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The Boeing 700’s are very capable of handling duties in the commercial and military world.
The Boeing 700’s are capable of handling many tasks in the commercial and military world. With the introduction of the 707 in the late fifties to the most recent 777 in the early nineties the, 700’s have dominated the commercial world for five decades. They are a line of aircraft that are capable of handling many roles from basic civilian transport to various military needs. They are the people movers of the 20th century. Each with a large carrying capacity combined with the range of a jet aircraft they have moved more people longer distances than what was once thought possible. Boeing has truly produced some of the greatest aircraft in history. The various duties that the 700’s perform are quite extraordinary.
It all started in the fifties. There was a growing demand for a commercial airliner that could move a greater number of people farther and faster. The age of the jet engine still had not reached to civilian transportation. There was still a fear of the jet because of lack of reliability, but with the advancement of technology the jet engine now had become more even reliable than the piston engine. The need for a jet engine powered plane was growing. Airlines still were looking for a plane that could cross the Atlantic Ocean without a refueling stop. The Lockheed Super Connies, a piston powered plane, were able to cross the Atlantic Ocean with out stopping on the eastbound leg, but they had to stop in Gander, Newfoundland to refuel on the westbound leg. The airlines desired a plane that could easily travel the Atlantic with out a stop. The piston engine just wasn’t going to do it, the jet engine was the answer to the question. Boeing realized this and moved to look for a design for a jet powered plane. At first Boeing was looking to modify existing aircraft with jet engines to perform the tasks. They quickly realized that they needed a whole new aircraft. The Boeing 707 was born.
The first Boeing 707 was delivered to Pan America airlines in May of 1958 (Bauer, 218). Sales started out slow in fact the 707 almost died many times in it’s first couple years of existence. It wasn’t until Boeing modified the 707 by increasing the overall length, the wing span, and adding more powerful engines did the 707 confirm its place in as a commercial transporter. With the new modifications the 707 became a very capable aircraft, crossing the Atlantic Ocean became a routine affair. With the introduction of the 707 transatlantic travel doubled in two years (Bauer, 195). Airlines’ profitability soared due to the new capabilities of the 707 presented. The 707 began a new era and improved the way people are flown.
The 707 being the first major jet airliner saw many applications and variations in it’s lifetime. There were thirteen variations of the 707, they varied in capacity, range, and speed (Wright,49). Each variation was designed to meet a specific needs of an individual airline. Some 707’s could carry a larger capacity of passengers over a shorter distance, were as another variant could carry fewer passengers over a longer distance. With all of these variations the 707 left little room for the Douglas DC-8 which was once though to be a major treat to Boeing. The 707 could meet any need of an airline; this is one reason that made the 707 such a versatile aircraft and why it dominated the market.
The 707 also saw plenty of action in uniform. It’s most useful application came in the way of the KC-135 Stratotanker. It was modified to perform in-flight refueling task for the United States Air Force. The 707 saw a healthy lifespan as the KC-135, of the 735 units build in the early sixties 550 still remain in service today (www.Boeing.com). The 707 also had the very privileged role of presidential transport. As Air Force One it started its career in 1962 and served seven Presidents. It was only to be replace by one of it’s bigger brothers the Boeing 747. Another of one of it’s more interesting applications was that of the “Vomet Come” a modified KC-135 to make large in-flight arcs to provide a weightless environment to train NASA astronauts. Altogether the 707 and its derivatives saw many varied and interesting applications.
With the 707 fulfilling the needs for a long range jetliner there was a demand by the airline industry for a short to medium range jet. A jet that was designed for short-range use would provide savings over a long-range jet and faster travel times that were presently completed by prop driven planes. Boeing went to the drawing boards and came out with the 727. When the 727 finally came to production it came out with better performance that what was originally planned. “As throughout Boeing’s history, its strong, patient, intense engineering efforts had once more been the key” (Bauer, 226). The 727 filled the duty of short to medium range better than any other aircraft. It showed in the sales and the 727 became at the time the most selling Boeing aircraft, but that title would not remain very long.
The Boeing 737 became the most selling commercial jetliner in the world. To date it has sold 3,158 units and there are still more on order (www.Boeing.com). Its primary role is short to medium range passenger transport. The 737 were to be a gradual replacement to the 727 and did so quite well, it became known as the “Little Giant.” The 737 also proved to be a very rugged aircraft, with a kit add-on to the landing gears it made it possible for the 737 to land on unimproved runways like a grass field or a gravel runway. The 737 also were far superior in its ability to take off from high altitude, short runways. These abilities made the 737 very versatile it could link many areas that were unable maintain a modern airport that would have a paved runway (Bauer, 250). One key feature to the 737, which made it the success it was, was the decision to make the plane six seat
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