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KC-10/-135 Crew Access Question  
User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6071 times:


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Photo © Chris Waser



looking at the two above pictures led me to a series of questions. mostly, they revolve around crew access to the airplane. now, the KC-135 has a modified panel from which a ladder drops to allow the crew to climb aboard the airplane. was this a design feature that was included on all new-production airplanes from boeing? were any of the -135 airframes purchsed new from boeing or were they all former airliners? i noticed that the L1 door appears to have been removed )or not installed) on the airframe. why is that? is the lower panel there because there was never supposed to be an L1 door? is the KC-135 the only model that has this option or does it include all the -135 models such as the EC and RC? what about the KC-135E which is painted in the blue and white colors. i don't see a L1 door or main deck cargo door on it. the area in which the ladder is installed, does it not interfere with avionics at all? were there any structual issues with installing crew ladder there? how does it affect the pressurization of the a/c?

now, on to the KC-10. in the picture i linked to, you can obviously see there is a L1 door on the airplane in addition to a main deck cargo door. why did the USAF decide to keep the L1 door in place on the -10 and add a drop down ladder to that door instead of makng a different location for crew access? at the rhode island airshow last year i got the chance to walk around and under a KC-10. i noticed each time that i saw one there was always a portable GSE stair attached to it instead of the crew ladder. since the ladder is made up of 4 or so sections i can understand that it's not the most stable ladder in the world, and can appreciate the ease delivered by ground stairs. were the -10 airframes new builds form mcdonnell douglas or were they purchased secondhand?

now, i also though about deployment. if the airplanes were to deploy from home base into the operating theater, who would go first? a -135 doesn't need huge access stairs to get into the airplane because it sits lower to the ground but also has it's own ladder. when flying out portable stairs into the theater i can imagine them being a hassle to move because of thier diemsions. a ground power and ground air cart are easier to move because of thier respective dimensions as well. would a -10 be held up on deployment because it required stairs that were unique to itself until they were made available in the theater?

i know i'm asking a lot, but i love the design of the KC-135, especially the R model. i like the unique attributes it has unto itself because of how it was built. if anyone can help me out, i'm all ears. and if you know any other interesting info about the airplane i'd love to hear that too.


"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1442 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6035 times:

Quoting Cancidas (Thread starter):
were any of the -135 airframes purchsed new from boeing or were they all former airliners? i noticed that the L1 door appears to have been removed )or not installed) on the airframe. why is that? is the lower panel there because there was never supposed to be an L1 door? is the KC-135 the only model that has this option or does it include all the -135 models such as the EC and RC? what about the KC-135E which is painted in the blue and white colors. i don't see a L1 door or main deck cargo door on it. the area in which the ladder is installed, does it not interfere with avionics at all? were there any structual issues with installing crew ladder there? how does it affect the pressurization of the a/c?

All KC-135s were never commercial frames , the only thing they have in common with a 707 is their linage which came from the 367-80, the 707 is a larger fuselage with different wing ,landing gear and hydraulic system and fuel system. There is only 1 C-135B acft that had a type L1 door installed and that was 62-4126 and it was behind the wing root on the aft fuselage, the avionics are installed foward of that door in the fwd lower nose and there is a rack behind the navigotors table for the radios and other avionic black boxes. The KC-135E you probably saw was the Speckled Trout stand in which carrys CSAF as its primary pax. The structure of the door is quite sound and easy to rig which is easy to seal which gives you good pressurization, we usally pressurize the fuselage to 8 psi in the air. In fact here at Tinker a group of mechanics took one to 16 psi then blew the ass end off, a total write off.



I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineUscgc130 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6005 times:

Quoting Cancidas (Thread starter):
now, the KC-135 has a modified panel from which a ladder drops to allow the crew to climb aboard the airplane. was this a design feature that was included on all new-production airplanes from boeing

They were designed, built and delivered that way.

Quoting Cancidas (Thread starter):
was this a design feature that was included on all new-production airplanes from boeing? were any of the -135 airframes purchsed new from boeing or were they all former airliners?

To amplify what Venus6971 said, the 707 and KC-135 are completely different aircraft. Even the aluminum alloy used for their skin is different. If you compare photos of the two, you'll notice that the fuselage cross-sections are different. The -135's cross-section is oval, while the 707's is more circular. (In fact, close inspection will reveal that the 707 actually uses a double-lobe design.)

However, they have enough parts in common that the USAF bought up a number of retired 707s and 720s in the '80s and '90s and harvested them for parts (stabilizers, engines, landing gear, etc.) down at Davis-Mothball to keep the -135 fleet running. That's where the JT3D/TF33 engines for the KC-135E conversions came from, in fact.

Quoting Cancidas (Thread starter):
is the KC-135 the only model that has this option or does it include all the -135 models such as the EC and RC? what about the KC-135E which is painted in the blue and white colors.

