IslipWN
Topic Author
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Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:03 am

THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST STUPID QUESTIONS EVER ASKED IN THE HISTORY OF AIRLINERS.NET!
Do airplanes have keys that you need to start the engines or anything because I just don't get why they would make a plane where you and just push a button, or just turn a knob and the engines would turn on. I know that I'm probably going to get some mean response or something but that's OK because this is the most stupid question.

Joe Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
MD11LuxuryLinr
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:10 am

..Yeah. For the cockpit doors..  Big grin
Caution wake turbulence, you are following a heavy jet.
 
JeffDCA
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:13 am

Light piston engine aircraft do have keys to start the engine, but turboprops and jet aircraft engine starts are completed by button pushing.

Cheers,

Jeff
If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
 
uswyjer
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:15 am

Actually, that's not stupid of a question at all. I took some flight lessons and the 172 I flew in had a key for the engine; I did training from the left seat so I was using the key Smile
-Jeremy
 
burnsie28
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:00 pm

Your typical pax plane, 737, A320, 777 etc do not have keys, not even the DC-9's  Big grin
 
a300
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:05 pm

All big jets have ceremonial keys that are handed over to the new owner when they cough up the mere USD 140,000,000 required (example is for 747).
Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
 
UAXDXer
Posts: 700
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:18 pm

Yeah they have keys! On the 737NG, the ignition is right below the turn signal.
It takes a bug to hit a windsheild but it takes guts to stick
 
bill142
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 4:22 pm

I think someone has been watching Seinfeld.
 
spacecadet
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:09 pm

I just don't get why they would make a plane where you and just push a button, or just turn a knob and the engines would turn on.

Because it's a lot more complicated than that. There's no single button than can turn on an engine in a cold cockpit. It takes a sequence of procedures that is way more complex than any pass code you could ever come up with.

Imagine that rather than having a key to turn on your car, you instead had a panel with buttons on it numbered 1-400. To start your car, you needed to punch in an exact sequence of digits 20 numerals long, and between punching in some of these digits you needed to wait a certain period of time or the next digit wouldn't work. Do you think you could figure out how to do this without having done it before? Now imagine also that instead of a panel with numbers on it, there are five panels with numbers on them, and the numbers are not in sequence but randomly spread about on each panel. Do you think you could figure it out now?

Even if you had the procedure written down, by the time you managed to even find the first button you needed to press you'd have been hauled out of the cockpit in handcuffs.

There is a key to the cockpit door, so there is key security. To actually start a plane, though, you really need to know what you're doing. If somebody not authorized to be in the cockpit manages to both copy the cockpit door key and also memorize the proper procedure for starting the engines, and then actually does it, well I'm not really sure what you can do to prevent that that isn't already being done. It seems so implausible as to be almost impossible.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
FlyboyOz
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:28 pm

Yes...I saw five Boeing people gave a key to the airline's people who bought an aircraft on TV.
The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
 
A388
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:57 pm

I also remember seeing a documentary about the 777 on Discovery Channel where Boeing officials gave a key to the airline representatives after the contract was officially signed at the Boeing headquarter. This happened when the first aircraft of the type was handed over. I don't know what that key was for, but Boeing handed over a key of some sort.

Regards A388
 
jamesvf84
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:27 pm

If I am not mistaken I thought the MD-11s from Swissair / Swiss had keys. I saw a couple in the cockpit once (when visits were allowed), my only hesitation is that when I quesioned the pilot about the keys I was not entirely sure that he was not pulling my leg!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
MarBergi
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:29 pm

I'm sure the key you saw on the discovery channel was on a ceremonial/token key, or maybe someone got caught short and it was the key to the executive toilets at Boeing!!!
 
geoffm
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:38 pm

Yes, I remember that documentary (very good it was too) and it was most definitely a *ceremonial* key.

I'm just waiting for the first announcement in the terminal: "Flight XXYYY to ZZZ has been cancelled today because the captain lost the cockpit door key down a drain"!

LOL @ UAXDXer

Geoff M.
 
acidradio
Crew
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:49 pm

Well they might not have keys, but maybe they should. This is something for Ralph Nader to work on... Someone could just drive off with a widebody.

Even though there are no keys to start a typical commercial jet, you probably need to get pushed back, need a fuel load, and other things in order to get anywhere anyways!
Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
 
carduelis
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 9:58 pm

Looks like one aircraft has keys - 'Crew Locks itself in Plane'!

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1706974/


Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
 
beechnut
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 10:17 pm

"Light piston engine aircraft do have keys to start the engine, but turboprops and jet aircraft engine starts are completed by button pushing."

