richierich
Posts: 3289
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:59 am

I am talking about historically influential, not necessary personally influential here.

Everyone has a Top 10 list, or even the abbrebviated Top 5 list. So to be different, I thought I'd start a Top 6! Here's mine:

1) Douglas DC-3 The grand-daddy of all modern airliners. The fact that some parts of the world still fly them (although many are in rough shape) is proof enough for me that this was one of the all time best airliners!

2) Concorde Enough said. I, for one, will miss them when they disappear forever in just a few weeks  Sad

3) Boeing 707 I don't know that anyone would have believed the 707 was going to be such a success. It carried Boeing into the forefront of civilian aircraft makers and afforded the middle class a chance to fly. Prior to this aircraft, flying was so expensive it was prohibitive for many people.

4) de Havilland Comet The first jetliner. Yes, we all know about the tragic metal fatigue problems. Keep in mind this all happened years BEFORE the 707 and DC-8 had even made their first commercial flights!; there were many crucial and painful lessons learned from the Comet crashes. Later versions of the Comet proved themselves as reliable, economical and safe machines.

5) Boeing 737 The world's most popular airliner, although modern versions are very different from the original -100s and -200s! The workhorse of many airlines, both now and 30 years ago, the 737 soldiers on and will be with us in mainline operation well past 2020!

6) Boeing 747 The big guy! Unfortunately, I think time is catching up with the 747 and my predication is that production will come to a halt within 5-8 years. Still, the 747 is the largest airliner and has more than proved itself as an over-engineered (ie, safe) and economical airplane. If the 707 brought prices down for the middle class to fly, the 747 brought it down so that everyone can fly! With some 747s having more than 450 seats, everyone literally can fly! I still think they should not fly and I always marvel at them when I am lucky enough to be on a 747!

Well, that's my list of most influential airliners.
Let me know your lists and reasons!
None shall pass!!!!
 
behramjee
Posts: 4336
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2003 4:56 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:04 am

You can add the B 767, DC 10 and B 777 to that list as well as the B 747F and DC 10F
 
futureualpilot
Posts: 2402
Joined: Thu May 25, 2000 10:52 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:07 am

I cant pick a top 5, but if I had to, I'd agree with Richierich, those airliners definitley amde a big impact on air travel today.
Life is better when you surf.
 
gr8slvrflt
Posts: 1449
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 10:53 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:22 am

My choices:

1 - Boeing 247. The DC-3 was an enlarged DC-2, itself a stretched DC-1 which was an answer to the 247! The Boeing was the first all-metal, low-wing, monoplane, twin-engine airliner that set the pattern for decades.

2 - Boeing 307. The Stratoliner was the first pressurized airliner.

3 - de Havilland Comet - First jet. Nuff said.

4 - Boeing 707 - Set the pace for all jets to follow with swept wings and podded engines.

5 - Beoing 747 - First widebody and first with high-bypass engines.

6 - Boeing 767 - Led the charge for overwater twins.

The Concorde is a masterpiece but ultimately influenced nothing.

I work for Southwest, but the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Southwest.
 
User avatar
ATA L1011
Posts: 1275
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2001 6:47 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:32 am

1)DC-3 1st widely used commercial transport
2)Comet 1st commercial jet transport
3)707 1st widely used jet transport with intercontinental capability
4)747 1st widebody transport with high bypass engines
5)Concorde only commercial supersonic airliner to be used in service 144 wasnt.
6)767 1st ailriner to use a mostly Electronic/computerized flt deck

[Edited 2003-08-21 01:36:38]
Treat others as you expect to be treated!
 
User avatar
solnabo
Posts: 5015
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:53 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:34 am

1 - A300 Worlds first widebody-twinjet for medium range
2 - DC 3/Skytrain for WW 2
3 - DeHavilland Comet, 1st pax jetliner (1949)
4 - B747, airliner for the masses
5 - Concorde, most beatiful bird ever flown
Airbus SAS - Love them both
 
Guest

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:39 am

1.) DC-3 Made commercial travel, period
2.) 707 Was the first jet aircraft that could fly international and longer distances faster than prop planes
3.) Concorde. Supersonic travel is now a reality
4.) 747 High capacity long range transport for passengers and cargo
5.) A320 First fly by wire aircraft forever changing the idea of stick and rudder

Honorable mentions:

DC-6/7, 737-200, DC-9-10, 757-200, 767-200, and the Comet
 
sllevin
Posts: 3312
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 1:57 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 9:06 am

Okay, I'll try and be short:


1) Ford TriMotor. Brought reliable air travel to reality

2) DC-3. Can't argue with what became a standard.

3) Comet. No explanation needed there!

4) 707. Again, jet's for the masses

5) 747. Bringing the world together, and inexpensively.

6) 767/757. Pioneering ETOPS and flight deck commonality.


Steve
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 9:30 am

1. DC-3. Still many of them plying the skies 60+ years after they were built.
2. DC-8. It's the DC-3 of the Jet Age, 40+ years old and still plying the skies.
3. Sud Caravelle. The plane that inspired many imitators (DC-9 family, BAC 1-11, nearly every single biz jet).
4. Lockheed C-5A. While not an airliner, it played an important role in the development of #5.
5. Boeing 747. Based on Boeing's failed design for the C-5 program, the first jet to truly be a world traveller.
 
GDB
Posts: 12653
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 10:11 am

1) DC-3 - Sheer numbers, sheer reliability and strength, sheer usage (how many airlines started out with WW2 surplus Dakotas?).
2) Comet - Despite a tragic false start, made jet travel a reality, probably brought forward the development of the....
3) 707 - Boeing arrive, an expansion of fast, reliable air travel.
4) 747 - The widebody arrives, Boeing took a risk a won, travel for the masses, the Ocean liner of the jet age.
5) Concorde - Never mind the numbers built, it showed the need for European co-operation, it hugely raised the game of the technology base of the industry in the UK and France leading to....
6) A320 - Not the first Airbus, but they arrived big time with this, got a reputation for innovation and took the common flightdecks of the 757/767 a stage further.
 
AM744
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 11:05 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 11:03 am

Being the first is certainly important, but not always influential in air transport as we know it. Here's my list.

1.- DC-3 Made commercial transport feasible.
2.- 707 The beginning of jet era. (Would've existed even if Comet hadn't)
3.- 747 We all know.
4.- 757/767 Same reasons as Sllavin

 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:18 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 11:10 am

1. 707--Launch of commercial jetliners.
2. 747--4 engine, double decker
3. 767--1st Computerized, twin engined widebody (by boeing)
4. 777--First A/C to have PTV's in coach.
5. 757--Boeing's answer to a new 727 with drop down TV's, and engines on the wings.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
cptkrell
Posts: 3186
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2001 10:50 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:05 pm

Ford Trimotor
Boeing 247
Douglas DC-3
Boeing 707
Boeing 747
(perhaps the DC9...smallish jet answer to the DC-3 in its' original config?)

I'm dying to squeeze in a Connie somewhere in the list, but although probably the most beautiful propliner, it really wouldn't rate quite as high as the Douglas
DC-7C. Sorry for the Comet and Concorde fans; Comet was the "first", yes, but as far a being ultimately influencial, I believe the major influence was displaying what maybe not to do. I'm not talking about the crashes, but engines nestled inside the wings close to the fuselage, smallish pax capy as originally engineered, cramped cockpit, etc. were not good design alternatives. Concorde, while being majestic, can't rate. It has influenced not much in commercial aviation, and, arguably, has never been a successful (read: profitable) adventure.

Later-generation B-7xx are simply technological improvements over their predicessors as are all Airbus products. I believe it will take something we haven't really thought of yet to bump into the list (dare I say something like the still-birthed Sonic Cruiser?)...Jack
all best; jack
 
StarAC17
Posts: 3400
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 11:54 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:19 pm

1) The B707 - The world's first jet that made air travel affordable

2) The B737 - The most popular airliner plane of all times

3) The B747 - Carries 450 pax and can travel over 7000nm need I say more

4) The B767 - The first long range, medium passenger plane

5) The A32X - The first commercial Aircraft to use Fly-by-wire technology

6) The Concorde - The first supersonic passerger plane, too bad it wasn't more of a hit with people. Hopefully a successor comes out in my lifetime
Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
 
masseybrown
Posts: 4425
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2002 2:40 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:51 pm

We shouldn't overlook the Vickers Viscount, the first really successful and popular turboprop. It was the first to show US fliers and manufacturers that the day of the recips was over.
 
lutfi
Posts: 687
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2000 6:33 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 5:37 pm

In no particular order:

DC3 - Helped win the war as a transport workhorse
Comet - First jet
B707 - First successful jet...
B747 - Shrank the world
DH6/7 - Transport to the edges of the world
Caravan - Single engine, for cheap ops in the back of beyond
DC9 - First successful regional jet transport
 
Trident
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 5:48 pm

Boeing 247 - first "modern" airliner

Douglas DC-3 - first airliner capable of making a profit for its operators and, beacuse of large scale production for the miltary, hugely influential in establishing the airline scene post World War 2.

