Wings Magazine

Field Aviation receives FAA approval for Air-Operable Door

Aug. 17, 2012, Toronto - Field Aviation has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC-ST03120NY) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for installation of its proprietary Air Operable Baggage Door (AOD) on the DHC-8-100/200/300 series of aircraft.

August 17, 2012  By Carey Fredericks

The FAA STC compliments a previously-issued Transport Canada STC and paves the way for modification of FAA-registered classic Dash 8 series aircraft operating in special mission roles.

The manually-operated, inward-opening plug-type door measures 50 x 60 inches and can be opened in flight for egress of personnel or equipment. Modifications to the stops on the door track and the addition of a latch mechanism ensure that the door is secure in its fully open position. The addition of an internal handle on the operating mechanism and two grab handles on the inside of the door provide reliable manual operation by an operator standing in the baggage compartment. Operator restraint attachment points and non-slip flooring are provided as additional safety measures.

An air deflector located just forward of the baggage door opening is the only external component as part of the modification. This deflector is engineered specifically for use on the Dash 8, and is affixed to the aircraft structure and has no moving parts.

The presence of the air deflector does not result in degraded fuel burn, cruise speed or certificated performance and does not introduce any noticeable airframe vibration or noise in any flight condition, including normal cruise conditions. The deflector reduces wind velocities and noise in the baggage compartment and provides a 'bubble' of low velocity air outside the open door so that an operator can comfortably look forward and under the fuselage. These characteristics result in an ideal environment for a search and rescue, maritime patrol, military or para drop/fire jumper application.


The Air Operable Door modification is compatible with any internal Dash 8 configuration and is currently in use on Dash 8 aircraft operated by the Coast Guards of Sweden, Iceland and Japan and by Australian Coastwatch.

The modification kit, along with flight manual supplement is available to operators in kit form and is easily retofitable in the field with a minimum of downtime. Field Aviation, in conjunction with a variety of other airframe modifications, can install the AOD kit at its facility at Toronto's Pearson airport.


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