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Airliner doors

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  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Central Ohio
Airliner doors
Posted by Ashley on Saturday, March 14, 2015 9:06 AM

Got a question from a friend yesterday. Why are airliner doors always on the left side of the airplane? I realized that I had never thought about questioning it, just kind of accepted it as always being so. Now it's got me curious.

Have you flown a Ford lately?

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, March 14, 2015 11:08 AM

Because on boats way back, the rudder was on the right.

That's the best I can do, but once it became the norm, it really set the pattern for not only loading bridges, but also all of the ramp service at the gate (on the other side).

Commercial aircraft design has to be one of the more cautious and conservative things in life. When is the last time you saw an airliner that had a truly innovative or different design feature?

They all look "like a Boeing".

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: Lancaster, South Carolina
Posted by Devil Dawg on Saturday, March 14, 2015 11:27 AM

The Concorde is the only one I can think of (as far as different design features).

Devil Dawg

On The Bench: Tamiya 1/32nd Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zeke For Japanese Group Build

Build one at a time? Hah! That'll be the day!!

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, March 14, 2015 12:38 PM

Dad always said it was just a very big Mirage.

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted by Fly-n-hi on Saturday, March 14, 2015 8:10 PM

Ashley

Got a question from a friend yesterday. Why are airliner doors always on the left side of the airplane? I realized that I had never thought about questioning it, just kind of accepted it as always being so. Now it's got me curious.

They aren't.  Our 757s have 3 main doors and 1 emergency door on each side if the plane.  Boeing or Airbus could easily configure the interior of the plane differently to suit boarding from the right side but the norm has become the left.  

But there are several other things to consider.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Central Ohio
Posted by Ashley on Sunday, March 15, 2015 3:37 AM

I know there is no physical or structural reason for it, but it seems to have become a standard that boarding is done on the left side, galley service on the right. Before the war, American and United both ordered their boarding doors on the right on the DC-3s, and the Fords board from the right. So it leaves the question of whether this was an intentional standardization or it just evolved. It seems to have become the normal practice even before the widespread use of jetbridges.

Have you flown a Ford lately?

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by DURR on Sunday, March 15, 2015 8:01 AM

just a thought but perhaps it is a safety thing   the pilot is able to look out his side to see if the boarding ladder/stairs are away from the plane b4 taxing out to aviod disaster

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, March 15, 2015 2:31 PM

I wonder if it has something to do with the layout of airports.

The gates at every major airport I've ever visited are set up so the planes taxi into the ramp area with their left sides toward the boarding gates. I suspect those tunnel-like contraptions can't be moved without a great deal of trouble. So if the doors of the airliner were on the right, the passengers wouldn't be able to get out.

That's just an uninformed guess; I have no source for it. But it seems to me to make sense.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Central Ohio
Posted by Ashley on Sunday, March 15, 2015 4:56 PM

What I'm really hoping to find is evidence of a closed-door meeting with lots of expensive cigar smoke seeping out from under the door where a group of well-fed airline execs had too much brandy and simply declared that "THIS IS HOW IT SHALL BE!!!!!"

Have you flown a Ford lately?

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • From: N. MS
Posted by CN Spots on Sunday, March 15, 2015 9:32 PM

c&p from askcaptainlim.com

The main reason why passengers board on the left side of planes is a matter of standardization. This is because the doors on the right are generally meant for catering services and at times, for air stairs for passengers on wheel chairs. Furthermore, on the right side, the aircraft can be served by cargo container lifts, baggage belts and refuelling vehicle without interfering with the passengers boarding and disembarkation on the left.

There are no regulations to say that passengers must board on the left side of the plane. On the older Comet plane (first commercial jet plane) passengers could board on the right and on the Boeing 727, passengers could even disembark from the tail end.

So traditionally, passengers board the planes from the left side and all aerobridges for airports around the world have to meet this conventional practice for standardisation purpose.

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • From: N. MS
Posted by CN Spots on Sunday, March 15, 2015 9:36 PM

Now that I think about it, don't most military aircraft board from the left too?  Especially fighter jets?

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, March 16, 2015 9:42 AM

Traditionallly, side by side cockpits are flown from the left seat.  Tandem cockpts in military aircraft are flown mostly from front seat (both of these statements refer to fixed wing only).  Small tandem civil aircraft, because of CG factors may have pilot fly solo from rear (Cub) but others flown from front seat (Champ).

By and large if you think about how ground vehicles are driven- and which side of road to use- traditions developed over millenia, and are not the same from region to region, but in any one region, people find they need a de facto standard and one evolves.

Because ships visited many countries and regions, sailors first needed to establish international standards, and they did pretty well developing laws of seas.

ICAO has done the same thing for rules of air traffic, and is trying to establish airport conventions, but this is not as far along as air traffic rules.

BTW, don't forget 727, which had centerline boarding, :-)

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, March 16, 2015 11:18 AM

Sud Caravelle, DC-9/ MD-80.

BAC 111

And some of the Russian jobs.

DB Cooper "likes".

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, March 16, 2015 11:22 AM

Don Stauffer

Traditionallly, side by side cockpits are flown from the left seat.

So that the pilot can see the terminal...

One of dad's stories:

He was a passenger on a late night flight from Buffalo to Detroit back in the early '50s.

It was a dirty night over the lakes, driving rain and bumps.

Finally the crew announces;

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have begun our descent into Willow Run Airport".

So they land and taxi up to the terminal.

Big lit up sign "Cleveland International Airport".

Without stopping they turn around taxi out and take off again".

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Boise ID area
Posted by modelcrazy on Monday, March 16, 2015 11:44 AM

I would think the original standardization has something to do with ships. The "port" side is on the left looking from the stern to the bow. This is the side of of the ship that faces the port for embarking/debarking, loading/unloading Etc.

Just a guess.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 9:22 AM

But then why do English drive from wrong side of car and on wrong side of road ?  :-)

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August 2008
Posted by tankerbuilder on Friday, March 27, 2015 1:58 PM

Don ;

Hold on there young man !

   When the Automobile was first built in many countries they were right handers .Someone here discovered the thing was easier to work on and  to get into if the driver was on the left . thus we have the system we do .

    Now in the U.K. it's been the norm since stage - coach days . The old pictures of the type of coaches in Europe and the U.K. show the driver on the right .

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