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FAASTeam Notice
Type: General Information
Notice Date: Friday, March 6, 2020
Notice Number: NOTC0041
Proposed AD action by Transport Canada to address Emergency Exit Concerns on the Cessna 206
This posting will be removed on
Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Transport Canada recently contacted the FAA with concerns for the use of cargo doors as an emergency exit on Cessna 206 models.  Following a fatal accident in August 2018, where a float-configured U206G capsized and became submerged after loss of control during landing, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada concluded the accident was survivable. Canadian authorities are considering mandatory action to require a Cessna door handle kit, placards, and limiting the airplane occupancy to five for all Cessna U206 airplanes on their registry.  The FAA is continuing to investigate to determine if we should consider similar AD action.   A link to the TSB report can be found here: 
https://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/enquetes-investigations/aviation/2018/a18w0129/a18w0129.html


The FAA is interested in your feedback and has recently published an Airworthiness Concern Sheet (ACS) highlighting the issue.  We are requesting you provide any information on prior experience with the 206 cargo doors with regard to use, operation, and clarity of placards and instructions as well as any modifications or alterations completed by owners and operators that aid in the usability with and without flaps extended.  Please provide any other information you feel may be helpful for us to consider as part of our evaluation. 

The Cessna 206 cargo door configuration and use as an emergency exit has been the subject of several discussions since its introduction in the 1960s, primarily following float-related accidents.  Operation of the door handles as well as opening the doors when the flaps are extended has been the primary concern. The FAA, Transport Canada, and Cessna have investigated this area of concern numerous times in the past and have examined possible design changes, but no cost-effective and feasible or practical improvements were identified. Cessna issued a Service Bulletin and Kit (SEB91-4) in 1991 providing a door handle modification that simplified the opening procedure as well as luminescent placards.

The Canadian authorities have done extensive research and studies into seaplane (float) accidents and survivability aspects related to these events.  Most accidents occur during the takeoff and landing phases and mainly attributed to loss of control from failing to maintain speed, unfavorable winds, or using unsuitable areas for takeoff, landing, and taxiing.  Pilot qualifications, training, and proficiency are additional items identified in the cause of many accidents.  These studies reflect a number of reasons for drowning which include incapacitation, injuries, inability to unlatch seatbelt, disorientation, inability to locate exit and/or open the door or window. Occupants usually have seconds to unbuckle and find a door or window to escape and often this is being done while upside down in a dark cockpit or cabin with extremely cold water rushing into the area.  As part of these unique operations over and on the water, authorities have made impactful changes involving training, preflight briefings, as well as the use of personal flotation devices. 

Cessna Aircraft Company produced approximately 7,000 of the 206/U206/TU206 variant over the 55 years since initial entry into service.  The 206H/T206H was introduced in 1996 following the restart of single-engine production airplanes by the company.  The newer 206H/T206H incorporates the improvements that were made with the 1991 service bulletin (SEB 91-4) that was applicable to the older 206 fleet.  The company currently does not have any service bulletin kits in stock, but based on list price, it’s anticipated the cost of the kit and installation would be approximately $3500 for each airplane.

The ACS is part of the FAA’s investigative process to help communicate with owners, operators, type clubs, and other industry stakeholders to gain insight into a safety concern and seek feedback.  Based on this feedback, the FAA can determine an appropriate path forward relative to the entire fleet.  

To see a full copy of the FAA ACS, please follow this link:

ACS Cessna 206 Cargo Door Exit?

Photos and images of a 206 and the door/flap interference are included below.
Placard
Image showing the position of the flaps at 20° down and how they obstruct the forward door of the rear double cargo doors (Source: TSB)
Door

The procedure to open the door from the inside with the flaps down, which is listed on a placard above the handle on the forward cargo door (Figure 7), is the following:

  1. Rotate forward cargo door handle full forward then full aft.
  2. Open forward cargo door as far as possible.
  3. Rotate red lever in rear cargo door forward.
  4. Force rear cargo door full open.

Instructions for operating rear double cargo doors as an emergency exit on the occurrence aircraft (Source: TSB)

If you have any questions or comments, contact the Wichita ACO Branch at:

Wichita ACO Branch
1801 Airport Road
Wichita, KS  67209

Dan Withers
Dan.Withers@faa.gov
(316) 946-4137