Topic Author
Posts: 1918
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Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:34 pm

I've really noticed, especially on 757/737s, agents, catering personnel, and even flight attendants really throwing the doors around. I think of 737 doors as rather heavy, and have heard the 57's in notorious- however I saw a WN agent close a 737 door the other day in about one second. I also witnessed catering open one of the aft doors on an E190 the other day quite aggressively as it slammed against the fuselage and shuttered violently. So how heavy are these doors, how much force do they require for maneuvering? Can overpowering them cause damage to their hinges?

Thanks for any information.
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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:06 am

737 doors are surprisingly light. They can be slightly awkward to move but once you've got the trick you can pop em open and closed pretty easily. As they're pretty light they don't really do any damage to themselves or the rest of the fuselage.

The hinges and mechanism involved in closing/opening the door are pretty sturdy. I'm sure tested to destruction by Boeing hundreds of times, although I'm sure throwing the door open and closed as hard as possible for a long time isn't recommended.

A320 doors are more difficult to judge, they seem a lot more sturdy but have a totally different way of opening compared to the 737.
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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:19 am

I can't say for certain, but I would imagine Boeing tests these doors with applied forces higher than most of us would be capable of. Hopefully someone can clear that question up later on.

The 737 doors I've worked with were always easy to open (there's a lever in the door that rotates in the same "plane" as the door). Getting them closed wasn't always so easy. There was a small handhold one could pull on to help rotate the door back into position but I still had to throw a bit of force in there to get it closed.

The A319s (and I assume all A320 series) have interesting doors where the lever instead moves out of the plane of the door towards the user. Various panels on the door pop up and the door swings's all very futuristic. Big grin

Obviously the doors function differently, with the 737 door "rotating" about its hinges and the A319 door "sliding" up or down the length of the fuselage. I always found the A319 doors easier to close, but in either case they usually required a bit of "manhandling". I would assume they're both designed to take a fair amount of punishment.

...just don't "manhandle" open doors with the locks on. Bad idea.

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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:08 am

Quoting Flyboy80 (Thread starter):
I've really noticed, especially on 757/737s, agents, catering personnel, and even flight attendants really throwing the doors around

Actually I've noticed that a lot with the 777 doors too. When opened, they seem to slide out fairly blithely.

What about the other end of the spectrum? Which are the hardest doors to open? 747s? 767s?
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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:38 am

As far as large(r) jets that I've worked on, the MD-88 door seems to be the most user friendly door that I've seen. It's just making sure that that damn bayonet hits just right...that's the hard part there.

The 737-800's are easier with practice...

and the 752's doors are extremely heavy and awkward to work from the inside, especially the R3 door (on the 6 door'd version, obviously I've never open R3 on a 8 door one, as you can't really re-close those  Wink )
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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:07 am

Quoting Flyboy80 (Thread starter):
Can overpowering them cause damage to their hinges?

YES, but it is unlikely that a person opening and closing can do it. But try lifting the aircraft door up with a catering truck, or a set of steps! The hinge mechanisms of most doors are very complicated.
To open the door you have to move the stop pads apart. Older Boeing doors 707 727 737 747 757 are all similar the door moves horizontally in to the aircraft and then out. Newer Boeing doors 777 787 and all Airbus doors the door is lifted about an inch and then goes out. In all cases the person moving the handle is physically opening the door.
The old Boeing door (still fitted to new 737NG) is easy, if you are standing in the right place, but to open and especially close the fwd doors on a 737 needs a knack. Most airlines will not allow a flight attendant to close a B737 or B757 door from inside. There is too much force required as you are leaning out the door.
I like the A320 series. I can open it from the outside single handed, just lift the lever and pull.
The worst is the B757. When closing from outside you have to try and engage the butterfly handles as the detents get to the right spot. Takes practice and it is easy to jam the door 90pc closed.
In an emergency the door is opened from the inside with the slide engaged. This makes the door a lot heavier to open than normal. B747 757 and all Airbus have a small nitrogen bottle that is fired to push the door open. B737 and the older B707 727 do not. B737 cabin crew meeting their first emergency opening of the fwd doors in engaged mode have been known to fail, and need help because the door is so heavy. This is still the design on new 737NGs.
B767 and Tristar doors open up into the ceiling. The doors are balanced on a massive spring, so in emergency when the slide stays on the floor, the door is suddenly much lighter and is launched skywards. You need to inspect the up stops after this!!
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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:18 pm

On the B737....Rather than damage to the hinges....damage is more towards the lock rollers moving into the frame slots brackets.
Too rapid mvmt can damage the rollers.

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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:41 pm

Thanks for the information.

Part of what I saw the other day at work was a NW agent close a 752 door. And she did just that, had the external handle released as the door was ending its travel rotation; once she began handle rotation however the door just flew into its socket, and a done deal it was. There must be a mechancial mechanism that in some way accomplishes that last portion as it is so heavy.
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RE: Man Handling Aircraft Doors...

Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:51 pm

I've seen many doors damaged over the years, and always by baggage handlers, caterers, and agents. Mtce people tend to be gentle with them. Look at a lot of CRJs, and you'll see dents in the fuselage from the service door being thrown open. Similarly there will be damage to the main cabin door frame. Dash 8s baggage doors are always slammed around like it's the trunk lid of a car, damaging the rollers and stops, often badly. The Dash cabin door can be messed up by closing it too fast, especially in cold weather. The F28 service door was prone to problems from being thrown open as well.
It's an issue of people not caring, or not knowing better, or both. It's not a pickup truck folks, treat it gently.

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