Vickers Viscount - proved that turbine powred airliners were commercially viable.

Boeing 707 - the true harbinger of the jet age.

Caravelle - a major influenece on airliner design.

Boeing 747 - first widebody and introduced true "mass transit" in air travel.

I've not included Concorde, the Comet or the 737 because they have not been INFLUENCIAL.

Airbus A320 - first "fly by wire" technology airliner - they'll all be like this eventually.

Boeing B-47 - although not an airliner, Boeing's B-47 bomber was the prototype of the layout that has become the norm for virtually all airliner wing and engine configurations (the flirtation with T tails and rear engines has largely been relegated to history now - with some exceptions).
 
User avatar
ERJ135
Posts: 671
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2000 4:04 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:27 pm

Three obvious airliners
1 the DC-3 bringing air travel to the masses,
2 the Comet, introducing jet speed to air travel,
3 the 747 for traveling en mass,
and three personal ones
the DC-10, filling the huge gap between the 707/DC-8 and the 747
the A320 introducing a new level of technology
the ERJ/CRJ, small jets do have a market and can make money

Also to mention the 737-800, the 737 originally the little brother to the 727 has grown up and now carries as many passengers just as far using half the fuel the 727 once used.
I remember when the DC-3 was new!
 
User avatar
RayChuang
Posts: 8005
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2000 7:43 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 9:50 pm

If I were to name the most influential airliners of all time, it would be way more than just six planes!  Smile

I would include the following:

1. Douglas DC-3. Besides being the first airliner that could fly passengers profitably without a mail delivery contract subsidy, the DC-3 embodied all that was learned from the DC-1/2 with its monocoupe structural design and its shape determined by modern wind-tunnel testing. Its very strong structure made it possible to convert it to the famous C-47 Skytrain transport used during World War II.

2. Lockheed Constellation. One of the first airliners that could fly from Los Angeles to New York non-stop, the Constellation benefited from having a pressured cabin and also the beautiful aerodynamic design of Clarance "Kelly" Johnson, perhaps the greatest airplane designer of all time.  Smile

3. de Havilland Comet. Despite the unfortunate metal fatigue problem that ground the Comet I fleet the plane proved that jet-powered airliners was a good idea.

4. Boeing 707. This airliner made it possible for more economical travel at jet speeds. This plane spelled the death knell for transatlantic travel by ship.

5. Boeing 727. This airliner pioneered flying shorter routes on a jet airliner. A lot more airports saw jet airliners with the introduction of the 727. What the 727 pioneered was taked further by the Boeing 737, the Douglas DC-9/MD-80 series, and eventually the Airbus A320 Family series.

6. Boeing 747. This airliner made it possible for a massive increase in international travel at lower prices.

7. Airbus A300B. This airliner not only pointed the way for successful European collaboration on airliner production, but also made it possible to dramatically increase pax/cargo capacity on short- to medium-haul routes. The A300B design has evolved all the way to today's A340-500/600 designs.

8. Boeing 767. This airliner not only replaced older 707's and DC-8's, but also pioneered twin-engined airliner flights on transocean flights.

9. Airbus A320 Family series. Airbus' most successful product, it pioneered true fly-by-wire controls, proved smaller planes can fly longer routes, and is the reason why Airbus can successfully challenge Boeing nowadays.

10. Boeing 777. One of the first airliners designed with considerable customer input, the 777 sports FBW and proved twin-engined airliners can fly very long routes. What Boeing learned from the 777 will be applied the upcoming 7E7 project.
 
BeltwayBandit
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:25 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 10:04 pm

Sorry, but I do not think we can call the Concorde influential.

It came and went, but had little if any lingering effect on air travel. It was not an economic success, and it did not create enough economic momentum to lead the way for more supersonic aircraft (or even near-supersonic).

I think it is one of the top 10 most beautiful and impressive commercial aircraft in the world; just not influential.
 
mav75
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2000 10:02 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 10:16 pm

"Unfortunately, I think time is catching up with the 747 and my predication is that production will come to a halt within 5-8 years."

Richierich, are you sure about that? I agree it's true that market demand is shifting towards the widebodied twins (ie 767/777 and maybe the 7E7), but as long as there is transpacific travel, I think demand for the 747 will always be around. Not to mention travel between Europe and Asia. Why else would the 744-ER have been produced? Also, there is a need for very high capacity seating on domestic Japanese flights (744D). I would hate to see production on this plane come to a halt as quickly as your prediction.
 
