airboeingbus
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Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:23 pm

The 737 has air stairs which are retractable stairs under the L1 door, I was wondering if this is even an option on the A320? If not would it be technically possible for it to be added? I know ULC airlines like FR use these stairs as it reduces ground equipment costs.
 
airboeingbus
Topic Author
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:38 pm

Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:33 pm

I’ve just stumbled across a photo of an A319 with them so they are out there! I wonder why it’s not so popular as on the 737Image
 
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keesje
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:53 am

I guess they are bigger & heavier than on a 737.. adding costs for weight & maintenance.

There are STC's for fitting them on existing aircraft. A costly modification I can imagine. Probably for Business Jets etc.

https://www.modstore.aero/modifications/type(21)/Airbus_A320/modificationId(21263)/Installation%20of%20Aerocon_57_s%20On-Board%20Airstair

"Deploys through existing doors" :eyepopping: I can see a lot of metal in the cabin..

Apparently it has its own cabinet.

https://www.modstore.aero/modifications/modificationid(21250)/Installation%20of%20Aerocon%20Airstairs%20Stowage%20Cabinet
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
7673mech
Posts: 467
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:10 am

Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:56 am

They are an option on the 737.
Most operators opt not to have them.
Also many have removed them.
 
CCGPV
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:44 am

7673mech wrote:
They are an option on the 737.
Most operators opt not to have them.
Also many have removed them.


I can understand why.

Years ago I climbed one of these on easyjet and even as a young lad it was pretty steep. I remember thinking how rickety they seemed.
Stay curious
 
Max Q
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:51 am

CCGPV wrote:
7673mech wrote:
They are an option on the 737.
Most operators opt not to have them.
Also many have removed them.


I can understand why.

Years ago I climbed one of these on easyjet and even as a young lad it was pretty steep. I remember thinking how rickety they seemed.



I think Ryanair has them installed on their
aircraft


Big advantage when you rarely use jetways


I remember our old 737-200’s had rear stairs installed that stowed in the cabin


Unlike the compact, lightweight forward stairs that stow under the cabin these were
big, heavy and took up a lot of space in the cabin
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
CCGPV
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:56 am

Max Q wrote:
CCGPV wrote:
7673mech wrote:
They are an option on the 737.
Most operators opt not to have them.
Also many have removed them.


I can understand why.

Years ago I climbed one of these on easyjet and even as a young lad it was pretty steep. I remember thinking how rickety they seemed.



I think Ryanair has them installed on their
aircraft


Big advantage when you rarely use jetways


I remember our old 737-200’s had rear stairs installed that stowed in the cabin


Unlike the compact, lightweight forward stairs that stow under the cabin these were
big, heavy and took up a lot of space in the cabin


Very cool. How did that work in an emergency with all that in the way?
Stay curious
 
Max Q
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:57 am

CCGPV wrote:
Max Q wrote:
CCGPV wrote:

I can understand why.

Years ago I climbed one of these on easyjet and even as a young lad it was pretty steep. I remember thinking how rickety they seemed.



I think Ryanair has them installed on their
aircraft


Big advantage when you rarely use jetways


I remember our old 737-200’s had rear stairs installed that stowed in the cabin


Unlike the compact, lightweight forward stairs that stow under the cabin these were
big, heavy and took up a lot of space in the cabin


Very cool. How did that work in an emergency with all that in the way?
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
Max Q
Posts: 6827
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:58 am

CCGPV wrote:
Max Q wrote:
CCGPV wrote:

I can understand why.

Years ago I climbed one of these on easyjet and even as a young lad it was pretty steep. I remember thinking how rickety they seemed.



I think Ryanair has them installed on their
aircraft


Big advantage when you rarely use jetways


I remember our old 737-200’s had rear stairs installed that stowed in the cabin


Unlike the compact, lightweight forward stairs that stow under the cabin these were
big, heavy and took up a lot of space in the cabin


Very cool. How did that work in an emergency with all that in the way?




