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My quickie yearly Cooper Stuff report for 2019. Dropzone version.

  • Opened the Everything DB Cooper Space at Quora exactly a year ago. Averaging 100 new followers a month, and thousands getting the feed. Now reaches more people with every post than even Cooper Dropzone, although we wish Dropzone would catch up. 
  • Three 'Cooper Campouts' this year. Two were a blast and fully attended. The one in Oregon not so much, but a fun trip anyway. 
  • 'Coco' took over the reins as our 4th official Office Cat. She's a tortie. 
  • Cooper WordPress still with heavy traffic, and only fourteen followers. That's weird. Even I can't explain it. One of these days I should pay the $60 a year to ditch the ads.
  • We're getting a rep for truth in the Cooper case, no matter where it lives, or where it tries to hide. I can tell from the emails.
  • When you Google on 'Cooper Con 2019' or anything similar, you come to us. That's funny because we have nothing to do with it. 
  • I spent more time at Infamous Nissan trying to help people with their truck problems than I did dealing with the Cooper case. It's more fun and people are much nicer. 
  • I still found time to have fun with the Cooper case by hosting the campouts. 

 

bomb2.jpg

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10 hours ago, RobertMBlevins said:

Danger from guns and bombs, etc? Sure, I suppose. Recently, I've been amazed at the sheer number of hijackings that were actually going on back then. 

I liked the end of page six and into page seven...where they have become so common that the Eastern Air Lines VP lists all those facts for pilots:

Just cooperate. Fuel is available from the Navy in Boca Raton, Florida if you're going to Cuba...

A Swiss embassy member in Cuba will probably be at the Havana airport when you land. 

Here are the frequencies and other details for Havana Airport..

The Cubans have been through this many times before...blah, blah, blah. 

I thought it was sort of funny that so many hijackings were going to Cuba that an entire system had been set up between two countries basically hostile to each other. 

Although the mention of bombs, imprudent passengers (drunken passenger on 305), might be a reference to the db hijacking, that is really not what caught my attention. I am referring to the following statement , "There is always the danger that the hijacker could insist on diverting the flight beyond the range of the aircraft's fuel supply. This could result in ditching, a crash landing or an emergency landing at an airport without the required length for the aircraft involved."  I believe this statement is in direct relation to the db hijacking.

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You are right about those dangers, and yes...the report was released after the Cooper Caper. It's a well-researched document. 

They certainly had Cooper in mind. He wanted (at first) to travel beyond the range the 727 could go without refueling, especially in fuel-hogging flight mode. 

But I don't claim to know all the details about these things. Trust me...there are better experts out there on the exact parameters when it comes to Cooper. :)

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An excerpt from a message I received concerning the upcoming Cooper event in Vancouver. (Questions and comments about EU and his event have been coming in more lately)

Quote

'You have to have a valid "use case" to put one of these things on. There are different reasons for it, some valid some not. Is it for the public? Or the presenters? Is it to advance the case or summarize? Or is it just to socialize?...'

My answer, which is a personal opinion only:

You pays your fifteen bucks, you takes your chances. It is mostly to socialize. Doubtful many from the public will actually cough up the money to go, but you never know. 

To anyone planning to go, more power to you. I'm sure it will be interesting. However, if you are not satisfied with the results, then consider expressing your interest in a more public, and much larger event for 2020. That offer is open until February 15, 2020 and not a day longer. And be prepared to help plan the thing. AB of Seattle doesn't believe in one-man shows unless it's just me doing a presentation on Cooper at the local library for maybe twenty people, as I have done occasionally. Anything bigger should be done by committee. I'm willing to finance the thing and help organize it, but not host it. We would need what I call a 'headliner' to do that. Nobody currently in the general Cooperland group comes close to being able to fill that role, not EU, not Bruce Smith, and certainly not me. Tom K comes closest, but I think we can get someone more famous who will draw the crowd, no problem. 