Light piston twins do not have keys for engine start; they have keys for doors only. Piston singles have ignition keys that operate the magneto switch (and in later models actuate the starter; some earlier aircraft had a separate starter button or handle, and of course the earliest of all required a hand prop swing to start).

Airliners have keys for the cockpit door only. There are no keys to start the engines.

Mike
C-GTLM
 
elwood64151
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:23 pm

Think about it this way: If you required a key to the aircraft, you'd need multiple dozens of copies for each pilot rated to fly it, or have them kept in a safe or other "secure" location at the airport where the aircraft landed.

Why bother with it, when it's so difficult to learn how to start the aircraft, anyway? Keys to vehicles are meant for individual operator security. Since aircraft are operated by more than one individual, it doesn't make sense to have a key.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
FlyPIJets
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:53 am

No question, asked honestly, is a stupid question.

But this did make me think. Can you imagine having a delayed flight at 6 AM because the pilot can't find the keys?

 Smile
Rex Kramer: Get that finger out of your ear! You don't know where that finger's been!
 
StearmanNut
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 1:16 am

Most light aviation aircraft have regular ignition keys. I remember most ignition switches were standard Briggs and Stratton units, much like one would find on earlier GM and Rambler cars.

As a former repo man, I found that the older GM ignition keys would operate most B&S locks. Many a Cessna and Piper have fallen to my old set of GM keys. So have a lot of Chevy's.
If wishes were horses, a Tail Dragger I would fly...
 
SLUAviator
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 1:39 am

Single engine piston poppers have keys to start them and turn the magnetos on. Usually light twins do not have keys. They have switches for the mags and buttons for the starters. I have flown a single that had a key to turn the mags on, and a starter button to actually start the engine.

I don't know if it is true or not, but I have been told that the 777s start by pressing one button and the plane takes care of the rest. How cool is that?
What do I know? I just fly 'em.......
 
infiniti757
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:33 am

Corporate aircraft have keys for the door.

Elwood64151 wrote:

Think about it this way: If you required a key to the aircraft, you'd need multiple dozens of copies for each pilot rated to fly it, or have them kept in a safe or other "secure" location at the airport where the aircraft landed.

A good friend flies for a major fractional operator. Every pilot is given a key to the plane for the fleet they fly. The one key is good in the doors of all that type of plane. They keep them on their key chain or in their breifcase.

In the corporate world we have good reason to lock the plane at night. It's not so much that any one could steal the plane, but that someone might get inside the plane and vandalize the interior and steal the stores (lots of liquor) while the plane is parked in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. As far as stealing the aircraft goes one need only pull a few breakers and the plane won't start.
Give me the luxuries in life and I will gladly do without the necessities. (Frank Lloyd Wright)
 
MTChemNerd757
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 8:56 am

SLUAviator~ I have heard the same of CRJ-200s....Maybe something like get the APU on, press a button or two and in most cases, the plane does take care of itself.

brad
Fight Terrorism - Ride a Bike!
 
flflyguy
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:46 pm

Back when we were hiring lots of new F/A's, we used to sometimes send a newbie to Operations to "get the key for the plane". Every once in a while you'd find someone dumb enough to do it!
The views expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer.
 
spacecadet
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 3:20 pm

I don't know if it is true or not, but I have been told that the 777s start by pressing one button and the plane takes care of the rest.

It's not true.

http://www.meriweather.com/777/777_list.html

Check out the initial checklists. Now, that's not all engine-related, but much of it is, and much of it's that not directly engine-related has to be on/off/auto/checked before trying to start the engines (stuff like electrical power, circuit breakers, pack switches, etc.).

Yes, the 777 has an engine "start" switch. All modern airliners have this switch, but it doesn't mean you just press one button in a cold cockpit and the engine starts. You have to have prepared the aircraft to start the engine. Break into a cockpit and turn this knob and absolutely nothing will happen. Even if the airplane's sitting there on battery or APU power and you flip this switch, nothing's going to happen unless the pilot's gone through the full checklist ahead of time.

There's a reason why the checklists are in the order that they are on that site - that's the order you have to go through them in. You see the engine start checklist is very short but the initial preparation checklist is very, very long and without going through it you're not even gonna get a sputter when you click that start switch on.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
ual747den
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 3:41 pm

I got a funny one for ya, like people have mentioned Boeing have silver keys that are given to the airline along with their new plane. When the 747 was being developed there was a bomb scare for all business that were for the war. Bombers would put bombs in all the toilets. Pan Am started locking all the restroom areas on the executive floors. When people from Boeing would be there negotiating they would have to ask Pan Am for the keys each time they needed to go to the restroom. The Boeing people hated this! Finally they were able to snach a key and they took it back to Boeing and had it plated in chrome. The next time they were back at Pan Am HQTRS. They said lets make a deal, we will trade your keys for ours! (Meaning give Boeing a bathroom key and they will give Pan Am a plane) The Pan Am people laughed. The next time Boeing people cam out to NY to talk with Pan Am they had a surprise waiting. A Pan Am VP handed them some keys that were chrome plated and said these open any window in the building. (The entire Pan Am building had windows that would open and turn around to be cleaned) if you ever get sick of us and want to jump, you now can do so.....! If you knew of the tough negations between Boeing and Pan Am im sure your laughing!
/// UNITED AIRLINES
 
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PA110
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sat Aug 21, 2004 5:33 pm

One of my swiss friends got hired as an F/A for Swissair, back in the late 80's. The issue of aircraft keys came up as part of her hazing.

The day of her first flight, the crew went to Ops for their briefing, and then proceded to the gate. Just as they got to the gate, the captain turned and said that he forgot the keys to the aircraft. Because she was the junior F/A, she had to go back to Ops to get the keys. She didn't know any better and believed him. The folks at Ops were also in on the joke. When she got there, she was told that the keys were given to catering. She called catering who told her that the refuelers had the keys and were over at the aircraft as they spoke. She rushed frantically back to the gate, only to find her crewmates and all the passengers in the gate area cheering (and laughing).

For anyone who might be as gullible as my friend, trust me... THERE ARE NO KEYS for commercial airliners.

I never knew that SR engaged in hazing new F/A's. They put smelling salts in the demo mask, and switching the demo life vest with a live one, which inflated when she pulled the red tab. 120+ passengers on a full MD80 were howling with laughter. She ran to the galley and cried!

Those Swiss!! Who knew they had such a sense of humour?
It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
 
UK_Dispatcher
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:50 am


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Airsnaps



When these a/c arrive on stand, the captain has to come down and unlock the hold doors, and locks them up before departure! (Yes, with keys!)
 
ckfred
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:39 pm

I know that the DC-3 had a key to lock and unlock the exit door at the rear of the cabin. I read that after DL restored its DC-3, one of the retired employees who worked on the plane happened to have a key from when he started at DL, and it worked in the door.

A friend of mine who used to fly 727s for AA has told me that there is a key that will raise and lower the rear stairs while one is standing on the ramp.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:29 pm

Are all the latest jets having Keys to the Cockpit doors.
Considering the Terrorist threat.If so where is it stored during flight.As it should be in the cockpit not cabin to prevent unauthorised use.In case the Door Electronic lock has not been Engaged.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
jonty
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:34 pm

Quoting A300 (Reply 5):
All big jets have ceremonial keys that are handed over to the new owner when they cough up the mere USD 140,000,000 required (example is for 747).

I did wonder about these keys, I know its stupid but when you hear that they are getting the key you just start to wonder
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Mon Apr 18, 2005 6:11 pm

Quoting Jonty (Reply 30):
Quoting A300 (Reply 5):
All big jets have ceremonial keys that are handed over to the new owner when they cough up the mere USD 140,000,000 required (example is for 747).


I did wonder about these keys, I know its stupid but when you hear that they are getting the key you just start to wonder

Similiar to getting the "Key to the city" kind of ceremony.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
9VSRH
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Mon Apr 18, 2005 6:54 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 29):
Are all the latest jets having Keys to the Cockpit doors

No...... but I'm pretty sure all the new airbuses are fitted with keypads at the flight deck door......but they definately have keypads on the QF A330-300s and CX A346s
 
ZKSUJ
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:25 pm

Seriously, the PA 28 series does
 
noelg
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:34 pm

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 8):
There's no single button than can turn on an engine in a cold cockpit. It takes a sequence of procedures that is way more complex than any pass code you could ever come up with.

Don't you just press Ctrl+E?

 Wink

Noel.
 
AvionicMech
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:03 am

Quoting 9VSRH (Reply 32):
No...... but I'm pretty sure all the new airbuses are fitted with keypads at the flight deck door......but they definately have keypads on the QF A330-300s and CX A346s

I think you will find that almost every large commercial aircraft in the UK and probably the US has this installed. I certainly know that here at BY we have it installed across our fleet. What have you guys got at your airlines?
 
UAcsOKC
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Tue Apr 19, 2005 11:17 am

Quoting Ckfred (Reply 28):

A friend of mine who used to fly 727s for AA has told me that there is a key that will raise and lower the rear stairs while one is standing on the ramp.

