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wayne albertson articles

 Boeing 727 Aft Airstairs

Our "Smileys" article in NetLetter #1427 triggered a memory for Bob Sheppard whose career was in Cabin Maintenance.

Bob writes:

I worked the 727 in YWG exclusively for 7 years. For C and D checks we used those airstairs a lot to move cabin seats in and of the aircraft. Just an awesome feature of the airplane.

With very limited space on an aircraft, moving large objects in and out around right angle turns was always a challenge. Getting the job done quickly was the difference between on time and a delay. You learned techniques by trial and error or from a colleague. For example removing a cockpit seat from a DC 9 was a daunting task. You had to remove the cushions, push the seat full down, put the back in full recline.

Once the cockpit / flight deck seat is so positioned, you turn it on its side so the top of the back is angled towards the main cabin door. Carefully slide it through the doorway and you just have enough room to pass through. Trust me, they will not fit through the sliding windows.

Just a quick story about the B-727 airstairs which I used many times for quick getaways when working at the back of the airplane close to departure.

I was working in Winnipeg helping out on removing the interior of the aircraft for overhaul. We started at the front and were progressing quite nicely when an urgent call rang out. Everyone to the front of the plane.

We then noticed the nose had lifted off the ground and gradually went back down when enough people found their way to the front end.

Turned out nobody had put the tail support in place and the only thing preventing the aircraft from toppling backwards was the airstairs.


My own memory of the B-727 utilization of the airstairs was delivering an "Over Water Conversion Kit" each weekend to an aircraft in the YYZ hangar.

As I recall, a row (or two) of seats at the rear of the aircraft had to be removed for the installation of an extra raft for a weekly flight to a Caribbean destination. We would drop off the kit each Saturday overnight and pick it up again the next night. The Cabin Maintenance people were not very pleased about doing this task but, at least, the aft airstairs did make the job a little easier.

Does anyone remember having performed this task? Anything to add? 

b727 air stairs

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