Anyone interested...well, I'm not hard to find. I will make one announcement about it after December 1 at both the Cooper Quora site and at WordPress. This will give everyone in the Cooper community ten full weeks to consider the proposal. After that, all bets are off. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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With the new placard information in the FBI docs, Eric Ulis is using pretzel logic to make it fit his sketchy alternative flightpath narrative.

 

Background... the Cowlitz Sheriff claimed (assumed) the Hicks Placard was from the NORJAK plane, however the FBI soon walked that back, it came from the outside and could have come from another plane. They fall off all the time.

 

Eric Ulis falsely claimed as a fact, the Hicks placard was from NORJAK.


The new FBI doc confirmed that two placards were found. A second placard from behind the grassy knoll is in play. 

The Hicks placard found in Novemeber 1978 was part number BAC27DPA152 which came from the outside of the plane. BAC27DPA152 is listed for a 707, 727 and 737. The part number was updated to 1397VRW in 2001. 

 

NOTE, the placard states “AFT AIRSTAIRS” not ventral. aft airstairs can refer to either ventral or rear side built in airstairs. The 737 had an aft airstairs option (side rear).


That “Hicks" placard could have come off any 727 or 737 on V-23…

 

The font used for the Hicks placard is a later Boeing font, the part number may be the same but it is likely a later printing with the slightly updated Boeing font. That suggests it came off a plane after NORJAK.


The other Placard was found May 2 1979 by a logger in North Skamania County which is far East of the flight path. There is no part number or ID given for this placard.

July 31, 1979 ( Two Employees ) Northwest Orient Airlines, Minneapolis International Airport, was shown an airplane decal recovered in the State of Washington advised that there is a ninety-nine per cent chance that this decal came from the same aircraft hijacked by D. D. Cooper.

_____ noted that the decals placed on the aircraft are red in lettering and that the one recovered in Washington and displayed to him appears to be more maroon.

When the employees claimed a 99% chance they do not mean 305, they mean a 727.. (same aircraft). This is the nature of 302’s they aren’t facts they are summaries of interviews.

Eric Ulis is spinning this to claim the Hick’s placard is 99% from NORJAK, the FBI files don’t say this, NOT EVEN CLOSE. First, they are referring to the second placard not Hicks and they have no way to determine which plane it came from. They are claiming that the placard shown is 99% consistent with the NWA 727 but we don't even have a description of that second placard.

These placards fall off in normal operation according to NWA employees, there is no evidence that either one is confirmed from NORJAK. It is possible, but extremely unlikely.

 

Takeaway..

FBI 302's are NOT facts, they are summaries of opinions.

The Hick's placard part number matches a 707, 727 and 737.

Placards fall off these planes in normal operation and there is no way to confirm which plane (or model) it came from.

 

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It is officially called a marker.. it does not match the internal 727 one on the emergency door.

 

PMA Details BOEING BAC27DPA152

Part Number: 1397VRW
Part Name: Marker-”Emergency Exit Handle”
Replaced Part Number: Boeing BAC27DPA152
Approval basis: Identicality per FAR § 21.303(c)(4)
Models: Boeing (707, 727, 737 series)

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The one found in the Castle Rock area can never be proven to be the one from Cooper's actual plane. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But the fact remains if it is OUTSIDE mounted placard, it does NOT relate to opening the rear airstairs. So it isn't much in the way of evidence anyway. Flights between Seattle and All Points South to Reno and Damn Near Everywhere Else followed V23 for years. It could have come off any of tens of thousands of possible flights through the area. It is useless. 

NoPlacard.jpg

(Or maybe it was no more wire hangars...I forget.) :D

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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Are we back to square ZERO on the placard found near Castle Rock? I keep seeing posts elsewhere calling it a 'bumper sticker'. Both the article, and the accompanying picture with it shown below...definitely say it is made of 'heavy plastic'. Says so.

The placard itself does not display damage elements consistent with a 'decal' or a vinyl bumper sticker, which are basically paper or thin vinyl construction. 

