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WALmsp
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History Of Jetways?

Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:47 pm

Greetings all,

Can anyone provide a history of jetways or recommend some sources? For example,

When/where were jetways first used?
How quickly did their use spread?
Advantages/disadvantages of "parallel" parking at the terminal vs "nose-in" parking?
When did airlines switch?
In this 1971 picture of LAX, you can see T4, T5, and T6 are park nose-in, while UA at T7/8 uses a mix of both methods. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lafdhs/5545208530/in/pool-1473691@N21/


Thanks in advance...

WALmsp
In memory of my Dad, Robert "Bob" Fenrich, WAL 1964-1979, MSP ONT LAX
 
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longhauler
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:40 pm

Quoting WALmsp (Thread starter):
When/where were jetways first used?

When Delta Air Lines took delivery of their first DC-8, on July 22, 1959, it was parked at a Jetway at ATL. This is the earliest mention of a jetway I have seen.
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WALmsp
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:20 pm

Thanks longhauler, that's a start!
In memory of my Dad, Robert "Bob" Fenrich, WAL 1964-1979, MSP ONT LAX
 
rfields5421
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:56 pm

Quoting WALmsp (Thread starter):
Advantages/disadvantages of "parallel" parking at the terminal vs "nose-in" parking?

Nose in takes less space, makes it easier to service the aircraft and avoids the danger of stupid idiot passeners wandering into ramp areas where they should not go.

But it requires greater infrastructure such as pushback tugs.
 
timz
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:12 pm

Aviation Week has a pic of an "Aero-Gangplank" at O'Hare in 1958. Dunno if there was more than one-- probably not, it was a tryout.

But in 1955 Idlewild tried a Whiting Loadair for a year. The plane stopped on a set of transverse rails that winched it sideways to bring the door to the gate. (So how many different wheelbases did it have to accommodate? Doesn't say, but it says it couldn't handle a Viscount.)

[Edited 2013-02-27 10:39:30]
 
Gr8Circle
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:28 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 3):
stupid idiot passeners wandering into ramp areas where they should not go.

I used to love doing that when I was small and the world was a simpler place back in the 70s and 80s....they used to allow us to get off the plane and roam around in the immediate vicinity without some security person coming and yelling at you.....that used to be possible only with the airstairs of course...  
 
Viscount724
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:46 pm

Good views of many parallel jetways connected to both front and rear doors in this 1963 footage from ORD (part of a documentary on air traffic control). Also good views of the F class cabin on a UA DC-8-21 including the original Palomar seats.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrgA0yYhHic

[Edited 2013-02-27 10:48:19]
 
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longhauler
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:43 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 6):
Good views of many parallel jetways connected to both front and rear doors in this 1963 footage from ORD

That is a great film clip, and shows the major advantage of parking parallel over nosing in ... that is, pull the bridge clear and taxi away, no tugs.

Second generation jets, like the B727 and DC-9s, when equipped with APUs, would make nosing in and pushing back easier, as engines could be started on the push.
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WALmsp
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:24 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 7):

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 6):
Good views of many parallel jetways connected to both front and rear doors in this 1963 footage from ORD

That is a great film clip, and shows the major advantage of parking parallel over nosing in ... that is, pull the bridge clear and taxi away, no tugs.

Second generation jets, like the B727 and DC-9s, when equipped with APUs, would make nosing in and pushing back easier, as engines could be started on the push.

Love the video!

The answers so far bring up more questions:

I understand the spatial advantage of nose-in, so why did airlines parallel park to begin with? Carry-over from propellered days? Dual jetway boarding?
In memory of my Dad, Robert "Bob" Fenrich, WAL 1964-1979, MSP ONT LAX
 
vc10
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:58 pm

I have just finished reading a book "Diamonds in the Sky" written by Kenneth Hudson and Julian Pettifer , which if you can find a copy is well worth the read. Anyway a picture in this book shows a movable [ manual] passenger walkway for passengers to board the aircraft without being blown away by the prop wash from the running engine.

Now as this picture was taken at Croydon [UK} in 1931 it can hardly be called a Jetway and it did not extend completely to the passenger building. Also as the aircraft were tail wheel types and the passenger door was at the rear the walkway was only some 6 to 12 inches off the ground but it does show the concept was thought of a very long time ago

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RE: History Of Jetways?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:18 am

Quoting WALmsp (Reply 8):
I understand the spatial advantage of nose-in, so why did airlines parallel park to begin with? Carry-over from propellered days? Dual jetway boarding?

