In this video, the tail cone is popped off as part of the evacuation.

It stays attached on a lanyard which seems to be more of a hazard than letting it fall free. Additionally, the slide doesn't deploy.

It's clear that the rear and front port exits are the safe ones, but did something go wrong here?

(P.S. I'm not talking about the actions of the pax, just about the tail slide).

  • $\begingroup$ This shows a succesful tailslide deployment of a related type: youtu.be/TAndXzhgurI?t=75 $\endgroup$
    – ROIMaison
    Feb 27, 2016 at 14:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I know you aren't talking about the actions of the pax, but its amazing how many people decided to grab their carry-on when evacuating... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Feb 27, 2016 at 16:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Additionally, the slide doesn't deploy." Doesn't that observation comprehensively answer the question, "Was this a successful deployment of an MD-88 tail cone evacuation slide?" $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2016 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby No. For example, is there a mechanism whereby the port slides deploy but if there fire is towards the rear, the tail slide does not but the cone is popped anyway - perhaps to vent the cabin? BTW, that was not my title. The Aviation.SE fetish to edit every title into a question itself continues and I can't be bothered to undo it. My question was simply "did something go wrong" since I don't know if the slide is supposed to deploy or not. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Feb 27, 2016 at 16:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ROIMaison They totally cheated in that demonstration. I hope in a real evacuation there's a tug sitting there with a pallet to pull the tail cone out of the way of the slide $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Feb 28, 2016 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


Considering that the slide was not deployed, it is definitely unsuccessful. The MD-80 series (also the DC-9 and boeing 717) had tail cone assemblies which could be jettisioned in case of an emergency.

When operated, the tailcone is expected to swing to the left of the fuselage due to to its own weight because of the way it was rigged.

  • The jettison cone is attached to the slide through a lanyard, which passes through two eyelets in the tail cone and is attached to a spring in the middle of the cone.

  • As the jettison mechanism is activated, the tail cone is released and because of the way it is rigged, turns 90$^\circ$ and moves to the left of the aircraft to keep it from interfering with the slide deployment.

  • As it falls, it pulls on the slide container via the slide lanyard, moving it so that it can inflate and delpoy, while the tail cone remains to one side of the aircraft.

You can see it in the images below:

MD 88 J1

MD 88 J2

MD 88 J3

All images taken from Accident Report IN-045/2004

The following image shows the undeployed slide (in an MD-81) from the inside along with the lanyard.

MD 88 J4

Image from aircrewbuzz.blogspot.in

The release can be made by three ways- there is an emergency handle on the aft bulkhead door, one at the end of the catwalk and another one in the exterior of the handle.

In this case, the tail cone has pulled the lanyard, but the slide has failed to delpoy. While I'm not sure why the cone is hanging, it appears that the lanyard has snagged somwhere, probably in the cam rotator.

Note: This would not be the first time the slide has failed to deploy/deployed unsuccesfully or has deployed inadvertently. Also, see this discussion on the MD-88 tailcone jettison and slide deployment mechanism here.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .