HARS Aviation Museum
HARS Aviation Museum

Hastings Deering Air Stairs

Photo Courtesy of Ken Jackson
Photo Courtesy of Ken Jackson

Air stairs

History of Type

In ~1958 Qantas Technical Services Division saw the need for a modern motorised air stair to complement its newly ordered Boeing 707 jet airliner which was due to enter service in 1959.

A team of Qantas engineers lead by George Roberts designed the all hydraulic stairs around readily available Ford car components.

Qantas Empire Airways as it was known at that time ordered 14 Air Stairs from Hastings Deering Services Ltd of Parramatta Rd Lidcombe in 1959.  Hastings Deering Services Ltd was an off-shoot of the Ford and Caterpillar Tractor Dealership of the same name.

The Air Stairs were designed to be disassembled and to easily fit into a DC3 for transport to other locations around Australia.

However, in spite of being able to be broken down for easy transport, there is one famous instance a set of air stairs being driven all the way to Alice Springs from Sydney.

History of HARS Air Stairs

HARS has three of these Air Stairs which came in a 4 cylinder Ford Anglia engine version and a larger 6 cylinder Ford Falcon engine version.  The stairs could extend from a Minimum of 8 ft up to a maximum height of 12 ft 10 ins.

The pictured Air Stairs are beautifully restored and feature a four cylinder 105E Anglia motor.  They were meticulously restored by HARS members Peter and Allan Costigan, together with the sign-writing skills of Allan’s wife Nicky Costigan.