Ptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3770 posts, RR: 20 Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2247 times:
My list of key airliners:
Junkers F13 (first practical airliner)
Fokker F7 (most important airliner of the late 1920s)
DC-4 (first practical long-range airliner)
Constellation (well, not really, but she's too beautiful not to include her)
Caravelle (first short-range jet)
737 (pioneered nothing, but the a/c built in greatest number as an airliner)
Concorde (though a dead end street)
A300 (first big twinjet)
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
Gemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5217 posts, RR: 6 Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2219 times:
I think this list, so far, is very US centric. My nominations:
Wright Flyer (of course)
Vickers Vimmy (1st aircraft to: cross Atlantic, cross Europe & Asia to Australia & Europe to South Africa)
Fokker F7 (most important airliner of the late 1920s, also first to cross Pacific)
Shorts S23 Empire flying boats (1st real long distance airliner)
DC-6/Constellation (draw) (first practical long-range airliner)
Vicker Viscount (1st Turboprop airliner)
Caravelle (first short-range jet)
747 (37 years on and still Queen of the Sky!)
Concorde (though a dead end street)
A300 (first widebody twinjet)
YYZatcboy From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 809 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2136 times:
I would add in the A320 and the A380
A320, Redefined FBW technology.
A380, Like it or not it is aviation history. The largest and most ambitions jet in production, and with new fuel costs it looks like it will be a very unique plane that will fulfill a variety of missions. Even if it flops, can we say it did worse the Concorde? ( I love the Concorde BTW and fully support it being on the list)
Irobertson From Canada, joined Apr 2006, 601 posts, RR: 4 Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2077 times:
I'm surprised no one here has given any credit to the Convair 880 or 990. Sure, it wasn't up to the competition with Douglas's fantastic DC-8 or Boeing's impressive 707, but it still broke plenty of speed records that haven't been broken yet today, it has great looks, and if it had been built in as massive numbers as the DC8s and 707s, there might be a few out there still flying. I could envision a modern-engined 990. It would probably be good for a carrier flying people in an A320 sized aircraft to medium-long range destinations. In and of itself, it was a great airplane wasn't it?
NAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9084 posts, RR: 37 Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2068 times:
Have to suggest the 1925 De Havilland Cirrus Moth (later the Tiger Moth) for inclusion. It was the first aircraft to be designed specifically as a civilian 'aeroplane for everyman', and as a trainer.
Prior to that, flying training was only provided by the military, using obsolete miltary types. The Moth offered reliability, safety, and economy, and led to the setting up of large numbers of civilian flying schools.
[Edited 2006-04-13 06:10:07]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
SX36 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 73 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2055 times:
Also the Spruce Goose. Although a commecial failure, just the sheer fact this baby was engineered using pencils, paper, and protracters, built of wood, flew, and survived all this time deffinately earns it a place in history.
Commavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 10193 posts, RR: 62 Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2052 times:
Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 3): It's hard to forget 737, the jetliner that brought jet travel to the masses, with over 5,000 flying
Agree completely. I nominate the mighty 737 as arguably the most important civil jet aircraft ever produced. The reason?
It simply changed the entire equation. The 737's excellent economics, even in the beginning, combined with its ability to operate from a paved metropolitan runway or just easily land on a beaten-up rural strip, truly revolutionized air travel and, as FlyDreamliner said, truly "brought jet travel to the masses." Sure, there was the small jet DC9s, BAC 1-11s, etc. before the 737 came along. But no aircraft in the 737's size category caught on in the market place in the same way that this aircraft did. It truly had such a profound impact on providing economical, frequent and reliable service linking cities throughout the world.
In additional to all this, the 737 -- as FlyDreamliner said -- are far and away the single most successful commercial aviation enterprise in history. It has endured the test of time. It truly is incredible that this little stubby, somewhat pudgy plane that Boeing started selling in 1969 is still alive and kicking, nearly 40 years later, and has -- considering its age -- undergone very minor modifications in all that time. The 737 an airline would buy now is, compared with time-elapsed modifications to other aircraft models, fairly structurally similar to a 737 they'd fly in 1970. And airlines still love them.
I'd have to concede that you're probably right, the 737 is probably one of the best success stories in aviation. I'd argue though that the 747 is a close second for many of the very same reasons outlined in your post. Boeing sure has made a mark, no one can deny it. I still love the DC8 (which should be commended for its longevity and versatility), the Convair 990, and the A346, but the 737 and 747 are truly great designs.
Perhaps on the longevity side of things, one should also include, next to the DC8 and the 707, the VC-10, the Comet, and the L1011. The RAF comes to mind for their incredible preservation and adaptation of these former airliners which, IMHO, left the airline industry rather hastily in favor of newer airplanes. The fact that you can still see many of those five classics alive and well in the USAF and RAF (or even privately) is a testament to the designers and builders of their generation. Time will only tell what planes from our generation now will stand up just as well.
Frugalqxnwa From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 565 posts, RR: 1 Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2004 times:
The 727 should also be added, it was the first practical jetliner capable of using smaller airfields (runway < 5000 feet) that were inaccessible to the other jets of the day. This was a huge step in bringing air travel to the masses, 737 just did it with much better economics on thinner routes (but I would keep 737 on the list). Also, I'm surprised noone has mentioned the An-225 Mirya, largest aircraft in the world and first aircraft with MTOW over 1 million pounds.
FlyDreamliner From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2759 posts, RR: 15 Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1982 times:
Quoting Frugalqxnwa (Reply 15): Also, I'm surprised noone has mentioned the An-225 Mirya, largest aircraft in the world and first aircraft with MTOW over 1 million pounds.
It was a special purpose one-off though, more along the lines of the the Hughes Hercules. None the less a momentous aviation achievement.
Has anyone mentioned the Lockheed Constellation, the first widely used, long range passenger aircraft with a pressured cabin and a high cruising altitude (made possible by turbocharged radial pistons engines, a technical marvel of their day).
Also, the lockheed P-80. While the Gloucester and Messerschmidt jet fighters too to the air first, the P-80 really laid down the model of what jet fighters would be like for a decade, and was the developmental basis of American jet technology that led to such things as 707.
I'd also like to toss out the Bell X-1, first aircraft to go supersonic.
"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
RWD-5bis, did the same with Stanislaw Skarzynski, little later, but unlike NYP being almost ordinary two-person RWD-5 with passenger place filled with fuel tank, flying from Senegal to South America, with pilot dressed in suit and hat
Rigo From Australia, joined Sep 2005, 90 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1907 times:
Let's not forget the Tu-144, it has also earned its place in aviation history (albeit arguably not the way Tupolev has hoped for). And personally I have a thought for the Mercure, the least successful airliner ever...