User avatar
RayChuang
Posts: 8005
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2000 7:43 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 10:17 pm

Beltwaybandit,

I think Concorde influenced one thing: the fact that you can have successful multinational co-operation of airliner assembly. It paved the way for Airbus Industrie and Boeing's collaboration with Japanese aerospace firms.
 
richierich
Posts: 3289
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 11:19 pm

Hey Mav75,

No, I am certainly NOT sure that Boeing will end 747 production anytime soon. But it is just a hunch. I am hopeful that Boeing has a plan in the works to combat the A380 but I am not sure if it will be anything more than a "super" 747. That's great but I doubt that can be truly successful for long. That's why I am throwing out the 5-8 years as a guess. If I am wrong and 747 production continues for another 10-15 years, I will not be disappointed! It just looks to me like Boeing is hedging its bets on the 7E7 Dreamliner... with larger and more efficient versions of the 777, I think the overall appeal of the 747 is dwindling.

On a different topic though, I think that Concorde definitely deserves to be considered one of the most influential aircraft of all time. Even though it is now 30 years old, it is still a technological marvel. It did not sell in the numbers that were envisioned by the British and French when they worked together on this program, but a lot of that was due to political and unforseen economical issues (ie, oil shortages/ embargoes). With that said, Air France and British Airways managed to take this beautiful plane and re-brand it so that both made money on it in the 80s and 90s, although the initial purchase was government subsidized. Obviously to be a commercial success, a lot more than 20 total airframes would have had to have been produced!

The Concorde crash in France in 2000 will always put a black-eye on an otherwise excellent safety record. It is ashame that a piece of runway debris and a burst tire caused such a horrific crash.

Concorde is on my list of most influential planes because it was the first and (only?) airliner to operate supersonically. In essence, the Concorde and the 747 both made my list for opposite reasons. Both are technological marvels, in my opinion, and both producers "bet the farm" on their respective aircraft. But for France and Britain, Concorde's commercial failure almost spelled the end of aircraft production in those countries, although ironically it also laid the groundwork for forging the Airbus alliance that would follow. For Boeing, the 747 helped solidify their position as the world's number one aircraft maker, which has only recently come under challenge.

Who knows... if history had been different in the 1970s and had been kinder to Concorde (and presumably less kind to the 747), maybe there would be lots of supersonic transports in the air today. Perhaps flying would not have been made available to the "average Joe", as the 747 helped do.

All I can say is that Concorde really represented the pinnacle of how far man has come in his travels and we may not see another supersonic transport like her again in our lifetimes. Economics rule and for a design to be truly successful (and sell!), it also has to make money. The 747 proved that.

None shall pass!!!!
 
AM744
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 11:05 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Thu Aug 21, 2003 11:50 pm

but as long as there is transpacific travel, I think demand for the 747 will always be around. Not to mention travel between Europe and Asia

These markests will be taken over by the 777-300 and A380, where demand justifies it. Unfortunately, the 747 days are counted.
 
petertenthije
Posts: 3261
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 10:00 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 12:46 am

Fokker F.7, at its time it was as important as the 737 now. That should say enough.
DC-3, for making it civil aviation economically feasible (with a little help of surplus WW2 stocks)
DH Comet, first civil jet
B737, for making short flights available to the masses
B747, for making long flights available to the masses
A300, for starting the Airbus saga
Attamottamotta!
 
BeltwayBandit
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:25 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 2:38 am

Mav: Look up the word "influential." No doubt the Concorde was the pinnacle of commercial air travel technology, as well as being beautiful, unique, exciting, fast and safe. The fact is, they are in (or heading to) museums, and the current commercial fleet is pretty much where it was before. Yes, some of that was due to unforeseeable circumstances, so maybe Concorde could have been one of the more influential aircraft.

In some ways, it reminds me of the Apollo space program. It represented a leap forward for human accomplishment, but did not have much influence beyond itself.
 
richierich
Posts: 3289
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 2:52 am

Well, I still believe Concorde has been extremely influential, despite the fact there are not supersonic airliners at every local major airport.

Who knows, maybe there will be a new supersonic airliner one day. No matter what happens, this aircraft will always owe its roots to the Anglo/French Concorde of 1960s technology.

TO be honest, I can't imagine having a "most influential" list without including the Concorde. Of course, it would be on my personal most influential list too.
None shall pass!!!!
 
transswede
Posts: 969
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2001 9:30 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 2:58 am

Concorder influential? Hardly! Airline trafic before and after has not changed much. Don't let your personal feelings for the aircraft get in the way of the facts.