You will have to click on the picture to view full size. 

 

placardwitharticle.jpg

NOTE: This past summer, when I proposed a search in the same area the placard was originally found, I had a theory on WHY it might be a good spot to search. I theorized that Cooper popped the door, ripped off the placard deliberately, and then tossed the dummy reserve chute and the briefcase with the bomb out at the same same. And...that he may have done this in an effort to throw off a ground search if any of the items were found. I speculated that searchers might be able to find these two additional items within one-half square mile of the same area. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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If you want to know the 'nature' of the placard found by Carroll Hicks in something you can buy at the store...go look to where they sell the Garage Sale and No Trespassing signs at Fred Meyers or any hardware company. Thin, flappy little plastic signs you can shake and (on the bigger signs) make some noise with.

Rattle, rattle, rattle... 

These types of items are not generally mounted on the OUTSIDE of aircraft for a number of reasons. For one thing, the first time they reached a temperature of twenty below zero or more at 35,000 feet cruising altitude, the wind alone and the brittleness caused by the extreme cold would rip them right off the aircraft. Even gluing them to the aircraft wouldn't work, because repeated heating up (ground level) and being exposed to the extreme cold, (30-35K feet up) would cause them to shrink and expand all the time. They would flake off in pieces soon afterward, (if glued on) or simply tear away, (if they were riveted or otherwise used fasteners to hold them.) 

If the Hicks placard is plastic, chances are much greater it DID come from the Cooper jet. And it was mounted inside the jet, not on the exterior. Otherwise, like I noted above in the previous post, you would have to believe that someone besides Cooper (at some point) dropped the rear airstairs on a jet along the same path, which is inconceivable. 

The placard also mentions pulling on a handle, which breaks a wire. Doesn't this action require doing it from the INSIDE of the jet? Perhaps the assessment of the placard mentioned in the article was right all along...it came from Cooper. 

EDIT: Shutter recently claims on his website that outside elements on the Space Shuttle were DECALS, possibly painted over with clear coat. I have posed the question at Quora dot com, sending that question to more than twenty people qualified there to answer. (People fill out their profiles and history at Quora, to show they know what they're talking about.) What people? The ones who listed their credentials as working for NASA, or engineers, etc in the commercial aircraft industry. 

We will see what they say. I will link the question and the answers when they come in. This was the exact question I asked of these people:

Quote

'Are instructions on aircraft and rockets like 'Rescue,' or numbers painted on, or are they applied decals?'

I doubt the Shuttle used decals. They would probably melt right off during launch. Remember...we're talking about 1971 or BEFORE that date when speaking of these things, not today, where you can cover an entire car with a decal. For the outside of the aircraft, using a vinyl decal or trying to glue a plastic card to the skin of the aircraft is unlikely. Don't confuse model-building with actual construction of hardware. B|

In the case of the Hicks placard, the 'will break wire' warning is a 'tell'. This means the sign was not mounted on the outside of the aircraft, but on the INSIDE, for emergencies. In case of a bad landing, a crash landing, maybe a fire. Or any situation where the flight crew needed to get people OUT of the aircraft. These instructions would not be mounted on the outside of the aircraft unless there was an emergency pull handle on the aircraft outside as well as inside. 

I'm starting to believe (again) that an organized search in THIS AREA might be warranted for a 2020 Cooper Campout. Only this time I won't let other folks talk me out of it. We have ongoing permission from Weyerhauser to do such a search, and I received over 60 emails in interest. Some people wanted to bring their metal detectors. I can finance this easily, and it's starting to sound like a good idea, after all. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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Some answers are starting to trickle in from Quora. One guy, an MIT grad who did 30 years aerospace and helped run an air museum says this:

(I probably should have made the question more specific, by the way, maybe linked the article above)

Said some decals ARE used, some painting. (Okay, I was wrong saying they NEVER used decals on the outside of aircraft) The guy says...letters and numbers are mostly painted on, but...that SYMBOLS are sometimes decals. He gave an example. The red triangle used on fighter aircraft that shows where the emergency release is located...that is a decal he said. 

