Serious incident Liberty XL-2 N518XL, Wednesday 10 January 2018
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Date:Wednesday 10 January 2018
Type:Silhouette image of generic XL2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Liberty XL-2
Owner/operator:Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc Trustee
Registration: N518XL
MSN: 0013
Year of manufacture:2006
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Category:Serious incident
Location:Chelsham, near Warlingham, 5 miles west of Biggin Hill Airfield, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Biggin Hill Airfield (EGKB), Biggin Hill, Kent, England, UK.
Destination airport:Biggin Hill Airfield (EGKB), Biggin Hill, Kent, England, UK.
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
AAIB investigation to Liberty XL-2, N518XL: Section of the left door detached after the door opened in flight, 5 miles west of London Biggin Hill Airport, 10 January 2018. The incident was the subject of an AAIB Investigation, and the following is the summary from the AAIB Report

"As the pilot levelled off after climbing to his cruise altitude, he became aware of a vibration which was getting louder. The left door then opened suddenly and his headset and glasses were torn off by the slipstream. He donned his spare glasses quickly and tried to reach his spare headset and handheld transceiver, but was unable to. He realised that flying the aircraft was the greatest priority and concentrated on this. He selected 7700 on the transponder and returned to land back at Biggin Hill.

Examination showed that a section of the door had detached after the door opened. The remains of the door were subsequently recovered, with no reports of any injuries or damage to property.

The pilot was behind schedule but did not feel rushed. He was unable to say categorically that he had checked the security of the left door prior to takeoff and considered that it had not been fully latched.

This occurrence highlights the importance of ensuring that spare glasses are within reach and concentrating on flying the aircraft following an unexpected event.

=Damage Sustained to Airframe=
Per the AAIB Report "Door damaged after opening in flight". The aircraft was repaired and returned to service

The AAIB report states the location of the incident as "5 miles west of London Biggin Hill Airport" which places the aircraft in the area of Chelsham, near Warlingham, Tandridge, Surrey

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. AAIB Report:
2. FAA:

History of this aircraft

This Liberty XL-2 was built in 2015, and was first registered in the United States as N518XL on 11 March 2015 to Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc Trustee.



Gamston (Retford) Airport (EGNE), Retford, Nottinghamshire, England, UK. - 5th July 2009


Liberty XL-2 N518XL at Sumburgh Airport, Shetland Islands (LSU/EGPB) 15 August 2014 Liberty XL-2 N518XL IMG 7843 (14752078350)

Revision history:

09-May-2020 23:37 Peter Clarke Added
20-Jun-2024 17:57 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Category]
20-Jun-2024 17:57 ASN Updated [Embed code, Accident report]

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