And advanced? For its time, sure. But a much modern replacement could easily be built by either Boeing or Airbus today, if they felt like flushing $$$ down the toilet.

I suppose it was influential in that it effectively killed of widespread supersonic travel by how expensive it was...  Big grin
 
BeltwayBandit
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:25 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 3:51 am

TransSwede:

You and I are getting too bogged down by the dictionary definition of "influential" (having the ability to affect or change things).
 
richierich
Posts: 3289
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:38 am

Well, I think Concorde influenced a lot of things!
For one, it influenced the fact that we are all flying subsonically these days!  Smile
None shall pass!!!!
 
RayPettit
Posts: 602
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 9:04 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:53 am


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © W.C. Wall Sr.



Douglas DC-3 transformed air travel in many respects in several eras. For example, it was used in Europe during the fifties to transport hoidaymakers when before this had not been possible. Not to mention its wartime role, its time in the Berlin Airlift etc.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Johan Ljungdahl


Boeing 747 Brought true economies of scale and made the world a smaller place to millions


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mel Lawrence


Caravelle Used extensively in Europe as the only short-haul jet for a number of years. The DC9, One Eleven and 737 came much later and those with Convair Liners, Viscounts and Electras could not compete


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nik Deblauwe


Boeing 737 Perhaps the most useful airliner spanning a period of 35 years. In some respects a modern day DC-3



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Günter Grondstein


Comet Brought in the jet age and would have been seen more widely had it not been for the fatal fatigue problems in the early fifties. Airlines like Panam and Japan AirLines had them on order but had to cancel them and the more familiar Mark 4 only saw service with BOAC, BEA and some smaller airlines.



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Dag Johnsson


Twin Otter Important in both the feederliner category and as a utlity airliner to remote outposts. Many aircraft could be nominated here, but I've chosen the DHC6 as the same company have enhanced this concept with the Dash 7 and 8, and it also prouced the earlier Beaver and Otter which although not airliners have done great.

I would also like to highlight the importance of aircraft such as the An-12, IL-76 and DC-8. In more recent years its been these types that have delivered one hell of a load of humanitarian aid to many troublespots. To many people, their presence have been more important than say the Caravelle, just because it was faster than a Convair 340 between Madrid and London.
 
roadrunner165
Posts: 788
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2000 6:28 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 5:35 am

DC-3
DH Comet
Boeing727
Boeing737
Boeing747
Airbus A380 (When its Built)


Adam
AS ROCKS!!!  Smile  Smile  Smile
 
AA777MIA
Posts: 671
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 10:30 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 8:23 am

DC3, B707, B727, B747, DC10, Concorde..
 
Tango-Bravo
Posts: 2887
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 1:04 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 1:40 pm

1) DC-3 - the first modern airliner that made it possible for the airlines to earn a profit flying passengers.

2) DC-4 - led to a family of superb propliners that greatly expanded air travel on a global scale. Also kept Lockheed busy and successful at making constant improvements to their Constellation series.

3) Lockheed Constellation - same reasons as the DC-4. Kept Douglas busy and succesful at making constant improvements to their DC-4/6/7 series.

4) 707 - the aircraft that launched the jet airliner age on a truly global scale.

5) 747 - a quantum leap in operating economics for airlines around the world; also brought intercontinental air travel within the means of many more people.

6) 767 - launched longhaul transoceanic ETOPS flights which now dominate across the Atlantic and operate many flights across the Pacific and other routes that once required 3- or 4-engine types.
 
txagkuwait
Posts: 1388
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 7:39 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 3:03 pm

Ford Trimotor - the all-metal Tin Goose was the death knell for fabric covered airliners, especially after Knute Rockne's death in the crash of a fabric-covered Fokker with witnesses reporting a wing fluttering away from the doomed airliner.

Douglas DC-3. Maybe the single most important aircraft of all time. Certainly, the first airliner that could make money strictly by hauling passengers. The only real black eye it ever got was when airlines tried to operate it as a sleeper.....supposedly, Donald Douglas became apoplectic when he saw one airline advertising "21 seats - 14 births"

Boeing 707. The first jetliner with true range, passenger capacity, and without the decidedly unfortunate habit of metal fatigue causing explosive decompression. The cross section of the cabin was true genius.....nearly 50 years later you still see the same cabin x-section on the 757 and 737.