Good question, I think they could be swung or slid to the side
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
CanadianNorth
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:12 am

737-100/200 aft airstairs were an option mostly found on combis, where the main deck cargo in the front and passengers in the back would make the forward airstairs basically useless. I've seen photos with them on aircraft without the main deck cargo door but I think that's pretty rare.

The aft airstairs are part of the door, basically like a Dash 8 / ATR / CRJ type set up on steroids. The door is slightly bigger than a normal 737 aft entry door, and it's hinged at the bottom instead of the forward side. The stairs fold into three sections, with the upper third being part of the door and the other two sections stack against that. The door is operated electrically through a switch and a "big Jesus lock lever" which has three positions, closed, open and emergency. In an evacuation just pull it to emergency, give the door a good kick from the inside, and gravity will pull the stair and door assembly into the extended position, and the stairs can then be used to evacuate as there is no escape slide on that door.

In the stowed closed position you do loose some galley space, but otherwise it seems to work surprisingly well considering the weight swinging in the wind and the monkey motion that goes into the extension and retraction.
HS-748, just like a 747 but better!
 
Max Q
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:43 am

CanadianNorth wrote:
737-100/200 aft airstairs were an option mostly found on combis, where the main deck cargo in the front and passengers in the back would make the forward airstairs basically useless. I've seen photos with them on aircraft without the main deck cargo door but I think that's pretty rare.

The aft airstairs are part of the door, basically like a Dash 8 / ATR / CRJ type set up on steroids. The door is slightly bigger than a normal 737 aft entry door, and it's hinged at the bottom instead of the forward side. The stairs fold into three sections, with the upper third being part of the door and the other two sections stack against that. The door is operated electrically through a switch and a "big Jesus lock lever" which has three positions, closed, open and emergency. In an evacuation just pull it to emergency, give the door a good kick from the inside, and gravity will pull the stair and door assembly into the extended position, and the stairs can then be used to evacuate as there is no escape slide on that door.

In the stowed closed position you do loose some galley space, but otherwise it seems to work surprisingly well considering the weight swinging in the wind and the monkey motion that goes into the extension and retraction.



Very interesting, thanks for that, the whole set up looked very heavy
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
masi1157
Posts: 277
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:54 am

I don't know if they are still an option, but I do know that the space to install them below door 1 L/H ist still there on all A320 family A/C.

Gruß, masi1157
501 different segments on 98 airlines to 209 airports in 55 countries
 
Woodreau
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:50 pm

masi1157 wrote:
I don't know if they are still an option, but I do know that the space to install them below door 1 L/H ist still there on all A320 family A/C.

Gruß, masi1157


I guess an unrelated question. What is the construction is the galley floor between the 319/320/321 L1/R1 doors?
We got a crew bulletin telling us to stop using the galley floor as the primary means of breaking up melted/refrozen blocks of ice that we get sometimes from catering and instead to use the ice mallets. and if we wanted ice mallets our director of operations would personally mail us our own personal ice mallet. The bulletin said the floor structure was taking unnecessary damage from having bags of ice being thrown at the galley floor.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
strfyr51
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:38 pm

airboeingbus wrote:
I’ve just stumbled across a photo of an A319 with them so they are out there! I wonder why it’s not so popular as on the 737Image


The Air-stairs fit into their own container below the L1 door. I've seen them on B737's and A319's alike.
 
Max Q
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:38 pm

Woodreau wrote:
masi1157 wrote:
I don't know if they are still an option, but I do know that the space to install them below door 1 L/H ist still there on all A320 family A/C.

Gruß, masi1157


I guess an unrelated question. What is the construction is the galley floor between the 319/320/321 L1/R1 doors?
We got a crew bulletin telling us to stop using the galley floor as the primary means of breaking up melted/refrozen blocks of ice that we get sometimes from catering and instead to use the ice mallets. and if we wanted ice mallets our director of operations would personally mail us our own personal ice mallet. The bulletin said the floor structure was taking unnecessary damage from having bags of ice being thrown at the galley floor.




