Re: passenger stairs in aircraft tail

From:         avfoto@ix.netcom.com (Jay Selman )
Organization: Netcom
Date:         10 Jul 95 16:36:58 
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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.