I may have to 'qualify' the question better at Quora. In any case, if the emergency release handle signs on 727's are located INSIDE the stairwell area, then it is unlikely one can just come off and fall away in flight on its own. You would have to open the stairs in flight. (?) 

This is why I'm starting to believe the Hicks placard could be from the Cooper jet. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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Not so fast. There is an exterior emergency release system on the 727..

The FBI docs and FBI media report say it came from outside of the aircraft.. 

FBI,, it could have come off any 727 plane.

and the part number BAC27DPA152 is shown for a 707, 727 and 737... 

Anybody want to explain that? Remember, it states "AFT AIRSTAIRS" the 737 had an optional "AFT AIRSTAIR" the rear port side.

Further, it doesn't match the interior "marker" for the 727 optional emergency release.

They did use similar markers on the outside.

It is consistent with the type on the outside of aircraft. Airline ground crew noted that they fall off all the time in normal conditions.

 

727 emergency release access door and marker. Has two finger holes in it.

1206259035_placardcccopy.jpeg.e78efb90392c4b19c4c531ee15c6bb2f.jpeg

 

 

FBI walks back Cowlitz Sheriff claim.

placardquestioned copy.jpeg

 

Example of exterior marker.

727_06.jpg

 

Hicks Marker/727 panel/NORJAK panel open (STAIR CONTROL marker).. note the font is different on the Hicks marker. It is a later Boeing font.

placarddoorstaircontrol.jpeg

 

Example of an exterior marker 727

25538404566_730eacd2c8.jpg

Edited by FLYJACK

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As we can see from your pictures, notices posted on the OUTSIDE of aircraft are either GLUED down or peel-and-stick types. There are no fasteners, because if you used fasteners, wind would get underneath them and rip them away in short order. 

This does not match the found placard, which is described as heavy plastic and obviously had a rivet, or some other fasteners holding it down. Looking at the upper right corner of the found placard, you can see some type of fastener was used, and that's why the small corner piece is missing. 

I have presented an extensive article at Quora today about all this.

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1 minute ago, RobertMBlevins said:

As we can see from your pictures, notices posted on the OUTSIDE of aircraft are either GLUED down or peel-and-stick types. There are no fasteners, because if you used fasteners, wind would get underneath them and rip them away in short order. 

This does not match the found placard, which is described as heavy plastic and obviously had a rivet, or some other fasteners holding it down. Looking at the upper right corner of the found placard, you can see some type of fastener was used, and that's why the small corner piece is missing. 

I have presented an extensive article at Quora today about all this.

It is not heavy plastic,, that is a media exaggeration. Those "holes" do not match any interior marker's either, they may have nothing to do with fastening the marker but  are fasteners for something under it.

You make a logical error.

The part number lists a 707, 727 and 737.. if it was on another plane it may have been placed differently, the 737 had optional aft airstairs (side). Assuming that the Hicks placard only came from a 727 is an error which forces a false conclusion.

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You can clearly see that the Hicks placard is not a decal. The cracks in it, how the article describes it, as well as the missing corner points to a plastic card. Similar to ones you can buy at any hardware or general merchandise store. You wave them around, they make noise, especially if they are larger signs. 

 

signs.jpg

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It isn't thick plastic, Hicks folded it and put it in his pocket.. the FBI refers to it as a decal,,, it was a thin plastic decal. The holes are strange though they couldn't have been to secure it.

at 18.14 in video

 

 

Edited by FLYJACK

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Well, okay. Still doesn't explain how the placard, or notice, or whatever you wish to name it...has a reference to pulling the handle. I'm pretty sure that the stews didn't pull the handle themselves from the inside after a landing, but that the door was opened from the outside by people on the ground. 

