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Most Influential/memorable Aviation Occurance

Wed Oct 27, 1999 9:02 am

After the actual invention of "self-propelled flying machines", what do you think was the most memorable event in aviation? What was most influential in shaping the face of aviation? It could be a person, event, aircraft, aircraft component (engine etc...).
A list is fine, or you can take the ultimate test of coming up with one single stand-out event.

P.S. I know some of you don't like polls (JWM) so please don't respond if you don't like the concept...
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RE: Most Influential/memorable Aviation Occurance

Wed Oct 27, 1999 10:08 am

Very thoughtful topic, Charles!

I think the five most important events in the airline history were:

1. The concept of the hub-and-spoke system, launched by Delta Airlines.
2. The creation of IATA and its rules.
3. The invention of the Yield Management, by American Airlines.
4. The Boeing 747
5. The computer reservation system, by SABRE and American Airlines.

I my opinion, the Pan Am 747 accident in Scotland was quite memorable, especially because of the international politics involved.

My favorite aviation leaders are Robert Crandall and Juan Trippe.

The fastest way to become a millionaire in the airline business is to start as a billionaire.
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RE: Most Influential/memorable Aviation Occurance

Wed Oct 27, 1999 11:11 am

I would have to say the two most important developments in commercial aviation would be airplanes, the Douglas DC-3 and the DeHavilland Comet. Consider the change from wooden aircraft or early metal aircraft to the DC-3. The DC-3 made aviation mainstream, and really symbolized the transfer of aviation from daredevil sport to a means of reliable, regularly scheduled transport between distant cities. Consider the change from a DC-4 to a Comet. The Comet ushered in the era of expansion in the people who would fly, and shaped what we see as a modern airliner today. The Comet itself didn't make flying for the masses, but it was the forerunner of all the jets that made it possible to fly cheaply and quickly.

Possibly other airplanes I would choose would be the Trident, which I believe made the first totally automatic landing, and any of the variety of airplanes that were used by bush flying outfits to open up new frontiers in remote areas. Jumbo Jets, such as the 747, deserve some recognition but they really were a development that was triggered by the jet age, not so much a totally new revolution, in my view.

While the people and events in aviation were important, I chose the airplanes as representative of the changes. They represented the people and events changing aviation.
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RE: Most Influential/memorable Aviation Occurance

Thu Oct 28, 1999 4:15 am

I agree with the five airline changes cited. I agree with the DC3 also. Here are some other important aviation events/persons worth noting

1. The development of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine - without it WWII might have had a different result.

2 The development of Air Traffic control, GCA ,ILS etc
(thanks to all in that profession then and now)

3. Juan Trippe for the original Pan American Airways.

4. Alcock & Brown, did it first, without the fuss of Lindberg years later - pity about the failure to spot the soft ground on landing though.

5. R J Mitchell for the Supermarine Spitfire.
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RE: Most Influential/memorable Aviation Occurance

Thu Oct 28, 1999 6:13 am

I think this is the sort of question even people who don't like polls should enjoy; anyway, I like polls, so here goes.
Personally, I think aviation came of age when it became available to a much wider number of people. Until about 1969, aircraft grew in very small steps, from the DC3 to DC4 to Connie, to DC7, Britannia and up to the older jets - to the 707 and DC8. Then, in the 1960s, one company decided to make THE biggest step. An aircraft twice as big as anything else before, several new concepts, still with us today - twin aisles, big fan engines, and economics to make it affordable to the masses. Yes, it was - as if you couldn't guess, the 747. No one aircraft has made a bigger impact on civil aviation. There were others (I'm about to start a new topic on that - have a look!), but the 747's first flight, or entry into service would have to be my moment(s).
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RE: Most Influential/memorable Aviation Occurance

Thu Oct 28, 1999 6:39 am

December 17, 1903 was the most influencial date in aviation history. It had such a big ripple effect on the whole world.

Aircraft wise, I 'd say the 707, it brougt in a new era of transport. Across the Atlantic non-stop. And of coures the 747.
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Yeager/sound Barrier

Fri Oct 29, 1999 3:23 am

There aren't many limits in aviation. From the first decaedes of flight, designers were experimenting with forward swept wings, tailless designs, flying wings, etc. They all flew. But there were many designers out there who thought that no airplane would ever fly faster through the speed of sound. Yeager and the Bell X1 showed in 1947 that breaking the barrier was easy. That opened up a whole new world for designers. The next two decades were devoted to making military planes as fast as possible. That trend advanced aerodynamics and engineering methods considerably, with the effects trickling down to commercial sector (compare the speed and aerodynamics of the Comet to the CV-880 or 707).
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RE: Most Influential/memorable Aviation Occurance

Fri Oct 29, 1999 5:38 am

The advent of the turbofan engine

The Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine -- the most popular model ever made, over 300,000.
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