Category From props to jets

Lockheed Constellation 649 through 749

By May 1945, Lockheed had begun updating the basic Constellation design, with a weight increase as the number-one attribute of this “new” airplane. Over the ensuing years Lockheed basically pioneered the use of step-increases in overall weight capabilities, thus allowing expanded roles for the airframe in a larger market. Through the redesign effort the “new type” Constellation, as Eastern Airlines referred to it (649/749), was actually a 50-percent-change baseline airplane. Now that the Wright 3350 “BD-1 ” version of the engine was available at 300 bhp more than the orig­inal installed in the 049s, the airplane could be enhanced noticeably. Faster airspeed and greater pay – load performance, plus better inside soundproofing (to match the DC-6), better heating, ventilation, and cooling set the new-series Constellations apart from the originals.

One of the more interesting aspects to the added utility of the 649/749 series was the use of an external
cargo-carrying pod, which was slung under the center – line of the fuselage at mid-wing. This was known as the “Speedpak” and could carry 8,000 pounds of additional cargo. Lockheed sold 75 Speedpaks, mainly to Eastern, KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), and TWA, for use on 049, 649, and 749 airframes. (As an aside, Eastern paid $850,000 for each 649 it purchased —quite a hefty amount in 1948!)

The first of the 749s went to Air France in April 1947. The 749 had additional 565-gallon fuel tanks installed in the outboard wings, which increased its range by 1,000 miles while allowing it to carry the same payload as the 649. This was the overwater version of the Constellation that became the gold standard of the short bodies, which allowed it to find wide acceptance with far-flung overseas airlines such as BOAC, Qantas, and South African. The 749/749A was also the model of the Constellation that remained in service the longest, on routes both around the world and in the United States.

Air France also provided its passengers flying between Paris and New York the unique Golden Parisian service on 749 sleeper aircraft. The usual 24-passenger sleeper seating eventually gave way to a
16-passenger layout, which provided the kind of legroom one could only find on a ship, or in one’s own living room! Such was intercontinental air travel during the early postwar years.

Lockheed Constellation 649 through 749

Подпись:Lockheed Constellation 649 through 749A cocktail lounge located at the front of the 749A Constellation passenger cabin provided a casual atmosphere for passengers awaiting dinner, or makeup of their sleeping berths, on TWA’s nonstop Ambassador Service from New York to London.

Purser Russ Robins and a hostess prepare to offer champagne to their guests. (TWA/Jon Proctor Collection)

Decisions, Decisions

In Britain, turboprops already ruled the airways, from the small Miles Marathon to the gigantic Saunders-Roe Princess flying boat. Short or long range, these new hybrid engines flew on them all. In America, many major aircraft manufacturers were contemplating and developing their own turbine-propeller-powered airframes. There was the giant XC-132 cargo carrier from Douglas, and even Boeing’s first B-52 strategic bomber design concept was a turboprop! All existing airplanes were being designed around future turboprop powerplants (as noted in the sections on Lockheed’s Constellation series). But these same companies were also concurrently thinking pure jet, which brings us to the DC-7D.

As early as 1952, Douglas had secretly established a jet-engine airliner study group. For public consump­tion, however, and that of the airline chiefs, Douglas later offered rather half-heartedly what everyone con­sidered a stopgap airplane powered by RB.109 turbo­prop engines from Rolls-Royce. The aircraft was based on the DC-7C airframe, but had a swept vertical stabi­lizer and a 40-inch fuselage stretch. C. R. Smith at American was interested, but at the urging of Art Raymond, Vice President of Engineering at Douglas, Donald Douglas made the decision to skip the turbo­prop and go directly to pure jet power. The result of that pivotal decision was the DC-8.

Facing all the other airliner manufacturers at that time was the very same choice Don Douglas had to

Decisions, Decisions

Remember the Republic RC-2 Rainbow shown on page 11 in Chapter One? This design concept was resurrected in the mid-1950s as a veritable "last gasp" from the com­pany to attempt to harness the commercial airliner mar­ket. Looking like a cross between various aircraft designs from Vickers, Fokker, and Potez, the Turboprop Rainbow never left the drawing boards at Farmingdale. (Cradle of Aviation Museum Archives via Mike Machat Collection)

make. Should they play the game by putting off the inevitable transition to pure jets and produce a turbo­prop airliner? If they did, they had to realize that the market was going to be medium to small at best. There was, therefore, every reason to believe that supplying such an airplane would be a money-losing proposition. And yet, if the manufacturers jumped right to jets with all their inherent risks, would the airlines be willing to jump with them?

In the meantime, minds were made up at American and Eastern Air Lines to ask for bids on a clean-sheet – of-paper turboprop design, with Lockheed’s Electra emerging as the winner of that competition. This suited Lockheed who had lost a “promised” contract for the Air Force’s new four-engine jet tanker, which steered them directly to the consolation prize of turboprop power. By mid-1955, American had signed on for 35 Electras while Eastern ordered 40.

While Boeing had flown its Dash 80 prototype and Douglas was planning its own new DC-8 Jetliner, air­lines that wanted to hedge their jet bets bought Electras as well to “complement” their pending pure-jet fleet. Marketing logic dictated that the intermediate technol­ogy of the turbine-propeller would be just fine for fly­ing from New York to Chicago, or even all the way from New York to Los Angeles, just in case the jets didn’t quite work out. As an aside, Western Airlines with its new route authority to Hawaii a few years later was quite willing to use Electras rather than buy or lease the 707. For Western, the Electra was the wonder

Decisions, Decisions

On the West Coast another stillborn concept was envi­sioned but then abandoned when Douglas decided to forge ahead with a pure-jet airliner called the DC-8. By not building the interim Douglas DC-7D Turboprop shown in this concept rendering, Douglas left the task of building America’s only turboprop-powered airliner to Lockheed with its Electra design. (Craig Kodera Collection)

airplane of the era; such was its economy of operation, flexibility, and quasi-jet-like speed. Western did not order pure jets until 1960.