All the -135 models have the lower hatch with the extending ladder. VIP versions often use the cargo door with roll-up steps as a sort of surrogate L1 door, however. Wouldn't want to make the brass climb down that ladder...

Quoting Cancidas (Thread starter):
were the -10 airframes new builds form mcdonnell douglas or were they purchased secondhand?

New builds. Although the Dutch Air Force has at least one that was converted from a former KLM airliner. It's called a KDC-10, if I remember right -- like "KC-707," an awkward hybrid of military designation and company model number.

Quoting Cancidas (Thread starter):
now, i also though about deployment. if the airplanes were to deploy from home base into the operating theater, who would go first? a -135 doesn't need huge access stairs to get into the airplane because it sits lower to the ground but also has it's own ladder. when flying out portable stairs into the theater i can imagine them being a hassle to move because of thier diemsions. a ground power and ground air cart are easier to move because of thier respective dimensions as well. would a -10 be held up on deployment because it required stairs that were unique to itself until they were made available in the theater?

The KC-10 doesn't require portable stairs because of its retractable ladder in the L1 door. If a supplemental ladder were desired (say, because the plane were carrying passengers), there's a common type of military aircraft workstand that vaguely resembles an old-style boarding stairway and is raised with a hydraulic hand pump. These would be easy to transport because they lie almost flat when they're in the down position, and one would probably already be on hand at the deployment airfield -- no doubt brought in earlier on a C-130.  Smile

Ground power and air carts aren't strictly necessary (although power carts, particularly, are nice to have) because both aircraft have APUs.

Quoting Cancidas (Thread starter):
and if you know any other interesting info about the airplane i'd love to hear that too.

As an aside, I went to Basic Flight Engineer School at Altus AFB, Oklahoma (despite being Coast Guard). There was a KC-135 unit just across the street from the barracks where we students lived. At night the maintenance crews would run the engines up to takeoff power and cut in the water injection (this being the early '80s, the planes were A-models), and the building would actually shake from the noise.

One of our instructors told us that KC-135As were underpowered. He joked that the only way they were able to take off was that when a certain speed was reached, the copilot would pull a handle that would open a door on the underside of the nose. This would release a load of rocks and dirt onto the runway. The nose gear would run over the rocks and dirt, causing the plane to think it was on the runway overrun and leap into the air. (I replied that our Albatrosses didn't actually fly, but were simply so loud that they scared the ground out from underneath themselves.)


User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1442 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5999 times:


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Photo © Paul Kipping


This is the only C-135B that had this type of door if you look on the aft part of the fuselage, by the way this acft was delivered from the factory with the TF-33 as were all C-135B's that went to MATS.



I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2312 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5983 times:

Quoting Uscgc130 (Reply 2):
At night the maintenance crews would run the engines up to takeoff power and cut in the water injection (this being the early '80s, the planes were A-models), and the building would actually shake from the noise.

Man, I miss that sound! And I remember all too well trying to hook that ladder in place in the dark (it's not attached - the top has pins that fit into holes in the floor, and attaches to the side of the opening). Scrambling up that ladder when the horn went off on alert was fun too!



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5963 times:

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 4):
Man, I miss that sound! And I remember all too well trying to hook that ladder in place in the dark (it's not attached - the top has pins that fit into holes in the floor, and attaches to the side of the opening). Scrambling up that ladder when the horn went off on alert was fun too!

I'm with you on that.


User currently offlineRomeoKC10FE From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5866 times:

We never use the portable crew ladder, we always use airstairs unless for some unforseen situation they're not available.

User currently offlineF4wso From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 974 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 5823 times:

The KC-135 hatch facilitated an alert launch.

The ground support equipment airstairs for the KC-10 is best for handling lots of visitors to the aircraft interior. They also make a good vantage point for photographing other airplanes at an airshow. Many airports that can handle a KC-10 size aircraft would probalby have support equipment suitable to several types of large aircraft.

Gary
Cottage Grove, MN, USA



Seeking an honest week's pay for an honest day's work
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5773 times:

Quoting Uscgc130 (Reply 2):
One of our instructors told us that KC-135As were underpowered. He joked that the only way they were able to take off was that when a certain speed was reached, the copilot would pull a handle that would open a door on the underside of the nose. This would release a load of rocks and dirt onto the runway. The nose gear would run over the rocks and dirt, causing the plane to think it was on the runway overrun and leap into the air. (I replied that our Albatrosses didn't actually fly, but were simply so loud that they scared the ground out from underneath themselves.)

I think someone once said in the even of the total commitment nuclear war where the KC-135s had to fuel the B-52s and then fall into the ocean the first KC-135 off the ground was supposed to crash and burn and the rest would be pushed into the air by the updraft from the fire.

But the rock story is probably better to tell to people who haven't yet aquired the veteran sense of humor.


User currently offlineUscgc130 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5768 times:

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 4):
And I remember all too well trying to hook that ladder in place in the dark (it's not attached - the top has pins that fit into holes in the floor, and attaches to the side of the opening).

