The two pilots and five passengers aboard a chartered Wheels Up Citation Excel XLS had some anxious moments when the main cabin door opened in flight but didn't detach from the aircraft. The aircraft had just taken off from San Francisco International Airport on Aug. 6 for a flight to Drummond Island Airport in Michigan and was climbing through 2,000 feet when the door opened. The air traffic control dialogue (edited by YouTube channel VASAviation) reveals the open door prevented the business jet from climbing and the pilot needed both hands to maintain control of the aircraft as he declares an emergency and asks to return to the airport. "I gotta hold the aircraft. We cannot climb...," the pilot tells the controller as he asks for vectors and frequencies to make an instrument approach.
A short time later the aircraft came out of the clouds and the crew was able to make a visual approach. As the Citation turned base, a controller reported it only had one main landing gear but it turned out he mistook the hanging door for a gear leg. The gear worked normally and the crew made a safe landing on Runway 28R with emergency apparatus standing by. The occupants evacuated the airplane on a taxiway. Wheels Up is a relatively new charter company that intends to build most of its business around a large fleet of King Airs but it started flying Citations in 2014.