Things went scarily wrong last month for a flight with a "revolutionary membership-based private aviation company," when the plane's door flew open after it took off from San Francisco International Airport.
CBS5 reports this week that the distressed plane was with Wheels Up, which describes itself as "a membership-based private aviation company that significantly reduces the cost of flying privately while providing unparalleled flexibility and service," but specifies that "Wheels Up acts as agent for the Wheels Up members, and is not the operator of the program aircraft."
Or, as its founder describes it, "Uber for flying."
This particular air-Uber was a Cessna Citation that had five passengers and two crew members on board when it took off on August 6 from SFO to Drummond Island Airport, which is basically in the middle of nowhere in Michigan.
As CBS5 reports, the plane had hit about 2000 feet when the pilot radioed SFO in a panic.
“Uniform Pop declaring an emergency," he says. "Need to return to the field immediately."
When asked why, he responded "A door flew off the aircraft," and said that the flight was in immediate jeopardy.
"Cannot climb," he said. "I gotta hold the aircraft. We cannot climb, and we cannot maintain clearance ‘cause of the clouds." Later, observing what turned out to be the still-attached door, air traffic control thought they saw landing gear down, and the pilot realized that meant the door remained attached and had just flown open.
You can listen to the entire interaction below between the Wheels Up pilot and the SFO tower here:
Shortly after the distress call, the flight got the OK to return to SFO. It landed safely, and no injuries were reported. A call to an FAA spokesperson to determine the current status of the incident's investigation was not returned at publication time.