Once all was said and done in the saga of the tur­boprop in America, things turned out pretty much as expected. The British supplied the first round of air­planes: Viscounts to Capital and Northeast, where Britannias were also nearly a reality for both carriers. The Electra was built for the second round of equip­ment upgrades, delivering a larger airplane with greater range. With only 170 aircraft produced, however, the Electra program ultimately lost money, as predicted. At the smaller-size end of the spectrum, Fairchild license – built the twin-engine F-27 turboprop from Fokker for local service airlines, with a total of 129 coming from its Hagerstown, Maryland, plant.

By 1959, the surprising quality, reliability, and ready acceptance by passengers of the pure jets, com­bined with a sudden reality that more airline seats were needed in the market, accelerated the arrival of shorter – range jetliners such as the Caravelle, 720, 727, and finally, the DC-9 in the mid-1960s. This negated the need for further large turboprop designs, and early-on stifled sales of the Electra (and in Britain, the Vanguard). The F-27 soon became a victim of its own success in stimu­lating new traffic at the small airlines, for it rapidly became too small, and larger equipment was ordered rather than more of the basic F-27.

Truly niche aircraft, the turboprops of the 1950s provided a valuable transition, or “bridge,” in the pro­gression from props to jets. But the window of oppor­tunity was quite small, and for one manufacturer, Lockheed, the decision to spurn pure jets would have competitive ramifications for years to come, completely changing the dynamics of the market and its players in the new world order of commercial jet airliners.

Lockheed 188 Electra

The enigmatic Electra was offered to the airlines in two basic versions: 188A and 188C. The first and most popular model had a gross weight of 113,000 pounds and was the model of choice for the majority of domestic U. S. carriers. Engines were the Allison 501D-13 or -13A. The C-model airplane had a characteristically Lockheed increased gross weight of 116,000 pounds, a strategy remembered so well from the Constellation series of aircraft. Engine choice for this airframe was the 50ID-15 with its 300-shp (shaft horsepower) increase in power.

Lockheed 188 ElectraThis extra power was used to lift an additional 1,100 gallons of fuel, which boosted the range of the Electra beyond its originally planned 2,500 miles, all the way to 3,460. The В designation was an unofficial tag used internally by Lockheed to denote the Electra with nav­igator stations and extra lavatories destined for use by the international airlines.

Passenger capacity for the Electra was normally 66 to 80, with a high-density version available to seat 98. Maximum speed clocked-in at 448 mph at 12,000 feet while normal cruise was listed as 373 mph. Two propeller choices were available also, with the Aeroproducts being the most common and recognizable on the Electra, or the Hamilton Standard design, which was easily identified by its bowed-out shape and rounded tips (these were the propellers chosen for the P-З series of aircraft for the U. S. Navy). KLM chose the Ham – Standards, as did Capital Airlines, although the Capital aircraft were never actually delivered to the airline, because it had been absorbed into United Air Lines.

A combined total of 170 aircraft were built, the last of which was delivered to Garuda of Indonesia on January 15, 1961. Electras remained in airline service worldwide through the 1980s, and served as freighters for yet another decade, proving the longevity, prof­itability, and ultimate success of America’s only four – engine turboprop airliner.

de Havilland Comet 4

When de Havilland’s original Comet 1 fell victim to the edict that “being first is sometimes not being best”
after a series of design-related accidents occurring shortly after it entered service in 1952, the commercial Jet Age found itself temporarily on hold. Canada’s Avro Jetliner was also unable to deliver the goods at that time (see Chapter 1 sidebar, “Avro Jetliner: The Other First Jet,” page 17), but a subsequent redesign of the DH-106 airframe resulted in a new, improved, and much safer air­craft with even better performance than its progenitor.

First and foremost was the new airplane’s modified fuselage construction and ovaloid-shaped windows to forever avoid the ravages of pressurization-induced metal fatigue that plagued the original design. Then, with 10,000-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce Avon 502 engines replacing the original airplane’s 5,000-pound- thrust Ghost turbojets, a totally new Comet was born. Along with a higher gross weight of 162,000 pounds and fuselage lengthened to 112 feet, the Comet 3 proto­type more closely resembled the larger 78-passenger version of the original design initially ordered by Pan American. Further refinements such as the addition of two “slipper” auxiliary fuel tanks mounted on the wing outboard leading edges created the production Comet 4 series, which became the first truly intercontinental ver­sion of the proud British aircraft.

With a launch order for 19 Comet 4s placed in March 1955, BOAC marched steadily toward regaining the jet airliner crown, knowing full well that new com­petition from the recently announced Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 Jetliners in the United States was loom­ing. As we now know, it was a BOAC Comet 4 that indeed beat the United States to the punch by inaugu­rating commercial jetliner service across the North Atlantic on October 4, 1958, two weeks before the first Pan Am 707 carried passengers on that route. With further uprated Rolls-Royce 524 engines, the Comet 4 possessed a range of 3,225 miles and found a host of new interna­tional airline customers in the process.

Further variants of the now-successful design included a lighter-weight, 101- passenger short-haul version called the Comet 4B, operated initially on inter – European routes by BEA. The “ultimate” Comet was the 4C model, with a further – stretched 118-foot fuselage length and 2,590-mile range. Comet 4s were flown by such diverse airlines as Mexicana, Aerolineas Argentinas, East African

Rising from the ashes of the ill-fated Comet 1, the Comet 4 beat Boeing’s 707 into transatlantic service by two weeks, flying for BOAC between London and New York. (BAE Systems)

Подпись: Pan American's glory years during the Jet Age all began with this airplane, the Boeing 707-121. Appropriately named Clipper America (as were several of Pan Am's first 707s during their initial proving flights and promotional tours), this first jet signaled the beginning of a new age in transportation. As advanced and futuristic as these airplanes were in 1958, it was rather amazing that only two years later they were made obsolete by larger, longer- range, turbofan-powered successors. (Ren Wicks/Mike Machat Collection)

Airways, Malaysian, Kuwait, and Olympic, but the title of world’s final Comet operator went to charter carrier Dan-Air which had the distinction of being the only airline to fly all three models of the Comet 4 series.

