Boeing 727 Air Drop


An interesting news piece and accompanying video, who ever would have thought it?

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CIA B727 Air Drop/Jump Test 1970-71

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The Other Chris

Ahh, so that’s where the crew of the 727 in the Discovery/Channel 4 documentary got the idea from!

Parachute jump from 41s in if the time code doesn’t work:

Ace Rimmer

Shame modern airliners don’t feature the rear access stair ramp like earlier models. Would definitely be useful for deployments to ‘rustic’ airfields.

The BAC 111 also had this feature and the Omani Air Force model also featured a beefed up undercarriage for semi-prepared runways. Are these features something we’re missing out on in modern civil aircraft. It definitely demonstrates a capability the RAF’s Voyagers could never achieve.


Perris Valley, CA if anyone has a freefall certificate and feels like jumping from a (very similar) DC-9 – the only place in the world that you can skydive out of an airliner. I can recommend it! (Very good chili in the Drop Zone Bar).


Ace R – it may not have had the central rear airstair, but VC-10 was specifically designed for hot high operation and rough strip use, directly required by BOAC the lead customer. Because of this and the compromises resulting, the market for VC-10 was small and Boeing cleaned up with 707. I know which I’d rather have flown in though.

a – ref DC9/MD80 – I worked on a full flight sim of one for a while – it had some weird and wonderful features, such as the ability to set ‘altitude hold’ at 40ft and engage full throttle and get to extraordinary speeds without a single warning – all warnings inhibited below 50ft if I remember right. How strange there wasn’t a similar inhibit on autopilot functions…

I believe the VC-10 held the sub-sonic aircraft record for a transatlantic crossing London to New York for many years. Has the Dreamliner (the dream being it won’t set fire to itself) broken this yet?


monkey – to (mis)quote sir Patrick Moore erstwhile of these parts “We just don’t know.” I didn’t know splendid VC-10 held the record so clearly wouldn’t have a clue if Boeing’s bonded plastic Airfix Aeroflame has taken the record since.


TOC. A apt demo of why the only hand luggage allowed on a plane should weight no more than a lord of rings sized paper back novel! As the overhead bins will not stay locked.

Ace Some of the modern turbo prop regionals are pushed for the semi prepared stripped particularly in Africa.

Chris I believe the md80 did a test where it deployed a single thrust reverser in flight, a lot of testing was done in the sim before that test took place.

Sub sonic record!! That like saying who’s the best of the runners up to the most elegant aircraft ever designed to date.


The sub sonic record!!! That’s like comparing who’s the best runner up to the most elegant aircraft ever designed to date.

That’s true Mark, the sub sonic record is not really anything compared to the actual civilian record holder for all airliner routes, Concorde ‘the most elegant aircraft ever designed to date.’

dave haine

@ace rimmer

The reason you don’t see ventral stairs is because they’re a complete arse-ache-

Passengers hate them, because they end up boarding under the APU, screaming at full chat, dripping oil and manky water onto them.

Handlers don’t like them, because you need more safety marshals to direct passengers around the wing, because frankly trying to get passengers onboard an aeroplane is like herding cats- you can guarantee someone will try and walk into the wing, set off across the taxiway or indeed board another aeroplane in the vicinity (within half a mile). With air bridges, the passengers can only walk one way, so you can load an aeroplane much faster.

And they make the back end too heavy. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen a caravelle on it’s arse because someone forgot to jam the broomstick/makro prop under the backend, and then proceeded to fill up from the back as normal.

And the bastard things failed frequently, the caravelle ones used to jam closed, the BAC111 would stick halfway, and the 727 hinge pin would break, invariably when it touched the ground.

Incidentally, both Airbus and Boeing offer air stairs (comes out from the fuselage just below the forward door) on the smaller types. But they weigh nearly a tonne, and take up half the number one baggage/ cargo hold. Canadian airlines use them a lot, especially in the north.

The Il-86 had air stairs too, but a typically russian solution. Those air stairs were installed in the hold, in a sort of vestibule affair. The passengers carried their own luggage out to the aeroplane, went up the air stairs, handed their luggage over a hatch straight into the baggage hold, then went up a staircase into the passenger deck. Dead simple, no baggage carts, or arsing about in the terminal. Just needed a couple of loaders in the hold….


‘Canadian airlines use them a lot, especially in the north.’

Easyjet and Ryanair use them at Krakow .. and Stanstead.


DB Cooper was famous in the US for hijacking a 727, and later parachuting out the airstairs.


And the bastard things failed frequently, the caravelle ones used to jam closed, the BAC111 would stick halfway, and the 727 hinge pin would break, invariably when it touched the ground.

I talked to the last man out of Da Nang a few years back – civi pilot (ex Air America) flying a charter 727. He took off with about 200 refugees (mainly ARVN deserters) in the cabin, 20 in the cargo bay and eight in the wheel wells, and one of them dropped an M-16 on his way up the rear stair so they couldn’t retract it – had to fly to Tan Son Nhut with the back door open – and lost half his hydraulics because a disgruntled ARVN who hadn’t got a seat chucked a hand grenade at the wing, so he couldn’t get the gear up – couldn’t get high enough to stay out of AAA range on the flight south…

Ace Rimmer

Dave H, good info about the rear ramp, although with a bit of beefing up it would be better for a military application. I’m thinking that it still comes a poor second to a proper cargo ramp, given the popularity of the An-124 etc, I’m surprised that Lockheed haven’t revisited the C-141 Starlifter.