manzoori
Posts: 1459
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2002 7:08 am

Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Thu Aug 28, 2003 7:53 pm

Folks,

With the wealth of knowledge on this board I'm hoping someone may be able to answer this query.

Does anyone know of any instances where a civil airliner has had to use rocket assistance for take-off from hot and high airports?

The reason I ask this is that I recall having read about something like this in a book many...many years ago!

As I recall it mentioned a British airline (could be BA or BOAC), the aircraft had a T-tail, and the airport was something like Mexico City (is this hot and high?)

Now I could be completely mistaken here and be actually thinking of the 4th booster engine employed on... Tridents?

Any help unravelling this mystery is greatly appreciated!

Cheers

Rez
 Big thumbs up
Flightlineimages DOT Com Photographer & Web Editor. RR Turbines Specialist
 
aloges
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:04 pm

Mexicana used it on Boeing 727-200s, I'll see if I can dig up a photo. Maybe others did, too.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
aloges
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:34 pm

No picture, but interesting nonetheless:

http://www.boeing-727.com/Data/type%20cert/typecert200ser.html (see "JATO")
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
aloges
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Thu Aug 28, 2003 10:18 pm

Me again...  Smile

Among several Hercules images, you can find these photos of JATO equipment on airliners.net:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willam W. Sierra
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Willam W. Sierra



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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © John P. Stewart

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
manzoori
Posts: 1459
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2002 7:08 am

RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Thu Aug 28, 2003 11:05 pm

Thanks a lot Achim, that's excellent info!

It's good to know I'm not going totally mad! Now to find that elusive shot of a Mexicana 727 with JATO rockets firing....!  Big thumbs up

Cheers

Rez
Flightlineimages DOT Com Photographer & Web Editor. RR Turbines Specialist
 
m717
Posts: 540
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:02 am

I operated older model Metro IIs that had JATO bottles. What a joke. The bottles had to be changed every so after, their shelf life was time limited. In other words, whether you fired them or not, you had to change them out after a certain period of time. Well, the MX personnel would fire them before they changed them. They would set them off in an empty aircraft (except for one guy in the left seat), with no brakes set and no chocks, just to see how far they would roll across the ramp. Usually, they didn't even budge. Luckily, I never had to rely on these things to keep me airborne. In the Metro, the idea was that in the event of an engine failure on takeoff, the JATO would keep you airborne long enough for you to retract the landing gear, since the aircraft would not fly on one engine with the gear down. What a design, huh??

The later model Metro IIIs with the 1100 shp engines were much better in this regard.
 
broke
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:15 am

4 or 5 DC-9-33's were built for Overseas National Airways (ONA) with 2 rocket bottles mounted in the aft end of each wing fillet fairing below the wings.
They were intended to be used in case of an engine failure during a high altitude hot day take-off.
The wags stated that their intent was to make sure the wreckage ended up off of the airport property.
Most of these airplanes are now flown by ABX Air, but without the rocket bottles. If you know where to look you can see the bulges in the fairings where the bottles used to be installed.
People I know that worked for ONA said that they never heard of them being used for their intended purpose. The rocket bottles had a hard time or a time limit after which they had to dispose of them. Since a fuelled rocket bottle is an extreme case of hazardous material; what ONA would do is a rocket assisted take-off at their Wilmington, Ohio (now operated by ABX Air) base in order to expend the fuel.
I understand that these were great fun to watch and the rocket bottles gave a real kick in the pants to the crew.
 
Guest

RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:38 am

It was an option on the old Beech 18s and (I believe) some of the older Queenairs as well. As for the Metroliners, the JATO bottle was supposed to provide the crew enough time to get the get up in the event of an engine failure - the airplane needed it for certification purposes. Scary eh?

Jetguy
 
citationjet
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:59 am

That's why airliners who flew the Metros (the San Antonio sewer pipe) called them the "Rocket".
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
timz
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Fri Aug 29, 2003 5:17 am

Various aircraft have carried rockets for just-in-case-of-emergency-- but dunno of any transport aircraft that have used them routinely. There were pics of DC-4s test-flying out of La Paz (?) with rockets, but even there I've never heard of an airline using rockets for everyday takeoffs.
 
avioniker
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Fri Aug 29, 2003 7:26 am

Last time I looked it was still installed on some of Evergreen's DC-9 freighters
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
IMissPiedmont
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 12:58 pm

RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Fri Aug 29, 2003 12:10 pm

Better look again Avioniker.

The only turbine, production airliner equipped with JATO were the MX 727-200s. I could give ya'll the msns but I'm just too damn lazy to do so just now.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
 
musang
Posts: 788
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2001 4:11 am

RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Sat Aug 30, 2003 12:37 am

727s which had the mod were recognisable by the twin strengthening doublers side by side on top of the fuselage, above the wing. They were basically two longitudinal strips, each approx two feet from the crown line. Clearly visible from the ground if you weren't too close, I'd guess each was about 15 feet long, 8 inches wide, less than an inch thick.

The only one I ever saw was with one-time Turkish charter company BHT-Bogazici. (They didn't use the mod though).

Regards - Musang

 
timz
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Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Sat Aug 30, 2003 1:29 am

"The only turbine, production airliner equipped with JATO were the MX 727-200s."

So you're saying the Overseas National/Airborne DC-9s are a myth too?
 
avioniker
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RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Sat Aug 30, 2003 3:21 am

IMissPiedmont
Sorry, I was using my eyes instead of a book.
Bad eyes, BAD!

The JATO enable/consent panel is located to the right of the F/O's seat.
The bottles are installed in the aft lower wing to body fairing areas.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
IMissPiedmont
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 12:58 pm

RE: Rocket Assisted Take-offs On Civil Aircraft

Sat Aug 30, 2003 1:44 pm

A book? Well as I've been aboard every Evergreen DC-9, I think that statement may be a bit off base. But then, I was not an APE crawling around in the cockpit (APE being not a derogatory term by the way). I just never saw JATO systems on any of them.

Maybe the wiring and hard points were installed on a few DC-9s, but was never used.

I have pictures of MX 727s with JATOs firing that my grandfather took. A search of the internet this week has revealed not a single example of any other turbine airliner with JATOs.

I'd love to be proven wrong. Please post a link to a picture. Or perhaps, better yet, the appropriate SRM reference to repairs in the JATO structure? I have a few DC-9 SRMs in my library, sadly none are for Evergreen DC-9s.

Again, I'm not doubting you, I'd truly love to see such.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.

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