Although the Comet’s last commercial passenger flight took place on November 9, 1980, the Nimrod, a larger maritime patrol version of the Comet 4 devel­oped for the Royal Air Force, was still flying until the turn of the century. Having first entered military service in 1969, these formidable aircraft were continually upgraded and modified, with the final versions being built by British Aerospace. Larger “next-generation” Nimrods, equipped with uprated turbofan engines and the latest in military electronic wizardry, first flew in the 1990s and are still in operation today. While these newer patrol jets are decidedly more advanced airplanes than the original Comet 4, it is a proud testimony to the ruggedness and adaptability of the Comet design to see descendants of an aircraft type first flown in 1948 still in operation more than six decades later!

Boeing 707-100/200/300/400

Boeing’s original 707 variant, the -120, was ordered by American carriers for its ability to operate nonstop on any segment within the continental United States. In addition, Pan American Airways’ managers were willing to use the domestic version on transatlantic routes, with fuel stops, in order to gain a competitive advantage. The type could be shifted to shorter routes, such as to Latin America, upon delivery of longer-range 707-320 Intercontinentals. Pan Am became the first operator of the 707 in revenue service, on October 28, 1958, between New York and Paris via Gander, Newfoundland.

With a maximum takeoff weight of 247,000 pounds, four Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 engines, each producing

12,500 pounds of thrust, powered the -120. Augmented by distilled water injected into the powerplants, total thrust was boosted to 52,000 pounds. The type was mar­keted with a 121-seat capacity in an all-first-class, five- abreast layout, or up to 179 seats in a high-density configuration. Its maximum range, with a full payload, was 3,075 miles. Utilizing a 13,500-gallon fuel capacity, the airplane could cross the country with relative ease.

When it was decided to offer both first-class and coach service on the jets, a planned five-abreast premium layout was abandoned in favor of four across in the for­ward, quieter premium cabin, with six-abreast in the aft coach section. But the mix contained a much higher percentage of first-class seats than we see today; in fact, American Airlines split the capacity evenly, with 56 seats in each cabin.

American attained the distinction of operating the first pure-jet flights “across the United States” on January 25, 1959, with its 707 Jet Flagships, nonstop between New York and Los Angeles. But it was par­tially upstaged when Pan Am leased one of its new 707s to National Airlines for a daily round-trip between New York and Miami, starting on December 10, 1958. Although flown in Pan Am colors, the 707 provided National with bragging rights as first to fly domestic jets in the United States, and was particularly pleasing to the airline’s colorful president, Ted Baker, who enjoyed upstaging Eastern’s legendary Eddie Rickenbacker at every opportunity.

TWA began New York to San Francisco service on March 20, 1959, with just one 707-120 while principal

Lockheed 188 ElectraUnlike Pan American, TWA held off over­seas jet service until its intercontinental 707-300s arrived, eliminating the need for fuel stops on flights to Europe. An example is seen at New York-ldlewild’s International Arrivals Building (IAB), wearing the twin- globe logo scheme adopted two years after entering service. (Jon Proctor)

stockholder Howard Hughes struggled to finance the balance of a 15-airplane order. Continental Airlines introduced its Golden Jet 707-120 flights on June 8, 1959, between Los Angeles and Chicago. Western Air Lines, with two 707-120s originally ordered by Cubana and leased from Boeing, began service June 1, 1960, on West Coast routes between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The pair was acquired as an interim measure while awaiting delivery of Boeing 720s.

Braniff Airways ordered basic 707-120 airframes with larger, JT4A-3 engines that brought about the 707-
220 variant and provided improved takeoff perfor­mance at the airline’s high-altitude destinations, and gave it a speed advantage. Braniff advertisements boasted the “fastest flights” when beginning jet service on December 19, 1959, in the Dallas-to-New York market against archrival American Airlines.

The first non-U. S. carrier to order and operate Boeing jets was Australia’s Qantas, which opted for the basic 707-120 with a shortened fuselage to extend its range for longer segments across the Pacific. The unique “short-body” 707-138 was not added to the 707-120



hroughout the Industrial Revolution in America, bold, farsighted men carved out a country that flourished beyond their wildest expectations. Midway into the period of American exceptionalism, the fledgling airline industry required, and acquired, men such as those who preceded them: huge dream­ers, bold and decisive leaders, the inspirational cre­ators of an entirely new system of transportation. These were the men who didn’t just lead but “became” their own airline companies, and by doing so, gave the world wings. Below are three of many; perhaps the three most influential airline presidents who shepherded into the modern era the airlines they so proudly ran.

W. A. "Pat" Patterson, United

Plucked from Wells Fargo Bank, after being the loan officer in charge of the Pacific Air Transport (PAT) account, William A. “Pat” Patterson was hired by Boeing Air Transport after it bought PAT in 1929. He was placed in the company as general manager under its president at that time, Philip Johnson. Soon thereafter, the presidency became his. Patterson’s tenure at what became United Airlines lasted some 32 years, and at the time of his retirement, United Air Lines was the largest airline in the free world.

Pat Patterson ran United as a very hands-on man­ager, usually spending one third of his year traveling the routes of the airline so as to keep an eye on its functioning and to meet the employees. He was a leg­end when it came to remembering names. His admin­istration was one of shared commitment, and he stressed five rules to utilize in everyday airline work life. They were (in order of importance) safety, pas­senger comfort, dependability, honesty, and sincerity.

Perhaps the biggest early decision Patterson made was in response to the San Francisco Traffic Manager’s suggestion that the airline utilize nurses onboard the airplanes in order to care for the needs of the passengers. Eight young women were hired and became the world’s first professional stewardesses.