I didn't know that. I' d always assumed it was permanently mounted to the forward wall of the crew entrance shaft (what's the real name?) and telescoped up and down. But I suppose it makes sense for it not to be permanently attached, since it'd only be in the way in the event of a bailout.

So what's the drill? Does the last guy aboard pull the ladder up after him and stow in on hooks in the cabin?

How is it possible to reach the hatch in order to open or close it from the inside with the ladder removed? (Theoretically, I mean. The ground crew probably takes careof that in practice, I'd imagine.)

Does the hatch cover jettison in the event of a bailout?


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5705 times:

Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 8):
I think someone once said in the even of the total commitment nuclear war where the KC-135s had to fuel the B-52s and then fall into the ocean the first KC-135 off the ground was supposed to crash and burn and the rest would be pushed into the air by the updraft from the fire.

Not true, even though there was no margin for error on an EWO take-off. Yes, we did have a minimum engine EPR to get off the ground, you usually could not loose more than the water injection on one engine and still make it. Also the EWO TO profile used the ACC/Climb mode on the FD-109 avionics, instead of MAX mode. During EWO TOs, you didn't care about noise abatment requirements.

Quoting F4wso (Reply 7):
The KC-135 hatch facilitated an alert launch.

That is also true, but it was also the primary bail out exit inflight. When the bail out handle was pulled (after the pilot depressureized at airplane throught the emergency depressuerazition hatch), the entery hatch door was jetisoned and a spoiler deployer, extending 5-6 feet below the airplane. This exit could not be used if either the landing gear or the Refueling Boom was down, but could be used if the flaps were fully down (flaps 50). The secondary airborne exits were the left or right overwing hatchse, and the right aft hatch was a last resort.


User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1442 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5694 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
That is also true, but it was also the primary bail out exit inflight. When the bail out handle was pulled (after the pilot depressureized at airplane throught the emergency depressuerazition hatch), the entery hatch door was jetisoned and a spoiler deployer, extending 5-6 feet below the airplane. This exit could not be used if either the landing gear or the Refueling Boom was down, but could be used if the flaps were fully down (flaps 50). The secondary airborne exits were the left or right overwing hatchse, and the right aft hatch was a last resort.

You became real popular (not in a good way) if you deployed the guilliteen spoiler on the ground which totally messes up the entry hatch, or if you are a TF-33 equiped model and op checked the thrust reversers with out closing that hatch, if seen that done on RC-135W's. The E-3 has a bailout hatch on the left side of the fwd fuslage that has been deactivated, RC-135 V/W's had a bailout hatch near the aft right door that had a deployable spoiler, don't know anymore if it is still there. I know they finally had a real lavatroy installed with an external serving port.



I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5688 times:

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 11):
RC-135 V/W's had a bailout hatch near the aft right door that had a deployable spoiler,

Yeah, I had heard it was deleted. I don't think they even carry parachutes on the RCs these days 'cause nobody's gonna go out the front hatch with all the MUCELS antennae on the Vs & Ws.


User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5658 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
Not true, even though there was no margin for error on an EWO take-off. Yes, we did have a minimum engine EPR to get off the ground, you usually could not loose more than the water injection on one engine and still make it. Also the EWO TO profile used the ACC/Climb mode on the FD-109 avionics, instead of MAX mode. During EWO TOs, you didn't care about noise abatment requirements.

It was kind of supposed to be a joke.. like the hidden bay of gravel to help them takeoff.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5642 times:

Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 13):
It was kind of supposed to be a joke.. like the hidden bay of gravel to help them takeoff.

Opps, my mistake.


User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2312 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5633 times:

Quoting Uscgc130 (Reply 9):
So what's the drill? Does the last guy aboard pull the ladder up after him and stow in on hooks in the cabin?

How is it possible to reach the hatch in order to open or close it from the inside with the ladder removed? (Theoretically, I mean. The ground crew probably takes care of that in practice, I'd imagine.)

Yes, after the crew was aboard, you released the latch and pulled the ladder up. We usually stowed it back near the galley. Once the ladder was up, the door could be closed using a hand crank. The hole in the cockpit floor was covered by a metal grate.



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1442 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5626 times:

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 15):
Yes, after the crew was aboard, you released the latch and pulled the ladder up. We usually stowed it back near the galley. Once the ladder was up, the door could be closed using a hand crank. The hole in the cockpit floor was covered by a metal grate.

On some 135's a rubber pad was put on the grate to prevent waffle head, that is going up the ladder fast and the grate doesn't catch the up hook and comes down hard on your head, trust me it hurts.



I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 5484 times:

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 16):
On some 135's a rubber pad was put on the grate to prevent waffle head, that is going up the ladder fast and the grate doesn't catch the up hook and comes down hard on your head, trust me it hurts.

That happened to my Co-pilot once during an alert klaxon. He got 5 stiches after the exercise. But, usually, you do not get an open wound, it just happened to him that day.


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