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DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 5:01 am
by USCGC130
Back in the late 1960s, I remember seeing curve-bottomed baggage bins on trailers like those in the foreground of the following photo:


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Photo © John F. Ciesla



Passenger baggage was loaded onto them in modular fashion. Then they were towed out to the aircraft and lifted (or hoisted) vertically into the baggage compartment via a transverse belly hatch just aft of the wing, rather than the baggage being loaded in the customary manner through side hatches with a belt loader. (If there was a corresponding belly hatch forward of the wing, I never noticed it.) I only ever saw these used with United DC-8s, and just the Super 61s as I recall.

I went through all the A.net DC-8 photos from the 1960s and '70s, but I wasn't able to find any pictures of these bins in use. The only shot I could find of them at all was in the above picture of a United Caravelle.

Does anyone know the story behind this system? Was it developed specifically for United? Did the planes that used it also have the conventional side doors for baggage loading? Were the bins lifted up with a special piece of ground equipment, or raised with an onboard hoist? Were they then slid along some sort of rail system like a C-130s?

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:11 am
by Buzz
Hi USCGC130, Buzz here... they were one of the better things that UAL had. Mostly used on the DC-8's but there was one version used for a few years on the long 727's. It's one was I can tell one of "my" old DC-8's: they have the "basket" cargo door for belly loading.

There was a cable hoist and bracket that descended, the cargo basket would attach to the bracket and an electric motor would lift the basket into the belly. Then somebody could take a long handled crank and move the basket fore or aft along the belly, the basket rode on tracks on the upper outboard corners of the cargo pit ceiling.

One guy at work became quite skilled at repairing damaged cables, the basket loading system saved a lot of time getting baggage and pineapple out of the airplane. I think the baskets were supposed to hold 1500 lbs of stuff... when the cargo pit lights dim as the basket is lifted we figured the "Kona Krushers, Maui Manglers, and HNL Hooligans" had manged to overload the bins... causing the cables / rails / brackets to crack / snarl / bend. The DC-8's were used a lot for the Hawaii flights, and carried a lot of pineapple in boxes.

Both fore and aft cargo pits on the DC-8's had the basket doors, and there was a "bulk door" aft of the pit for loading a little last minute luggage. The forward bulk pit was designated for animals too.
We had one DC-8-61 bought from JAL which had a normal set of cargo doors, we called it the Rice Rocket. That one was hand-loaded.

G'day and good Independence Day

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:11 pm
by L-188
I flew a Hawaiian Air DC-8 ANC-HNL back in 1991 and it used the hoist baggage method.

AFAIK it is the only A/C type that had this system, I certainly haven't seen it anywhere else.

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 8:39 am
by Viscount724
Quoting Buzz (Reply 1):
We had one DC-8-61 bought from JAL which had a normal set of cargo doors, we called it the Rice Rocket. That one was hand-loaded.

A couple of photos of that aircraft, both as a -61 and -71:


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Photo © George W. Hamlin
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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 6:40 am
by strfyr51
Quoting USCGC130 (Thread starter):

Does anyone know the story behind this system? Was it developed specifically for United? Did the planes that used it also have the conventional side doors for baggage loading? Were the bins lifted up with a special piece of ground equipment, or raised with an onboard hoist? Were they then slid along some sort of rail system like a C-130s?


The lower gondola was a United particular deal as i've never seen another airline use them. (I have no idea if Delta did or not).
We did own an airplane that was formerly a JAL DC8 the had the regular cargo doors, The Gondola system allowed 2 guys to load the entire belly in half the time because the airplane was so doggone long. it was a cable driven system that was an electric drive , it was SWEET when it worked, when it Didn't?? What bear!! there were load limits for each position and they were critical to not damage the system or the rails hat held the gondola's up and locked. The belly door was dead center bottom of the cargo pit. fore and aft.

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 1:56 pm
by ImperialEagle
Quoting USCGC130 (Thread starter):
The only shot I could find of them at all was in the above picture of a United Caravelle.

Kind of funny considering the Caravelle had very small bins!

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 12:15 pm
by Francoflier
Well, since the thread has been resuscitated, does anybody have a picture of that 'basket door' loading system?

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 1:51 pm
by hufftheweevil
Quoting francoflier (Reply 6):
Well, since the thread has been resuscitated, does anybody have a picture of that 'basket door' loading system?

ha763 shared this video in the other thread:

Quote:
http://youtu.be/V886TJn-cQU

Check out the video starting around 2:10 for the DC-8 ULD system.

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:08 pm
by Francoflier
Quoting hufftheweevil (Reply 7):

Very nice. Thanks!

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 3:27 pm
by SXDFC
Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 4):
The Gondola system allowed 2 guys to load the entire belly in half the time because the airplane was so doggone long.

Can anyone share some pictures of this, being a fellow Ramp Agent, I am curious to see what this looks like..

While were on the subjects, for those who worked the DC-8 what did you like and dislike about working it?

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 3:55 pm
by hufftheweevil
Quoting SXDFC (Reply 9):
Can anyone share some pictures of this, being a fellow Ramp Agent, I am curious to see what this looks like..

Check reply #7, I linked to a video of this.

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 9):
While were on the subjects

I guess you didn't notice this thread was started over 7 years ago.   

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 11:42 pm
by Viscount724
Quoting L-188 (Reply 2):
I flew a Hawaiian Air DC-8 ANC-HNL back in 1991 and it used the hoist baggage method.

Two Hawaiian DC-8-62s were ex-UA. It was probably one of those.

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:54 pm
by larshjort
Intersting setup, Was there any major flaws since they didn't manage to sell it to other Airlines?

Quoting hufftheweevil (Reply 10):

I guess you didn't notice this thread was started over 7 years ago.



The reply top which he was replying was written 5 days ago. And since when does 6 years 10 months 4 weeks become more than 7 years  

RE: DC-8 Modular Baggage Bins

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 4:38 am
by hufftheweevil
Quoting larshjort (Reply 12):
The reply top which he was replying was written 5 days ago.

Indeed, you are correct, sir.   

Quoting larshjort (Reply 12):
And since when does 6 years 10 months 4 weeks become more than 7 years

I stand corrected...again!   

Two mistakes with one statement. Ouch!   

Please, carry on and ignore my silly shenanigans.