Under his watchful eye, other firsts at United included: the first airborne kitchen for inflight meals; the first nighttime scheduled services for coast-to – coast and long-distance routes; and two-way radio communications. This last point also bears on the fact that United had a radio laboratory that also investi­gated other aspects of advancing flight and aerial nav-


United Chairman William A. Patterson was a close friend of Donald Douglas, and was known to order airplanes from "Doug" just by picking up the phone. United flew every major Douglas type, and was a launch customer for several Douglas airliners includ­ing the DC-8. (Jon Proctor Collection)

igation. Additionally, United had a lead role in creat­ing special airfare promotions like taking your wife along for free on your business trip, and men only “executive” service (see Chapter 8 sidebar, “United’s Magnificent Caravelle,” page 122). United also helped refine and then launch the Douglas DC-8 Jetliner.

C. R. Smith, American

Another financial whiz kid, Cyrus Rowlett Smith, or Mr. C. R., or just “C. R.,” was an imposing figure of a man, standing just over six-foot-one-inch tall. A compassionate yet sometimes gruff manager, Smith got things done at American, even though he originally had no interest in running an airline. Once


American Airlines’ guiding light throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s was Cyrus R. Smith, who understood the profound impact air travel would have on National commerce as well as the traveling public. (Craig Kodera Collection)

selected for the job of running Texas Air Transport, he threw himself into the occupation, going so far as to get his pilot’s license. Once in charge of the entire amalgamated airline after 1934, C. R. made aviation history time and again through American Airlines. He was president from 1934 until 1968.

C. R. was what we call today a workaholic man­ager, always flying the line and tweaking American’s service and its business. He usually flew anonymously, and on standby at that, with a similar penchant as Patterson for remembering employees names and family details. It wasn’t surprising to see a short letter from C. R. noting a good, or bad, occasion. It was a small aviation world back then.

One indicator of his bravura was the launching of the national ad campaign boldly asking if the average person was afraid to fly. This was the unspoken real­ity of commercial aviation in the 1920s and 1930s, and C. R. brought it into the open and pointed out that American’s number-one priority was safe transporta­tion in the air. By the end of the 1930s, American was carrying one third of all U. S. airline passengers.

Pioneering “firsts” in the airline industry under C. R. included: first national campaign to sell seats; first credit purchase program; first passenger lounges (Admirals’ Clubs); first airline service into LaGuardia Airport (thus assuring American’s overwhelming presence), first transcontinental jet service; first stew­ardess college; and the first airline to carry one million passengers during a year (1937). American also helped pioneer the VOR (Visual Omni Range) system of navigation, today’s staple. It caused the launch of many significant airliners including the Convair 240 and 990; the Lockheed Electra (see Chapter 4); and the Douglas DC-6, DC-7, and DC-10.

As impressive as these achievements may have been, perhaps the most significant action ever taken by C. R. Smith was his insistence, during a marathon two-hour phone call, that Don Douglas build a larger DC-2 derivative called the Douglas Sleeper Transport, which became better known as the DC-3. From that point on, the world of transport aviation was never the same, and by 1936, airlines were finally showing a profit carrying only passengers, and not having to depend on U. S. Mail contracts.

Douglas DC-7

After what must have seemed like badgering by Americans indomitable C. R. Smith, Douglas finally relented after reviewing operating cost benefits, and designed and built the DC-7. Adding another 40 inches to the DC-6B fuselage, the DC-7 really was not a com­pletely new airplane. Much of the aircrafts structure and internal systems closely matched the DC-6B, which had tremendous advantages in terms of crew familiarity and training. However, with the addition of the R-3350 Turbo Compound engines, the airplane had 20-percent more power available than the R-2800- equipped DC-6B, and yet fuel consumption remained the same. More passengers per flight now meant that all these new features gave the airlines a nice, theoretical improvement in their bottom line.

The DC-7s entered revenue service on November 12, 1953. This latest Douglas airliner was also a fast airplane, eclipsing the Connie’s cruise speed by some 30-plus mph. Its faster speed was critical in making the FAA flight-time requirement of less than eight sched­uled hours for the flight crew, and after only a few short weeks of being the transcon champ, TWA’s dominance fell to American Airlines.

From a “what’s new” standpoint, the DC-7 series introduced the use of titanium in commercial airliners.

Douglas DC-7Cockpit of the DC-7 shows a well-laid-out instrument panel and control pedestal with the throttles, radio consoles, and trim wheel readily at hand. Flight Engineer’s seat is facing forward in this photo giv­ing him access to the con­trol pedestal and the overhead panel controlling the aircraft’s many onboard systems. Radio rack at left provided easy access for avionics maintenance per­sonnel who may have had to change an entire radio unit or repair one of the many vacuum tubes con­tained therein. (Mike Machat Collection)

The landing gear doors were milled from this exotic and lightweight metal, thus reducing their weight by some 44 percent. Also novel on the aircraft was the engine­cooling ducting, which operated alternately during icing conditions. One other innovative feature of this fast airplane was the ability to place only its main land­ing gear in a down-and-locked position during rapid descents, thereby acting as speed brakes. We can only wonder how many false reports of ccfailed nose gear extension” observant pilots of other aircraft called in to the tower!

As we look back on the 1953 to 1954 period it seems as if Douglas had finally wrestled the fleeting lead from Lockheed in providing the next level of air service to the airlines and the public. However, as we all know, competition in the airline and airframe business can oftentimes be quite cutthroat, and can change dramati­cally at a moment’s notice.


By Jon Proctor


s with the Lockheed Electra, early 707 opera­tions utilized boarding steps rather than jet – ways—those covered bridges that are today’s norm. Using this conventional form of embarking on one’s first jet flight, unless the weather was bad, provided an exciting preview. You could not help but be awestruck by the sheer size of this new behemoth.