No, the stairs can be raised by popping the panel and holding the handle in the down position until it locks down. They do however have an aerodynamic device that locks the stairs up inflight, thus making an inflight exit impossible.  Smile
I love the rumble of a 727 takeoff in the morning!
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Tue Apr 19, 2005 1:17 pm

Quoting AvionicMech (Reply 35):
They do however have an aerodynamic device that locks the stairs up inflight, thus making an inflight exit impossible.

I believe it's called the D.B. Cooper switch.
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:20 pm

How do they open the jet door for first flight? How do they lock the plane at the end of the day?
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:26 pm

Cessna 172 keys are as cheap and as flimsy as my fire safe's key, and they are exactly the same size!!!  boggled 
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:41 pm

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 38):
How do they open the jet door for first flight? How do they lock the plane at the end of the day?

Thats where Security comes in.The doors are closed by Mx & sealed [taped] by Security unless there is a Security guard near the Entrance at all times near the Step ladder.
All other doors are Taped sealed.
In case prior to 1st flt Mx checks its discovered that the Security seal is broken,An Antisabotage Insp is carried out.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
242
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:04 pm

Quoting SLUAviator (Reply 20):
I don't know if it is true or not, but I have been told that the 777s start by pressing one button and the plane takes care of the rest. How cool is that?

Assuming the aircraft is on APU power already and bleed air is properly configured, it's just a matter of the Autostart button, two knobs, and two switches to get both engines to start at the same time. It's a pretty good show from the flight deck or the ground.
 
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litz
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:30 am

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 37):
Quoting AvionicMech (Reply 35):
They do however have an aerodynamic device that locks the stairs up inflight, thus making an inflight exit impossible.

I believe it's called the D.B. Cooper switch.

Cooper Vane, actually ...

Physically it's a small little wing attached to the underside of the stairs - when the plane is in flight, the little wing constantly pushes the stairs UP, so they can't be opened. Quite an ingenious solution, actually ...

So named for DB Cooper who opened the stairs on a 727 to jump out, during his hijacking.

- litz
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:09 am

Quoting Litz (Reply 42):
So named for DB Cooper who opened the stairs on a 727 to jump out, during his hijacking.

Whats this about.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
bond007
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:28 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 29):
Considering the Terrorist threat.If so where is it stored during flight.

You'll find it under the doormat if nobody is around  Smile

I know it's uncommon (or unheard of) in American cars, but remember even cars don't even have keys anymore....stick the card in and press the button.

...but my old Cessna 172 has a good old key and starts just like a car!

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
PPGMD
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:57 am

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 27):
When these a/c arrive on stand, the captain has to come down and unlock the hold doors, and locks them up before departure! (Yes, with keys!)

Different mind sets, as the Russians when they designed the aircraft were probably afraid of defectors.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
Dalmd88
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:13 am

Not all aircraft take 200 movements to start. Metros were pretty easy. Unlock the cabin door with the key. All civilian Metros have the same key BTW. Turn on the Master switch. Push the start button. If you have good battery voltage and it isn't a real cold day it will self start just like that.
 
IslipWN
Topic Author
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:59 am

Wow, now that I see this thread that I started back in August, I feel REALLY, REALLY, REALLY stupid. I can't believe that I ever asked such a stupid question! blush 
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Apr 22, 2005 10:44 am

Most older Russian airliners had keys for the cabin and cargo doors. At Interflug in SXF in the old East german times, there was always a small booth between two parking positions (you can see one at the bottom of the light mast in the picture), which was manned by a police officer. After finishing MX, the mechanics had to olck the plane and to give the keys to the police officer. Also, if there was any work to be done on a plane, the police had to be informed beforehand. Once two mechanics had to carry out an engine run on a Tu-134 and confused the registration numbers. When they started up the engines, lots of police and border guards raced around the plane and forced them out at gunpoint. West Berlin was less than two flight minutes away from SXF and the East German border guards thought they wanted to make a run for it with the plane.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Helmut Bierbaum



The Douglas DC-4 and the subsequent models (DC-6, DC-7) also had levers for the cargo doors, which doubled as keys (they were removable)

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
OzLAME
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RE: Do Airplanes Have Keys?

Fri Apr 22, 2005 4:20 pm

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 8):
To actually start a plane, though, you really need to know what you're doing.

I remember an accident report from the early '80s where a guy who had 'had a few' managed to both start, take-off and land a Cessna in outback Queensland. IIRC he landed on a road and was found by the police sleeping it off in the middle of the road. There was also a Bell Jetranger at Orange NSW, again a couple of drunken guys, one managed to get it started and tried to lift off, the helo rolled over and the main rotor struck the other guy standing nearby.

Mitsubishi MU-2s have a key-operated Master switch.
Monty Python's Flying Circus has nothing to do with aviation, except perhaps for Management personnel.

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