Boeing 747F Boarding Ladders

Photo from Seaboard archive

Freighter crews board their aircraft using ladders from the ground to the entrance, as passengers did prior to the jet age. The cockpit of the Boeing 747F is on the upper deck and higher off the ground than any previous aircraft. It necessitated special ladders. The ladder seen above at JFK provided access to both the main deck and the upper deck. There is also a rather flimsy internal ladder from the main deck to the upper deck. It can be seen inside the open nose. It was folded up into the ceiling during loading so crews had to use the full outside ladder during that time. A firm grip on the railing of both ladders was prudent, particularly carrying a heavy flight kit.

Different Seaboard stations built their own boarding ladders for the 747. Capt. Fred Snyder is seen below on one that only provided access to the upper deck.

Photo courtesy of Pam Snyder