The use of separate aircraft doors for first-class and coach passengers was a short-lived phenomenon, done away with when space constraints dictated nose-in parking and single-point boarding. Status – minded customers soon learned that you could board through the first-class entryway by waiting until the last minute because the aft coach door was closed first, in order to facilitate engine start-up.

As a teenager, my only thought was to board my first jet flight as soon as possible, on a TWA 707, from Chicago to Los Angeles in September 1959. Thanks to the generosity of my brother, I had the extra $7 to pur­chase a “jet surcharge” coupon necessary to upgrade from a Super-G Constellation flight, and was eager to find a good seat. On early jet flights, coach seat assign­ments were not available on “through” trips, and TWA Flight 29 had originated in Pittsburgh.

Perhaps it was my imagination, but the air condi­tioning seemed better on this jet than on an older DC-7, as the cool air hit my face as soon as I entered the airplane. Walking forward toward seat 18A, I immedi­ately noticed the PSUs, or passenger service units, that hung from the open, overhead racks. Each unit con­tained a “Fasten Seat Belt” and “No Smoking” sign,


Passengers board an American Airlines Boeing 707 Flagship New Jersey at Los Angeles International in the transitional days before fully enclosed jet bridges attached directly to new satellite terminal buildings to keep passengers protected from the elements. (Craig Kodera Collection)

three air vents, individual reading lights, and a small speaker to pipe boarding music through the cabin. There was plenty of legroom on this airplane, even in coach. Each row enjoyed two of the smaller windows, and the seats were deep and comfortable.

Instead of plug-in tray tables, each seatback included a drop-down tray. The traditional propliner window curtains were replaced by window shades that could be pulled up or down. Side lighting came from a panel that ran the length of the cabin on either side, just above the windows. In the ceiling above the aisle were circular fixtures that seemed to serve no purpose on this daylight flight. Later, I learned that these “domes” contained lighting that could be adjusted from “bright” to “night,” and were designed to replicate portholes in the aircraft ceiling. The night setting fea­tured pinholes of light against a dark background, giv­ing the impression of a planetarium filled with stars.

The air conditioning produced a constant hum as boarding was completed. Together with the airplane’s soundproofing it was sufficient to mask any engine noise, and I suddenly became aware that the airplane was moving, backward. It was my first time experi­encing pushback from a gate with a tug attached to the nose gear. The first hint of engine noise came as we taxied away from the gate to the runway.

The 707 seemed to taxi as a stable platform, rather than the subtle bouncing I remembered from
piston-powered airliners; it moved rock-solid as we taxied along. Although there was no prop-era engine run-up, the Boeing was eased onto the runway, aligned for takeoff, and then stopped. Now the engine noise level rose to a rumble, gaining power. Finally, the brakes were released and we slowly lum­bered down the runway, gradually increasing speed. After what seemed like an eternity, the front of the cabin rose and our jet broke ground with a bit of a thump as the main landing gear rotated before retracting into the fuselage. The engine noise sub­sided a bit, no longer bouncing off the tarmac, as the ground fell away.

“Yankee Pot Roast,” served for lunch, was the first truly hot meal I could remember on an air­plane, with an accompanying beverage in a real glass. There were no carts in the aisles to block access to the three aft lavatories that featured flush toilets, another first.

The aft cabin noise level could not truly be described as quiet but in marked contrast to a pro­pliner it was all but vibration free. Less than four hours later, TWA Flight 29 landed at Los Angeles International Airport, more than two hours sooner than I would have arrived on the Super-G Constellation on which I had originally booked space. But the thrill of an early jet came at a price. I never did get to fly on a Super-G.

WELCOME ABOARD THE 707This work by famed artist Ren Wicks depicts the dome lighting of TWA’s 707s, designed to look like portholes in the aircraft ceiling. At night, pinholes of light against a dark background gave the impression of a night sky filled with a galaxy of stars. (TWA/Jon Proctor Collection)


The unique 707-200 series, built at the request of Braniff International, combined the Model 100 fuselage with more-powerful JT4A-3 engines used by the -300 model. Only five examples were built, including one that was lost in a pre-delivery demonstration and acceptance flight accident. (Boeing/Jon Proctor Collection)


The first 707-138 for Qantas sits on the ramp at Boeing’s Renton plant shortly after rollout. Boeing engineers removed 10 feet from the 707-120 fuselage design, aft of the wing, to bring about the "short-body" 707-138; Qantas was the only customer. In the background new 707 jets for TWA, American, and Continental receive finish­ing touches before their first flights. (Qantas)

certificate, nor did it attract additional customers. Qantas placed the type into service on July 29, 1959, on the multi-stop route between Sydney and San Francisco.

Boeing’s intercontinental 707-320 was first deliv­ered to launch customer Pan Am in July 1959, and was specifically engineered for transoceanic flights with increased passenger and cargo capacity. Its fuselage was stretched 8 feet 5 inches, bringing the maximum passen­ger load to 189. A 21,200-gallon boost in fuel capacity came from a center fuselage tank and additional tankage in the wings, increasing the -320’s range to 4,360 miles.

The -320 wing also featured an enlarge planform with a 12-foot increase in span, a new leading-edge airfoil at the wing root, and increased area of the inboard trailing – edge flaps as well. The same JT4A-3 engine assigned to the 707-200 powered the intercontinental version, and a total of 69 were built for Air France, Pan Am, Sabena, and TWA.

An otherwise carbon copy of the -320, the 707-420, was equipped with Rolls-Royce Conway 50B bypass engines. A total of 37 were sold to eight overseas carri­ers, the first being, quite appropriately, BOAC.


One of United’s first Douglas DC-8 jet Mainliners, N8002U was upgraded from Model-11 to Model-21 standards. It still wears delivery colors in this March 1968 photo at New York-JFK, differentiated only by the emergency and door exit outlines legislated into existence by the FAA in 1965. (Harry Sievers)



Dramatic ant’s-eye view of a factory-fresh Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-8-21 taxiing out for takeoff at Long Beach, California, on a pre-delivery acceptance test flight. This Raymond Loewy color scheme was the third of nine differ­ent variations on the same design theme to be applied to Eastern aircraft within a two-year period, but was per­haps the epitome of the original design. Compare the tail’s Falcon motif with that of the Eastern DC-8 on page 113.

(Mike Machat/Craig Kodera Collection)


WELCOME ABOARD THE 707The DC-8’s cockpit was much roomier and offered much greater outward visibility than that of its piston-powered pre­decessors. Flight Engineer’s station is visible to the right with an observer’s jump seat at extreme left. Note move – able sunshades mounted on a circular track to ensure place­ment anywhere they were needed, a unique Douglas feature. Emergency quick – donning oxygen masks seen hanging next to each seat were a new addition for the flight crew. (Mike Machat Collection)

Douglas DC-8-10/20/30/40

Trailing the 707’s entry into service by nearly a year, the first Douglas DC-8 was delivered to launch cus­tomer United Air Lines on June 3, 1959. Powered by the same Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 engines mounted on Boeing’s 707-120, the DC-8-10 featured a heavier, 265,000-pound maximum takeoff weight and a substan­tially greater range of up to 3,900 miles. At just over 146 feet in length, it was 2 feet longer than the 707-120, with a maximum density listed at 176 passengers.

Delta Air Lines accepted its first DC-8-10 on July
21 and wasted no time showing it off to the public; a day later it set a 1-hour 21-minute speed record between Miami and Atlanta. A second DC-8 was accepted on September 14.

Both carriers began DC-8 revenue flights on September 18, 1959, with Delta beating United into actual service entry by virtue of their time zones. Its Flight 823 departed for Atlanta from New York-Idlewild at 9:20 AM Eastern time, while United’s Flight 800 left San Francisco at 8:30 AM for New York, but in the Pacific time zone.


Unlike Boeing’s overwater version of the 707, Douglas’ DC-8 Intercontinental was the identical size as its domestic brethren, offering only a higher gross weight allowing for more fuel carriage, and uprated Pratt & Whitney JT4A turbojets. The Panagra example seen here was used by that carrier for service between the United States and var­ious South American destinations. (Mike Machat Collection)




grew up in an airline family. My father was a pio­neering airmail pilot, taking advantage of his World War I flight training to secure a job with the then-new Colonial Western Airways, which eventually melded with what we know today as American Airlines. As a young lad riding on passes with my family, I remember the look on ticket agents’ faces as they noted Dad’s pay­roll number: 02.

I absolutely owe my love of the industry to him, along with my desire to write; Dad had a great way with words and wrote stories for several publications. I recently discovered the first two chapters of a book he was planning to author but never finished. What I wouldn’t give for a chance to sit down with him today and fill in the missing holes.

To a greater degree, my brother Bill, a retired TWA pilot, and his wife Ann, get most of the credit for encouraging me to pursue my own airline career. Bill loaned me aviation books, paid the extra ajet surcharge” so I could take my first ride in a Boeing 707, and has provided so much support and answers to my endless questions. Many thanks go to him, my best friend.

Although Robert Serling refers to me as his mentor and role model, it really has been the other way around. Bob is a true inspiration to all aviation writers, and always finds time to take my calls and provide sage advice. He readily shares a wealth of knowledge and can be counted on for straightforward responses when act­ing as a sounding board for my book and story ideas. But above all, he is a treasured friend.

In addition to Bob, I was fortunate enough to meet three of my biggest aviation heroes who are no longer with us: Jimmy Doolittle, C. R. Smith, and Paul Tibbets. Close friendships formed with people in the airline industry are too many to list here, but each has been an inspiration, adding to a wonderful career in aviation.

Finally, special thanks are offered to the co-authors I am so lucky to have as great personal friends.

— Jon Proctor


s with any labor of love, there are many people who helped along the way, and without whom, a project such as this simply would not have been possi­ble. Starting with the “big picture,” my thanks to Donald Wills Douglas for all his great airliners, and to my father for cherished memories of a flight aboard an Eastern DC-7B Golden Falcon, which planted the seed. Coming West from New York to California to work as a young artist for the proud company Mr. Douglas founded was nothing less than the fulfillment of a life­long dream.

I also would not have had the career I enjoy today without the inspiration of my uncle, George Hildebrand. His 32-year career as a chief engineer and program manager with Republic Aviation Corporation served as the ultimate source for my insatiable desire to become part of America’s burgeoning aerospace indus­try. As a proud designer of military jet fighters, he held airliners in a different regard, but gained new and heart­felt respect for commercial aviation when my budding career at Douglas began to emulate his own.

The man to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude for connecting me with the literary world is R. E.G. Davies, former Curator of Air Transport for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and one­time member of the marketing analysis team at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach. Ron and I have worked together on 15 airline history books, and he has written many of the definitive reference works on the history of the world’s airline industry. Ironically, many of Davies’ books served as invaluable and ironclad ref­erence sources for this project.

My admiration, respect, and thanks to John Wegg, world’s foremost authority on the magnificent Sud Caravelle, for years of collaboration on many inspira­tional projects together, and for setting the gold stan­dard in modern airline writing. The late Terry Waddington showed me how pure passion for a prod­uct and deep love for the airline industry translated into impressive sales of McDonnell Douglas jetliners. Special thanks to Tony Landis, Dennis Jenkins, and Joshua Stoff. Finally, to my two cohorts, Jon Proctor and Craig Kodera, go heartfelt appreciation for a col­laborative effort on this project that has exceeded expectations. I am most grateful to have aviation friends of this caliber.

