From: email@example.com (Jay Selman ) Organization: Netcom Date: 10 Jul 95 16:36:58 References: 1 2 Followups: 1 2
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Several responses to this topic have hit on various aspects of the subject of passenger stairs in aircraft tails. Don't forget that the early Convair 240s, as well as the Martin 202/404 series, also had ventral airstairs. More recently, of course, most of the aircraft with rear-mounted jet engines have used ventral stairs. Contrary to an earlier posting, there are many DC9s and MD80s out there with actual ventral airstairs. Even the Russian-built YAK-40 has ventral airstairs, which would lead one to presume that they are used as a counterbalance to an inherently tail-heavy aircraft. This is certainly true with the 727-200, and I have personally witnessed a TU154 sitting on its tail, as well. Re the 737s, several airlines have stairs installed in the rear left exit, especially those aircraft used in combi configuration. Piedmont Airlines, back in the early 80s, also came up with the great idea of removing the forward integral airstairs to save weight...only to find that it knocked the w&b figures all to hell. They were then reinstalled, and deactivated. Ventral airstairs also tok a hit in the 70s when D.B. Cooper and several wannabes found that they provided a nifty way of exiting a 727 inflight. As a result, many airlines installed an airflow-activated lock that would not permit the stairs to be opened in flight.