigation of an apparent cargo door failure last February in which nine people aboard a United Airlines flight were killed shows the original design of the doors on Boeing 747 models "does not provide for the fail-safe features intended." It recommended redundant indicators to directly pinpoint the position of latch cams on the cargo doors. The board also said torque-limiting devices should be installed to prevent damage to the lock mechanisms during cargo door operation. No final determination has been made of the cause of the United accident.

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