— Mike Machat


ver the years I have had the uncommon privilege of being associated with the world of aviation and, in particular, that of commercial aviation. My uncle Harry Botterud was maintenance supervisor for Los Angeles Airways in the 1950s; my father spent a lifelong career in the aerospace industry, the last half of which was at Douglas Aircraft in the Commercial Division at Long Beach. I managed to work at Douglas myself after college and prior to joining the Air Force Reserve, thanks to Dad.

Our neighborhood was filled with airline pilots, one of whom was Gary Ferguson of Continental, who bought me my first instructional ride in a Cessna 150 at Meadowlark Airport in Huntington Beach. This led to my licensure to fly airplanes at age 17. My mentor and guide into the life of aviation, Bob Brandt of L. A. Airways (1960s version), introduced me to his old flying buddy, Scott Bergey, who was late of Air California.

Thanks to these two men, I managed to find myself fly­ing at Air Cal, later to be merged with American Airlines, thus fulfilling my long-hoped-for childhood dream. Nine thousand hours of flying time later, here we are.

Meadowlark has since been turned into homes. Douglas is now Boeing, and both Dad and Gary Ferguson have flown west. I no longer inhabit the cock­pit of an airplane, but to have witnessed what I have in my lifetime… the grandeur of proud people crafting entire industries for the betterment of all on this planet, and the momentous positive change among its peoples, I am fortunate. To be able to now write about what I have known all my life makes me humble. So my thanks extend to you, our special readers.

And most significantly, thanks of a very special kind to my dearest of friends, the co-authors of this book.

— Craig Kodera

Juan Trippe, Pan American

A Yale graduate, Juan Terry Trippe was always thinking of aviation. His first venture was Long Island Airways from 1923 to 1925, and then The Aviation Corporation of America. In what would become his hallmark operating style, Trippe became a manager of mergers, appending one airline after another to the core airline (which in 1931 officially became Pan American Airways). That airline started in the Caribbean, then expanded into Mexico, then South America, Latin America, the Atlantic, and finally China and the Pacific. Often thought of as “deter­mined,” Trippe also had a reputation for sometimes being a bit unethical. However, the end results always favored his airline, Pan American.

Juan Trippe was a very patient man. If he wanted something he’d be willing to wait to get it but all the while wearing down his intended target until finally, he or they gave in. Trippe also learned early-on how to work within the system, a necessity since overseas route authority was granted by the government. Trippe’s influence was a constantly growing entity, and his vision for his airline was that of the sole U. S. Flag Carrier, or “The Chosen Instrument” to project America’s greatness. But no matter how he achieved his goals, Pan American was indeed the undisputed premier international airline in the world.

Подпись: Pan American World Airways Chairman Juan T. Trippe was a fierce competitor, but also a shrewd businessman when it came to international air transportation. Father of the Flying Clippers, Trippe guided Pan Am as the premier international flag carrier of the United States. (Mike Machat Collection)

Pan American Airways flew to most of its desti­nations as the first airline ever to do so. When one is the pioneer, one quickly learns that everything must be built from scratch. The airline was renowned for its engineering prowess, and its navigational equipment was the leader in its field. Becoming and maintaining a rating as a Pan American airline pilot or navigator (pilots had to be proficient at both jobs) was gov­erned by the strictest of standards and proficiency levels. Pan American was able to strike out into com­pletely uncharted territory and build by hand a transoceanic airline, its 1935 Transpacific island ser­vice being the prime example. (Remember always the beautiful China Clippers and their siblings.)

Pan American was an airline of firsts too numer­ous to mention here; suffice it to say that when one thinks of the romance and intrigue of girdling the planet in an airplane in those early days, and taking two weeks to do so, only one airline name comes to mind: Pan American World Airways. Among his countless accomplishments, Juan Trippe would also have to be considered “the father of the modern jet airliner,” placing the historic launch order for Boeing’s new 707 in 1955, and then again in 1966 for the world’s first Jumbo Jet, the Boeing 747. Juan Trippe retired as CEO in 1968 and left the board in 1975. He guided and shaped his beloved and historic company for nearly half a century, and what a half century it was!

Подпись: Convair factory artist's rendering of the interior for Convair's new Model 240 twin-engine transport showing passenger seats, galley, lavatory, and baggage stowage. It does seem odd, however, that the airplane is shown in flight, complete with exhaust-thrust augmentation from the engines, yet with no people aboard. (Craig Kodera Collection)

Convair 440

Minor modifications to Convair s Model 340 design brought about the Model 440 “Metropolitan,” offering a slightly higher gross weight, reduced interior noise lev­els, and optional weather radar. Its exterior measure­ments were identical to the 340, and Continental Airlines introduced the type on March 8, 1956. Convair sold 100 modification kits to Model 340 operators in order to bring the earlier models up to near-440 standards.

With 199 civil and military 440 sales, Convair-Liner production ended in early 1958 after 1,076 units were manufactured, including the prototype Model 110. Among the last built were several airplanes that did not find buyers until 1960. Adapting turboprop engines to the type’s airframe created the 500 and 600 series, stretching the aircraft’s useful life by many years. Some are still flying today, more than 50 years later, a hearty tribute to a sturdy, well-built airframe.

Convair 440

The typical DC-7 main cabin provided passengers with all the comforts of home: curtained windows, wood paneling, plush seats, fresh fruit, and even pillows and blankets for taking an inflight nap. Note the Club Lounge at the extreme rear of the cabin, and the natty attire of the traveling public in the heyday of the propliner era. (Craig Kodera Collection)

Convair 440The last and most suc­cessful Convair-Liner variant, its Model 440 Metropolitan reached civil and military sales of 199 airplanes. In addition 100 Model 340s were upgraded to 440 standards. A brand-new Metro­politan appears adja­cent to the Convair plant at San Diego, apparently ready for a flight to Atlanta. (Convair/Jon Proctor Collection)


By Craig Kodera


hat an exciting time to be flying commercially: 1960. The Boeing 707 has made its debut and is now plying the airways, having beaten the Douglas DC-8 into service by a year. But the -8 was something special, and as the Douglas sales folks were saying, well worth the wait.