Since the placard mentions a wire being broken if you pull the handle, then you have to find out whether this wire would be broken by opening the door from the ground from outside, and not just the inside by stews or in an emergency.

If not, the placard came from the interior of the jet, and could have only departed if someone opened the stairs from the inside. It wasn't done with hydraulics, we know that, otherwise the stairs would have extended and (I guess) locked into place...which they did not. 

Video of a test of the airstairs. You can hear the hydraulics going. To an extent. There is background noise going. 

 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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51 minutes ago, RobertMBlevins said:

Well, okay. Still doesn't explain how the placard, or notice, or whatever you wish to name it...has a reference to pulling the handle. I'm pretty sure that the stews didn't pull the handle themselves from the inside after a landing, but that the door was opened from the outside by people on the ground. 

Since the placard mentions a wire being broken if you pull the handle, then you have to find out whether this wire would be broken by opening the door from the ground from outside, and not just the inside by stews or in an emergency.

If not, the placard came from the interior of the jet, and could have only departed if someone opened the stairs from the inside. 

 

Some early 727's had a separate optional emergency release system, that system was accessed via a removable access door with the two holes in the pic I posted, that marker does not match the Hicks placard, wrong shape, wrong text.. There was also an emergency release system on the outside of the 727.. The problem is these optional emergency release systems were removed from North American Commercial jets so it is extremely difficult to find an image of one.. to confirm.

Later 727's and retrofitted early ones had the emergency release integrated into the main control handle. The newer emergency release does not match the Hick's placard type or text instructions..

I posted an image of the main control panel and it does not match either.

There is nothing to indicate that Hick's placard "type" came from inside a 727. The FBI claimed it matched one located on the outside the aircraft and it could have come from any 727, they wouldn't say that if it came from inside. The ground crew also stated that they fall off in normal operating conditions.. why say that if from inside.

While I can't confirm it came from outside (still looking), all the evidence indicates it was not located inside on the 727 unless we find some new evidence.

Further, the Hick's placard may have come from a 737 with AFT AIRSTAIRS.. we don't know.

727safetyarda1 copy.jpg

placardcc copy.jpeg

Edited by FLYJACK

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Also, nothing was noted missing after inspecting the plane in Reno.

But, the FBI files state that the plane was taken out two days after the hijacking to test the pressure bump and "decal(s)" went missing.. this appears to be a different event from the drop test in January. However, it could be another FBI reporting error...

 

image044.jpg.d0e94a2d39cf9b83b57df3401e078d49.jpg

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I still say the Hicks placard may be valid...if only for a single reason. The placard mentions the wire that will be broken (and then must be replaced) if you follow the instructions on it. It's tricky because yes...this sort of warning COULD be mounted on the outside of the aircraft as well. 

This is almost as bad as the Tina Bar money issue. :| *Reaches for the Excedrin. Again.*

**********************

On a non-Cooper note, most of the questions I get at the Q and A website Quora are intelligent ones. Some are NOT so smart. One guy asked me if we are getting close to the technology used for time travel in the Back To The Future trilogy. He was serious. 

Really? :D I answered him with the stuff below, and then uploaded a quick video that I made especially for him:

Quote

 

'About as close to reality as Billy Bob Thornton building his own spaceship and going into Earth orbit in The Astronaut Farmer.

A DeLorean cannot be converted to a time machine, and there is no such thing as a ‘flux capacitor’. On the other hand, some farmer getting hold of an old Atlas rocket, fixing it up himself, and somehow obtaining more than 50,000 pounds of rocket fuel is at least within the realm of semi-reality.

Sort of.

 

 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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2 hours ago, RobertMBlevins said:

I still say the Hicks placard may be valid...if only for a single reason. The placard mentions the wire that will be broken (and then must be replaced) if you follow the instructions on it. It's tricky because yes...this sort of warning COULD be mounted on the outside of the aircraft as well. 