There could be a lot of reasons, remember that in those days, it was service that generated passengers, not low fares. Look at the old photos with red carpets in front of the forward stairs and just plain old stairs at the rear. There certainly was a differentiation between the cabins then. Now, look at the parallel gating pictures, it almost looks like the rear jetway was in an entirely different lounge.

Perhaps, the dual jetways kept the "classes" separate.

Also, before the jets, most of these transport aircraft carried 50 maybe 60 passengers, with the advent of (gasp) 130 passengers on one flight, you had to board through two doors!

It seems like two things evolved with nose-in gating ... they realized that one door could load 200 passengers, as well as it wasn't as unpalatable as predicted having Economy passengers walking through First to get to their seats.
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Viscount724
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:44 am

Quoting longhauler (Reply 7):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 6):
Good views of many parallel jetways connected to both front and rear doors in this 1963 footage from ORD

That is a great film clip, and shows the major advantage of parking parallel over nosing in ... that is, pull the bridge clear and taxi away, no tugs.

I think there would be much greater risk of jet blast-related damage to other aircraft and equipment, and possible injury to ramp workers.
 
rfields5421
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:26 am

Quoting WALmsp (Reply 8):
so why did airlines parallel park to begin with? Carry-over from propellered days?

Despite being a relatively new industry - aviation and airlines are very tradition bound. That's how we've always done it is very much alive today.

Obviously the first passenger aircraft were parked where they could taxi out directly after loading.

Of course when jets came along, there was not a wholesale change immediately. Also, many airport gate parking spots had to service both jets and prop aircraft for many years.

Something as nose in-parking was a huge change in practice, and also a significant increase in ground equipment costs.

I remember having to wait at MSY before we could be pushed back because THE tug was busy pushing pack another aircraft and having some difficulty turning the other plane. It delayed out departure for about 20 minutes. That was 1970.
 
bohica
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:09 am

Quoting WALmsp (Thread starter):
Advantages/disadvantages of "parallel" parking at the terminal vs "nose-in" parking?

I think the advantages have already been mentioned. One of the largest disadvantages was the amount of ramp space needed. For the space used for a 707/DC8 to taxi in and out of its gate under its own power, you could easily park two airplanes nose in. Also the jetways had to be long enough to reach the doors. They also had to be swung out of the way for the plane to arrive/depart. That means a lot of jetway movement. The jetway driver has limited visibility from the cab position and there has been a lot of collisions with ground equipment and unfortunately other people on the ramp. Nowadays jetways are moved only as far as they need to be. Someone else also mentioned the risk of jet blast.




Quoting WALmsp (Thread starter):
In this 1971 picture of LAX, you can see T4, T5, and T6 are park nose-in,

If you look at WA's terminal 5, not all gates were nose-in. I found another LAX picture from the mid 70's which is more clear:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jw-jets/4835992099/in/pool-1473691@N21/

Where the DC-10 is located in the bottom of the picture they would normally park two 737's and the passengers would walk down the ramp from the building to board them. Both 737's could taxi in/out under their own power. Also at the top of the picture between the 720 and the 727 there was another spot where a 737 could park "parallel" to the terminal. Because WA didn't have enough jetway gates capable of handling the DC-10 at the time, they would park a DC-10 at the space for the two 737's and use the ramp and stairs to board the plane. I remember boarding a LAX-MEX flight out of that gate. BTW the DC-10's were towed out of that parking position before engine start.
 
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WALmsp
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RE: History Of Jetways?

Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:46 pm

Quoting bohica (Reply 13):
Where the DC-10 is located in the bottom of the picture they would normally park two 737's and the passengers would walk down the ramp from the building to board them. Both 737's could taxi in/out under their own power. Also at the top of the picture between the 720 and the 727 there was another spot where a 737 could park "parallel" to the terminal. Because WA didn't have enough jetway gates capable of handling the DC-10 at the time, they would park a DC-10 at the space for the two 737's and use the ramp and stairs to board the plane

I'm a WAL baby so I'm have very fond memories of T5! I remember boarding 737s at those gates. Although most of my summer flights to MSP involved a 720, I did get to fly the DC10 on one of those trips! On that topic, WA flew DC10s for a while MSP-LAX and MSP-SFO. I have seen pictures of the 10 parked at the alley-side corner of MSP's Blue Concourse. I think the other parked on the north-side corner; can anyone confirm if my memory is correct?
In memory of my Dad, Robert "Bob" Fenrich, WAL 1964-1979, MSP ONT LAX

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