Until then, Douglas had been the undisputed leader in commercial airline transport aircraft, while Boeing built bombers. Douglas may not have been first, but the company learned from others’ mistakes and refined the jetliner concept. What emerged was a beau­tiful engineering accomplishment, which was designed to make both passengers and airline bosses happy.

When approaching the DC-8, a passenger cannot help but notice the height of the airplane, especially since it sat up on its main landing gear with a nose – down attitude. One could readily see this because the world was still utilizing external boarding stairs on a ramp outside a terminal. This only served to increase the juxtaposition of flight experiences between the props and the jets.

One other attention grabber was the “translating rings/ejectors” or reverser rings for each engine, designed to slide back on rails in the lower pylon while the airplane was in a landing configuration. Interestingly, this feature accomplished two other actions: noise suppression and inflight drag induce­ment much like using spoilers to help increase descent rate without increasing airspeed.

Upon entering the cabin, a Douglas design fea­ture immediately presents itself in the form of a for­ward lounge, placed in a dedicated space ahead of the main cabin. Much like the DC-6B and DC-7, the for­ward lounge had its own distinctive pair of windows. Decor was late-1950s chic, with vinyl upholstery and “space-age” colors and shapes in the furnishings. How delightful it will be to visit this area during our flight.

Arriving in our first-class cabin, we notice the unique Douglas-designed Palomar seats. These seats were state of the art at the time, and had in their headrests all of the passenger service unit amenities, rather than mounting them overhead. It was just one more way the DC-8 engineers tried to pamper Jet Age passengers.

But by far the most wonderful aspect of flying in a DC-8 was its windows. Those wonderful, expansive


Passengers board a United Douglas DC-8-21 in this carefully staged publicity photo taken at Long Beach Airport in 1958. In the foreground is a baggage tug with carts of individual baggage containers that held luggage and small cargo and were hoisted up into the under-floor baggage bays forward and aft of the wing. This novel Douglas feature became the stan­dard method of baggage loading many years later as wide-body transports made their debut. Note the carpet and stewardess positioned atop the boarding stairs ready to welcome everyone onboard. (Craig Kodera Collection)


Jet flight in the Stratosphere at 600 mph was as futur­istic as it got in 1960, and this view from the window of a Pan Am DC-8 shows you why. (Allan Van Wickler)

windows were the largest on any jetliner. Thankfully this design feature was held over from DC-6 and -7 days, and we are sure to have a wonderful sightseeing trip in the DC-8 as a result.

Подпись:Once underway, the airplane has the feeling of being rock-solid. The movement is hardly noticeable. Then the sound of the JT3 engines comes alive as they begin spooling-up for takeoff, the soft turbine whine settling into a low rumble. We’re off and on our way on Douglas-firm wings. You never have to worry about the struc­tural integrity of a Douglas airliner.

Having enjoyed all the passenger comfort items we had found on a DC-8, we realize our time in the air is almost at an end. As the flight draws to a close we notice that during our descent the DC-8 is a very “slick” aircraft design, one that can easily overrun an airport without careful planning by the cockpit crew. And here come those reversers now! On the ground with a solid touchdown, we can thank Douglas for another fine airplane. The Jet Age is certainly here, and the ride is wonderful.

Only Delta and United purchased DC-8-10s, with a total of 28 being built. Within four years, both carri­ers had begun upgrading them to turbofan-powered


In much the same way as Boeing hatched the 707- 200 series, Douglas created its DC-8-20 by upgrading the -10 airframe with the more powerful Pratt & Whitney JT4A turbojets planned for the long-range DC-8-30. This resulted in an airplane tailored for oper­ations into hot and high-altitude airports, with an increased maximum takeoff weight of 276,000 pounds. Aeronaves de Mexico, Eastern, National, and United bought a total of 34 airframes. In addition, United upgraded 15 DC-8-10s to the Series 20 standard.

The first factory-delivered example was accepted by Eastern Air Lines on January 3, 1960, and entered service on January 20, advertised as the DC-8B, a des­ignation once marketed by the manufacturer and what seemed like a natural follow-on to Eastern’s DC-7B Golden Falcon service. Following a complaint to the CAB by Delta, however, Eastern was ordered to drop the “B” designation for the DC-8.

National Airlines initiated DC-8-20 service on February 11 between New York and Miami, technically becoming the first airline to simultaneously operate
both the 707 and DC-8 by virtue of its 707 leasing agreement with Pan Am.

For long-haul operations the basic DC-8 airframe was equipped with uprated JT4A-9, 16,800-pound – thrust engines, and fuel capacity was increased from

17,500 gallons to 23,400 gallons, creating the DC-8-30 series. Pan Am’s Chairman Juan Trippe, who insisted on having the more robust powerplant to gain the inter­national range his airline’s routes required, ordered it first. The JT4A was a civil version of Pratt & Whitney’s new J75 turbojet being used in several of the Air Force’s new supersonic Century Series fighters at the time.

Unlike the long-range 707-320, the DC-8’s fuselage was not stretched, nor was its wing area enlarged, but maximum takeoff weight was increased to between

300,0 and 315,000 pounds depending on the variant (-31/-32/-33). These changes increased its range to 4,700 miles, resulting in transatlantic capability, even to south­ern European destinations. Fifty-seven DC-8-30s were sold to 10 airlines including U. S. carriers Northwest and Pan American, which was first to put the type into ser­vice on March 27, 1960, between New York and Bermuda, and then later to Europe and South America.

The DC-8-40 variants (-41/-42/-43) were identi­cal to the respective DC-8-30 series, but powered by
17,500-pound thrust Rolls-Royce Conway R. Co.12 bypass engines. Thirty-two were delivered to Alitalia, Canadian Pacific, and Trans-Canada Airlines. TCA accepted the first Series -40 on February 4, 1960, and began service on April 1 between Toronto and London via Montreal.