On 12 November 2012, Beechcraft Bonanza VH-SQI, was departing Kumarina Roadhouse airstrip, Western Australia for a fire reconnaissance flight.   On board were the pilot and one passenger.

As the aircraft accelerated for takeoff, the forward cabin door next to the passenger opened. The pilot elected to continue the takeoff and return to land at Kumarina, to secure the door.

To expedite the circuit and landing, the pilot left the aircraft in the take-off configuration, apart from retracting the landing gear. The pilot flew a  lower and tighter circuit than normal.

As the aircraft was flared for landing, the pilot realised he had forgotten his downwind and pre-landing checks. These included extending the landing gear. The aircraft landed with the wheels up and skidded to a halt on the runway.

This report highlights the risks associated with the distraction of an abnormal event during flight, and looks at Canadian research statistics from similar events at:

Transport Canada: Recommendations Concerning In-flight Opening of Doors on Small Aircrafts

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 15