This is almost as bad as the Tina Bar money issue. :| *Reaches for the Excedrin. Again.*

**********************

On a non-Cooper note, most of the questions I get at the Q and A website Quora are intelligent ones. Some are NOT so smart. One guy asked me if we are getting close to the technology used for time travel in the Back To The Future trilogy. He was serious. 

Really? :D I answered him with the stuff below, and then uploaded a quick video that I made especially for him:

 

Robert-who operated the stairs just before the plane took off and then who did it when it landed?  The ground crew or the stewardesses? 

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I'm not an expert, it'll be interesting to see what the ones at Quora come back with, but from what I do know about aircraft, the breakable wire on the handle simply indicates that it's an emergency use handle, not the normal operations handle.

Edited by dudeman17

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Quote

'Robert-who operated the stairs just before the plane took off and then who did it when it landed?  The ground crew or the stewardesses?'

You know, I never rode on a 727 but I will guess it was the ground crew.
(EDIT: Sounds like I was wrong about that, although both may have operated the stairs at different times. See additional info in the Continental Airlines post below.)

You would think the stews would be busy moving people off the plane. It is a good question and I will try find out the answer.  

One thing. If a stew like this one from Pan Am, with her new uniform (created by the famous Hollywood designer Edith Head) opened the door...I would go in and out with her a few times. Just for practice.  B| That is a subtle joke, of course. Probably took you a second to get it. 

FlyMe.jpg

Found this: Three page illustrated PDF on retracting airstairs. Issued after someone got hurt. Have barely glanced at it yet, but here it is. Frankly, it isn't much. I will do more research. The jet above is a 727-21-C, according to its original registration. 

https://mobilit.belgium.be/sites/default/files/downloads/accidents/safety_feedback_-_retraction_of_airstrair.pdf

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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An excerpt from THIS NTSB report about a 727 that missed the runway and crashed into the jungle on the island of Yap, which is somewhat near Guam. From 1980, I think. Shows that the stews DID have a 'regular' method of dropping the stairs, plus an emergency system should the hydraulics fail. (All survived) This was a Continental Airlines flight, and the report notes that stews were trained in using the normal release method, but not the emergency method:

Quote

'The fact that the aft airstair exit was not opened was nearly catastrophic because one flight attendant and some passengers were almost trapped in that area. It could not be determined if the pneumatic emergency blow-down system would have forced the exit open; however, the fact that the flight attendant did not know how to actuate the emergency system is a serious concern. Her repeated attempts to open the exit using the normal system delayed her evacuation to a point where she was nearly trapped by the smoke and fire...' 

The NTSB report also notes that Continental actually used a mock-up of the airstair release system to train stews how to use it. This indicates to me that yes...it was probably a stewardess who released the stairs (normal mode) when deplaning. After this accident, Continental stews were given additional training on how to use the emergency release system as well. 

Edited by RobertMBlevins

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Warner needs to do his own homework... and stop cheating off others.

 

Hick's "Marker" part number from FBI,,  BAC27DPA152 (707, 727, 737), new number 1397VRW

placardpart.jpeg.aabd82474fd3435c1777981837226989.jpeg

 

Dec 6 1978 FBI had the location of the "Marker" on a blueprint.

placardblueprint.jpeg.fcfe8c0a9c8df074f6a32f91587d1cb1.jpeg

 

January 19, 1979, 

"The FBI, however, said the placard, posted on the outside of the jetliner, could have dropped off almost any 727 that flew over southwest Washington during the past eight years."

The FBI had the blueprint location of the placard.. They would not make that statement if they knew the "placard" came from inside the stairway. 

2124860443_placardquestionedcopy.jpeg.d45148d897e99c03f9d147af1bff1a35.jpeg.104126a29a35506914c2a11a1ac442fd.jpeg

 

The 727 rear airstair panel decals without the earlier separate emergency system. This emergency system was built into the main lever.

101_0753.jpg

 

Hick's marker does not match the earlier interior 727 emergency system decals or the later ones.

Edited by FLYJACK

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