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Hastings Deering Stairs

Hastings Deering Aircraft Stairs - (1959)

In 1958 the Technical Services Division of Qantas Empire Airways (as it was then known) saw the need for a modern motorized mobile aircraft stair to complement their newly ordered Boeing 707 airliner’s which were due to enter service from 1959.

A team of Qantas engineers, lead by George Roberts, designed the new all hydraulic stairs. The use of hydraulics meant that the stairs could be raised from a minimum height of 8 ft up to a maximum height of 12 ft 10 ins to accommodate the door heights of differing aircraft.

Hastings Deering Stairs

With the design in hand, Qantas approached Hastings Deering Services Ltd with a view to producing such a product. The outcome was that in 1959 Qantas ordered 14 aircraft stairs from Hastings Deering Services Ltd of Parramatta Road, Lidcombe, Australia, (which were an off-shoot of the Ford and Caterpillar Tractor Dealership of the same name). The aircraft stairs were mounted on a specially designed chassis using readily available off the shelf Ford components. To power the stairs they used the then new overhead valve engine from the Ford Anglia 105E, although some of the aircraft stairs did use the more powerful engine from the Ford Falcon. The stairs were designed to be demountable so that they could be disassembled and transported to other airfields in a Douglas DC3 or DC4 aircraft.

Hastings Deering Stairs

There was also the added bonus that they were fully roadworthy and there is one famous instance where a set of aircraft stairs were driven from Sydney all the way to Alice Springs.

Hastings Deering Stairs

All the major Australian airlines soon adopted the design, as did Pan Am, Air New Zealand and Malaysian Airways.

Hastings Deering Stairs

The red and white Aircraft Stairs pictured were beautifully and meticulously restored by members of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society and features a four cylinder Ford Anglia 105E engine.

  Aircraft Stairs
Production 1959
Bodystyle Motorised Aircraft Stairs
Engine 997cc Ford 105E
Ford Falcon
Engine position Front
Driven Wheels Rear


Although 14 were ordered by Qantas it is unknown how many (if any) were ordered by other Airlines

(Article Copyright MellY Designs - Please do not Reproduce without Permission)

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