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Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 1:56 am

I recently just recived Saftey Cards from a DC-9 series. And from an MD-88. They both have exits in the rear where the tail cone of the aircraft pops off and a slide inflates out of the rear. What other aircrat besides the ones i mentioned above have Emergency Tail Cone Exits? Thanks in advance.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 2:42 am

The 727 and the DC9 type aircraft can also use the rear exit in non emergency situations. It is very common at airports without jetways to have passengers embark or disembark thru these exits.

I would imagine that the Fokker 100 would also be in the same situation. I have only flown on a Fokker twice, and I can not remember if it has a tail exit.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 2:46 am

I believe the DC-9 series is the only aircraft with a 'tail cone' exit, but I am not 100% on that. The 727 has aft stairs, but not a slide where the cone pops off like the DC-9.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 2:53 am

727s have the aft stairs like Braniff said. These can be used for boarding. I believe the DC9 tail exit is for emergencies only.

On another note, the F100s used by AA & US have no exit aft of the wing. I have always thought that was a serious oversight from a safety standpoint. When I fly on them I try to stay as close to the front as possible. By comparison I have seen KLM F100s with an L2 door at the back, similar to what you'd see on an MD80.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 3:12 am

The DC-9 and MD-88 both have airstairs in the rear, as well as the pop-off tailcone for emergencies. Take a look at this DC-9 photo for proof:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris Sheldon

I've flown on MD-88s before, and I have safety cards from them, so I know that there are both tailcones and stairs on it.

It's really shameful and potentially lethal that aircraft like that the F-100 and regional jets like the CRJ and ERJ do not have emergency exits aft of the overwing hatches. I think about this all the time when I fly on AC's CRJs--if there were to be a fuselage break on impact, it'd probably occur just aft of the wings, between row 11 and 12. If the wreckage toppled in just the wrong way, so that it rested tailcone-up, the passengers in rows 12 and 13 would be trapped or killed.

Plus, if there were no fuselage break, and the wing tanks were to explode on impact, those in rows 11 to 13 (the wing to the rear) would be burned to death without a prayer. It'd be even worse in the F-100. How could they possibly get away with this?
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 5:46 am

I must apologize for getting off the subject, but, where can I get those safety cards? Do you steal them off the plane, or do you ask a flight attendant, or is their a website from which you can order them?
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 6:44 am

I've seen it on safety cards but I can think of better ways of getting off a crashed plane than hoping the thing will come off like in the nice pictures and that I'll then want to clamber through a tube. I guess it's better than nothing but I can't think of an accident where it's ever been used as an escape route. Seems like a waste of weight. The doors on either side in front of the engines looks fine to me.

KCLE, all of your suggestions work equally well.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 10:29 am

How does the tailcone pop off? Where is the escape slide stored? If the MD-80 has the pop off tailcone, do the MD-90 and 717 have it as well?

I read a passenger testimoney from the Air Canada DC-9 crash. She said people were trying to climb over the seats from the rear of the plane to go out the overwing exits, even though they could get out through the back, like she did. That's why she lived while so many died.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 10:58 am

There is a door at the aft end of the cabin. You pull a lever to open it, like the other large exits. You enter the tailcone area from the door and pull a cord that pops open the tailcone and inflates the tailcone slide. This is for the DC-9.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Don Boyd

Looks like there's an exit on the MD-80, too, this one on a MD-81.

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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Wed Feb 28, 2001 1:57 pm

Cedarjet- The back exit is quite important. The NWA collision involing a 727-200 and a DC-9 at DTW. 3 people were instantly killed on the 9 when the 727 wing went right through them. But an additional 5 died of smoke inhalation when the FA in vein tried to open the rear door but the handle broke off in her hand. 5 people may not be alot but tell that to the families and friends of the 5 people that didn't have to and shouldn't have died. About the F-100 issue the FAA has yet again bent backwards to airline bottomline and hasn't learned from history. they gave US Airways, AA, and Midway permission to exempt them from having the rear exit. So there is a way to get out up from and the overwing hatches but none for the hundreds of INNOCENT PAYING passengers and HARD WORKING airline employees in the back. It's about time airlines and the FAA aka The Tombstone Agency(a name given by crash survivors and victims families of air disasters) stop protecting the bottomline and start learning from their past oversight and actually follow the NTSB's safety recomendations.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Thu Mar 01, 2001 8:09 am

Since the MD-80 has a rear airstair door, why does it have the tailcone exit? My guess is that since the stairs fold up (more compact and lightweight than the 727's stairs), they would be more likely to not work in an accident.

Does the 717 and MD-90 have the tailcone exit as well?

Thanks, BH346.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Thu Mar 01, 2001 8:50 am

Actually, it's cool how the tailcone exit works on the DC9 aircraft. First, on some of the earlier DC9s, there is a plug-type hatch that you can open and crawl through to get out the back of the plane. It is much scarier and probably more dangerous, and Douglas realized that and made a modification to its newer DC9 series planes which was more comfortable and definitely safer.

The MD-80 series has two ways to get out the tailcone, but cannot be realistically used simultaneously. In a minor accident, the stairs are used , which means the door is disarmed and you open it up and walk straight out. In an emergency where the slide is necessary, the door must first be in the armed position. When the handle is turned, it releases a catwalk from the ceiling which slams down over the stairs, revealing an uphill walkway to the tailcone. You follow the arrows to a red handle, and pull back on it. This releases the tailcone to the side of the escape path and blows the slide. The pack itself is placed on top of the girt bar, but a pin is attached to the removable tailcone, which, when released, should open the pneumatic inflation canisters and fill the slide. If not, it also has the manual inflate handle just like every other slide. The slide pops out, and pax can evacuate. Next time you are coming out the back of a DC9, check out the ceiling. It's pretty cool.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Peter Polakos

The slide has been removed from the 80 in this picture, but you can see the tailcone has been shot off in the accident.
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RE: Tail Cone Emegency Exits?

Thu Mar 01, 2001 11:55 am

How difficult would it really be to equip F-100s or CRJs with a rear exit? How many lives should be lost before a rear exit makes it worth doing the right thing and fixing this flaw? What were the designers thinking when they decided that a rear exit wasn't necessary? On the CRJ, I could understand because there aren't nearly as many people as there are on the F-100. There is simply no way to get everyone in the back out of a F-100 within 90 seconds in the chaos of an accident.
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Don´t Forget The Rope!

Thu Mar 01, 2001 11:50 pm

I really wonder why no one has mentioned the third alternative:
In (some) Air Canada DC9s you have neither stair nor slide but a ROPE.
I don´t know if there are more airlines doing that.
Daniel Smile