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Thread: Passenger airliner tail stairs

  1. #1
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    Passenger airliner tail stairs

    Anyone remember the days of boarding an airliner through the in built tail stairs before airbridges came along. From memory those aircraft that had tail stairs were B727, DC-9, Caravelle and BAC 1-11. Can anyone remember any other types?
    Just as a side note I have heard and read somewhere that the French military did parachute drops through the tail stairs of a sud Caravelle. I'm not sure if this would have got past the evaluation stage due to the drag it would have caused. Having said that didn't the infamous DB Cooper bail out from the stair well of a B727 whilst in flight?

  2. #2
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    Yes hence they brought a simple mod out to prevent another DB Cooper event. It was a little bracket type weather vane that the airflow would push across to stop the door opening in flight, on the ground it would move back as airspeed decreased unlocking it. Google the cooper vane plenty. Of pictures and info.
    Last edited by TonyT; 9th May 2017 at 20:02.

  3. #3
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    I remember the flight dispatcher days well in the 70's - in and out of the a*se end of Hapag-Lloyd B727's, Sterling Caravelles and BCAL 1-11's...

    When I worked for Shell Aircraft Services in the 80's, we also used to enter and exit the BA BV234LR (Chinook) helicopters "a derriere" too.....

  4. #4
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    Some post-war Catalina conversions included the installation of an air-stair (including both examples operated by Duxford-based Plane Sailing Air Displays over the years). In fact, I've not checked exact dates but the original air-stair conversion implemented by Southern California Aircraft Corporation on its Landseaire model would have been a near-contemporary of the original Caravelles and may have even preceded it!
    David Legg
    Editor: The Catalina News, The Catalina Society

  5. #5
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    Dan 'DB' Cooper did supposedly jump out the back of a 727, though nobody witnessed the deed. There is a theory that Dan Cooper was cooked up by the crew on board as a means of extorting money, and that he never existed!

  6. #6
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    The CIA also operated a few 727's - or strictly speaking C-22's -in Vietnam; dropping supplies and agents from the rear stairs.

    As Mr. Cooper seemed to have a detailed knowledge of the speed and flap settings required to make his jump, at a time when civil airlines weren't aware it was even possible, one theory is that he was an ex-Company man doing a bit of freelancing...

  7. #7
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    The Martin 202/404 had a rear air stair.
    "Where are you from?"
    "America" Somebody laughed politely.

  8. #8
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    Also some Convair 240s (but not the 340/440?)...also the exotic Breda Zappata BZ 308 https://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgu...act=mrc&uact=8

  9. #9
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    And this was the BZ308 shot I was looking for https://www.flickr.com/photos/fondaz...in/dateposted/

  10. #10
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    Agree with Pogno about the Martin.
    I've never personally seen rear stairs on any Convairs, but then most of the ones I've been around were 44os/580s.. Certainly the USAF's T-29s/C-131s didn't have them.

    This is a bit of a stretch, but when used for aeromedical evacuation work, USAF C-97s had a passenger ramp with railings that was attached to the normal cargo/vehicle ramp.
    Last edited by J Boyle; 10th May 2017 at 03:33.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by longshot View Post
    And this was the BZ308 shot I was looking for https://www.flickr.com/photos/fondaz...in/dateposted/
    Wow, that seems a bit of a steep climb, thank goodness for the long robes! Interesting aircraft though, never heard of this type before.

  12. #12
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    Last edited by wieesso; 10th May 2017 at 07:22.

  13. #13
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    Flew out LGW to Faro,Portugal on a Sabre 727- 200 in the mid 90's, we boarded via the rear airstair which is always nice (esp if you like APU noise : )) .
    I also remember thinking - why would you shoehorn 3 engines onto such a small a/c (BTW - I do know why - it was just a giggle thought at the time)
    I really enjoyed the flight !
    The return flight was not as pleasant (different airline/aircraft)

  14. #14
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    Remember it well back in the day, mine was predominantly BCAL 1-11's and BMI DC9's at LGW and MME, and some 727's in the USA and most often used where they didn't have or use piers, always fun!

  15. #15
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    Boarded a Swiss DC-9 and a Dan Air 727 through the rear stairs sometime in the early 90's. Makes perfect sense if you are seated to the rear of the aircraft and saved lengthy waits in the aisle whilst people mess around with their bags in the overhead lockers. No doubt also any opportunity to air the aircraft out when smoking was permitted in the rear rows. I always remember the cigarette haze at the back of aircraft (talking about the 70's here). Anyone visiting Brooklands air museum can get a similar experience to see what it was like boarding an aircraft through the tail as it is the only way to access their BAC 1-11.

  16. #16
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    The Russian Yak-42 has rear airstairs...

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ak-42_tail.jpg

    Ken
    Flanker Freak & Russian Aviation Enthusiast.
    Flankers (& others) website at :-
    http://flankers.co.uk/

  17. #17
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    Last BAC-111 rearstairway I remember using was a European Air Transport flight Manchester to Pisa ca. 1992...here's a shot from February 1973 :-) http://www.airliners.net/photo/Germa...even/1159031/L

  18. #18
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    Lifted from Classic Propliners group..

    .There are some pictures of CV-240s with rear stairs in The Convairliners Story by J.M. Gradidge (Air-Britain Publication) "The CV240 was offered with 4 configuration options:A) Right front passenger door, right rear cargo door and left rear service door;B) Ventral stairs, right front service door and left rear auxiliary door;C) Left rear passenger door, right rear cargo door and right front service door;D) Left rear passenger door, right rear cargo door and left front service door.Different airlines selected different configurations - American's were type A, Western's type B etc., so not all CV240s (and by extension CV600s) had ventral stairs. They were not an option for the CV340 or 440"
    Last edited by longshot; 10th May 2017 at 11:26.

  19. #19
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    G-AVMO, the BAC 1-11 at East Fortune, can also be accessed from the rear stairs. I've done this, but had forgotten all about it.

  20. #20
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    QinetiQ BAC 1-11 ZH763 of Classic Air Force Newquay 2013 with lowered tail stairs



    KLM DC-9-30 with lowered tail stairs Beek Airport in the Netherlands (Nowadays Maastricht-Aachen Airport) 1970



    Swissair DC-9-30 at Schiphol Airport 1971

    Jur

  21. #21
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    I remember, vaguely, entering & exiting a BA BAC 1-11 doing Manchester - Jersey in 1980somthing.

    Within the last few years there was a jump from the tail stairs on a 727 shortly before said aircraft was flown into the Mexican desert as part of another grand experiment on why it's not a good idea to be in a plane when it crashes.

  22. #22
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    Ex-SAS DC-9-20 used for skydiving https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=sk...HDTiM:&spf=221

  23. #23
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    When boarding a 727 by the rear stairs you ran the gauntlet of oil dripping from #2 engine!
    Props are best!

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