Funny you mention ice being broken up on the galley floor



A few years ago we had blocked in and shut down in EWR on a 764



I was in the RHS at the time just getting ready to leave when I heard a sound like
a bag of ice being thrown on the galley floor


It wasn’t, when I went back to look I saw the L1 door open with the escape slide deployed, next to the door was a very pale looking flight attendant who had not disarmed the door prior to opening it


I think that’s about as career enhancing to a flight attendant as landing with the gear up is for a Pilot


Don’t know why he was opening that door anyway as we were disembarking from L2



I’ll nevet forget that sound though..
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
Tristarsteve
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:46 am

The 10 A320 ordered by BCAL and delivered to British Airways had airstairs fitted on delivery from Airbus. They worked in a similar fashion to the B737 stairs, with a separate door under the L1 pax door. If you look closely at any A320 up to about serial 3000, you can see the door cut out blanked out.
I saw these stairs in operation at Toulouse before delivery, but never saw them used in service.
These 10 A320 also had manual toilet service, no vacuum system. There was a service panel just fwd and below this airstair door for the single fwd toilet. This was often forgotten because few rampers knew about it, and it was hidden by the jetty so difficult to access.
 
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DL_Mech
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:18 pm

Woodreau wrote:
I guess an unrelated question. What is the construction is the galley floor between the 319/320/321 L1/R1 doors?
We got a crew bulletin telling us to stop using the galley floor as the primary means of breaking up melted/refrozen blocks of ice that we get sometimes from catering and instead to use the ice mallets. and if we wanted ice mallets our director of operations would personally mail us our own personal ice mallet. The bulletin said the floor structure was taking unnecessary damage from having bags of ice being thrown at the galley floor.


The floor panels are a honeycomb composite panel. They can withstand small impact damages, but repeated impacts over time would definitely damage it. Ice hammers are much cheaper than new floor panels.

Image

Notice that the cargo compartment is just below his left hand.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
Noshow
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:22 pm

The A320 floor level sits higher above the tarmac than the lower 737. So climbing higher stairs on the A320 might feel uncomfortable to most passengers. Even on the 737 it seems to be a challenge to some.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:00 pm

DL_Mech wrote:
The floor panels are a honeycomb composite panel. They can withstand small impact damages, but repeated impacts over time would definitely damage it. Ice hammers are much cheaper than new floor panels.

Image

Notice that the cargo compartment is just below his left hand.


Thanks very much. That deck is awfully thin... I'm wondering if the space under the galley is just hollow to allow installation of airstairs or have they repurposed the space for other things?
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:10 pm

I believe PATS made the original after market stairs for a wide range of Boeing airliners and perhaps the AB family as well. I think they sold the STCs for this to another company in the early 2005 time frame. They also made aux tanks for many of the Boeing BBJ family aircraft and perhaps others as well. For a corporate aircraft it was not big deal, but for an airliner it took up valuable space inside. As I recall on the 757 & 767 there was a limit on how much weight could on the stairs at any one time. Watching them extend or retract was like watching a snake uncoil. We were always prepared to unbolt them and let them drop on the ramp if necessary.
 
masi1157
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:32 pm

Woodreau wrote:
I'm wondering if the space under the galley is just hollow to allow installation of airstairs or have they repurposed the space for other things?

So far they didn't, as I said earlier:
masi1157 wrote:
I don't know if they are still an option, but I do know that the space to install them below door 1 L/H ist still there on all A320 family A/C.


Gruß, masi1157
501 different segments on 98 airlines to 209 airports in 55 countries
 
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longhauler
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Re: Are air stairs an option on the A320 family?

Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:14 am

I remember years ago, flying an A321 from YYZ-SFO and somewhere over the northern states, while sitting back chatting about girls and trucks ... we got an ECAM door warning.

Beside door L1 on the Door page was something that looked like an amber ladder sticking out of the door. Pulling out our manuals (it was a paper era), showed that the stair door was opened! As far as we knew, this aircraft was not equipped with stairs. (It wasn't). In the mean time, our Maintenance Control which also receives our ECAM messages datalinked us and told us not to worry ... it was an anomoly.

No one ever figured out why the warning triggered ... but, apparently it IS an option on some A320 series aircraft to be equipped with stairs!
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!

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