Re: 747-300 and -400

From: (Ryan Stevens)
Organization: AOL
Date:         19 Apr 96 02:04:04 
References:   1 2 3 4
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In article <airliners.1996.475@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
   kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz) wrote:
>>: The -100 and -200 don't have an upper deck door, except for the small
>>: hatch above the cockpit.

>The -400F has a glorified ladder leading from the upper deck down to
>the main deck; presumably earlier 747F and C models have this as well.
>I had assumed the crew boarded through one of the main deck doors and
>climbed up.  I don't have much contact with freighters, though I have
>noticed regular passenger ladders positioned at the first or second
>main deck doors.  I've never noticed any sort of stairs that reached
>all the way up to the upper deck, and I would think that would stand
>out pretty clearly.  I guess it's time for a sightseeing trip of the
>scenic SFO cargo area!  :-)

Having recently spent some time on a newly delivered SQ 747-400F, I can
verify that the cockpit is indeed reached from the main deck by a pull down
ladder.  It seems that the amount of freight carried in the section directly
under the main deck is rather limited due to height restrictions and the
contour of the nose.  The ceiling in the area under the upper deck has a
maximum height of approx. 96 inches, as compared to nearly 120 inches in the
remaining portion of the main cargo hold.  This also explains the use of the
shorter upper deck on the -400F; any increase in the upper deck cuts down on
the capacity of the main deck.  It has even been said that, if possible, the
airlines would rather have the upper deck shorter than it is now in order to
maximize the space on the main deck.  Given the enormous number of changes
that would require, I doubt that it will ever happen.
  On a similar note, the guy showing me around this particular aircraft at SQ
mentioned a story from way back regarding loading of a 747F.  It seems the
aircraft was being loaded at a station not serviced by the airline itself,
but instead was handled by another company under contract.  They were trying
to load 10 foot high pallets all the way to the nose, not realizing the drop
under the upper deck.  In forcing the pallets, they managed to structurally
damage the back portion of the upper deck, and in the process severed a good
number of control cables from the cockpit...