Page 1 of 1

Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:02 pm
by doulasc
This thread is based on cover of Life Magazine August 11 1972 shows a Braniff Boeing 727
airbourne with its rear stair door halfway open. Did Braniff and other airlines seal their
rear stairs on their 727 fleet by removing the handle.How many airlines had problems
with hijackers using the rear stairs while in flight?

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:07 pm
by ridgid727
Didn't the FAA order all airlines to install the DB Cooper Vane on 727s and DC9s to prevent the airstairs from opening in flight, after the NW Hijacking?

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:12 pm
by Polot
Here is the cover for those interested:


[Edited 2015-06-14 09:12:44]

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:29 pm
by ridgid727
I don't think they sealed off any, as those were legitimate exits when the aircraft was on the ground.

The vanes were installed to keep them from opening inflight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_vane

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:43 pm
by Dalmd88
The stairs also had to be down while loading and unloading. When down and locked they were a structural tail stand that prevented the nose from lifting off the ground in a tail heavy condition.

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:54 pm
by trnswrld
We're any DC9/MD80 or 727 aircraft ever built without these stairs? (Sorry if that's a stupid or obvious question).

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:00 pm
by MD80
Quoting trnswrld (Reply 5):
We're any DC9/MD80 or 727 aircraft ever built without these stairs?

Some early-built DC-9-10s were delivered without the rear stair.

Regards

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:17 am
by Viscount724
Quoting MD80 (Reply 6):
Quoting trnswrld (Reply 5):
We're any DC9/MD80 or 727 aircraft ever built without these stairs?

Some early-built DC-9-10s were delivered without the rear stair.

Many much later DC-9s, and not just DC-9-10s, were built without the rear airstairs. For example, all 50+ AC DC-9-32s lacked the rear stairs. They were optional on DC-9s. Standard on all 727s and MD-80/90s as far as I know.

[Edited 2015-06-14 19:19:05]

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:28 am
by Max Q
Did the 717 have rear stairs ?

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:09 pm
by badgervor
Quoting Max Q (Reply 8):
Did the 717 have rear stairs ?

Not that I'm aware of. At least when I worked at YX they didn't have them.

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:33 pm
by 1337Delta764
Quoting Max Q (Reply 8):
Did the 717 have rear stairs ?

No, that feature was removed by McD to save weight to improve fuel economy.

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:33 pm
by Classa64
I would think removing them completely instead of sealing them would reduce weight, but are they required to work as an emergency exit ? In an evac test when the the plane was certified were the rear stairs working counted as an exit?

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:36 pm
by litz
Quoting Classa64 (Reply 11):

I would think removing them completely instead of sealing them would reduce weight, but are they required to work as an emergency exit ? In an evac test when the the plane was certified were the rear stairs working counted as an exit?

Exactly - and, in fact, in the recent DL MD-88 landing incident at LGA, that was how a bunch of people got off the airplane - right out the back end.

There is a pretty infamous picture of a fireman's ladder set up against the aft end of the plane (where the jettisoned tailcone would be) to allow access inside the plane to rescue workers.

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:15 pm
by Dalmd88
In the DC9 family the rear stairs are not an emergency exit. The catwalk above the stairs and the removable tailcone are the emergency exit. All DC9 family have this exit irregardless if they have ventral stairs installed. It is impossible to open the DC9 family stairs from inside the aircraft.

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:53 pm
by 113312
You could not remove the aft airstairs on the B727 because they provided essential access to a whole lot of systems and plumbing that was installed on either side of the stairwell.

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:45 pm
by tb727
Quoting polot (Reply 2):
Here is the cover for those interested:

Ahh man, this thing is a pig, it's climbing like the airstairs are down!

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:52 am
by BravoOne
An interesting experiment was done by the US Army with CIA oversight where they removed the cabin to stairway door (AKA refrigerator door) and had jumpers launch of the stairway in flight. At about 140Kts, flaps 20 you could get about four guys on the stairway and it would float in an open position with enough stability to launch the guys safely or at least within the acceptable risk zone. The problem of course was when the stairway only had one or two guys on it the tendency for it to drift up became problematic. I saw this down with a ATA 727 and later saw good film footage done using a Pan Am 727-100 filmed from both inside and outside the aircraft.

The ATA flights were done down in Marana. Don't know where the Pan Am flights occurred or if this was ever put to use. Very risky business when involve airliners in military ops IMO.

[Edited 2015-06-16 02:57:12]

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:49 pm
by B777LRF
Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 4):
Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 4):

The stairs also had to be down while loading and unloading. When down and locked they were a structural tail stand that prevented the nose from lifting off the ground in a tail heavy condition.


The door is NOT a tailstand, and only the -100 was handled with the door down.The -200 had a separate tailstand and the door had to be up and locked. We are talking freighters here, as they present the biggest challenge.

RE: Airlines Sealing The Back Stairs On 727s

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:05 am
by Max Q
Quoting B777LRF (Reply 17):
The door is NOT a tailstand, and only the -100 was handled with the door down.The -200 had a separate tailstand and the door had to be up and locked. We are talking freighters here, as they present the biggest challenge.

That's not the way we operated in the passenger world, one of my duties as Second Officer was to ensure the hydraulic arms on either side of the ventral stairs were locked over center before loading and we DID use it as a tailstand.


Nothing wrong with using a tailstand I guess but I disagree that the ventral stairs could not be used that way, that was our approved procedure.