Boeing 747. The wide bodied craze has settled down some, although for a while in the late 60s it appeared that everyone was bound and determined that every flight would be a wide bodied flight. Only problem is they neglected to see what the customer wanted.....and that was frequency. Still, wide bodied aircraft make perfect sense on many routes and they haul folks efficiently and economically over long distances.

Concorde. Important as much for what it prevented as what it did. Demonstrated the lack of any sort of market at all for supersonic airliners. Demonstrated the gross inefficiency and costliness of trying to haul people around at 2 or 3x the speed of sound. The deHavilland Comet of its day, but fortunately much safer.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 5:06 pm

My list is pretty close to TxAgKuwait's



Fokker Trimotor.....A series of a series of fatal crashes, including the one that killed Knute Rockne. Spurred the development of metals in commercial aircraft. The crashes where caused by this aircraft wooden wings rotting out. The inspections that where to be required after that for wooden and fabric structures where just too expesive compared to metal aircraft.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © David Morrell



Douglas DC-3.....What can I say, one of the most influential aircraft out there.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Yasir Raja



Martin M130......Commonly known as the "China Clipper" introduced the possiblity and romance of practical worldwide air travel to the masses. Also did much route proving.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Rafal Szczypek



Dehaviland Comet....Even more important then the fact that it was the worlds first jet airliner (Actually the Avro Canada C.102 should have been but Rolls Royce refused to ship the engines until the Comet had flown) but the Comet crashes taught the world about metal fatigue.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Clive Dyball



Boeing 727 was the aircraft that brought jet service to small and medium outs. Was also pioneering in the level of self support and lack of need for ground equipment.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Chris Miller



Boeing 747.....The first widebody jet, what can I say, showed the way of the future.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Chris Spears

OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
JMChladek
Posts: 320
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:05 pm

RE: Six Most Influential Airliners

Fri Aug 22, 2003 6:46 pm

Well, lets see how my list stacks up. I'm sticking mainly to more modern airliners as we know them today rather going that far back as Tri-motors are from a very early time before the airline industry started to earn its own pay without extensive airmail delivery to subsidize income. Earliest choice is:

The DC-3: This plane essentially spawned an industry as it was better then what came before and was still good when newer stuff came out. And many of them are still in use today.

707/DC-8: I can't really put one on the list without the other as these planes are essentially linked together like Siamese twins in their histories and duties. They brought mainstream commercial aviation into the jet age, even though the Comet might have pioneered it. Credit has been given to the Comet, as it should be. But in the case of airliners that came after, they usually bear more of a resemblance to the 707 and DC-8 with engines mounted on pods rather then the Comet with its engines buried in the wings. Plus, most aircraft cockpit window configurations today bear a more then a passing resemblance to the 707 and DC-8, because of the proud lineage.

Fokker F.27: I'm surprised this one hasn't appeared on the list as it put regional service to tiny airports in remote locations on the map and it was a turboprop. In a sense, this extreme end of the spectrum helped to spawn an industry that continues with the more modern regional jets flying for feeder airlines like American Eagle and Continental Express today. I was going to chose the F.28 instead, but even the F.28 had big shoes to fill in the form of the F.27. Plus, it put post-war European commercial aircraft manufacture back on the map.

Concorde: This is not for the reasons you might think. If Concorde was influential as a super sonic airliner, then we would be flying from LAX to Tokyo in about 3 hours today. But granted it has inspired the dreams of many young aspiring fliers (like me when I was a kid). The main reason I list it here is it influenced cooperation between different countries to build a common aircraft when they put their minds to it. Concorde became the blueprint for the Franco-German partnership known as Airbus Industrie and that powerhouse is now number 2 in aircraft production (even though the numbers say that they are selling more airplanes).

Boeing 727: This one opened up a lot of possibilities to smaller airports and there were certainly a lot of them in service back then. The plane could be used almost anywhere and do just about everything from very short flights to hops halfway across the US. I suppose the DC-9 based series could claim that title as well, but the first DC-9 was pretty short and limited while the 727 seemed to influence its growth into what we see today with the MD-90/717 series (even though to me a true 717 will always be a KC-135). The 727s influence is still felt somewhat in Boeing circles as the 757 replaced it on the longer haul routes while the 737 grew from its really short route service to take up many of the 727 routes that DC-9s don't fly.

And #1 is the Boeing 747: What can't be said that hasn't already been said? I will say though that in addition to the 747s outstanding service as a people hauler, the plane also helped the revolutionize the international air freight industry by being able to haul more cargo then its competitors and this is where many of the 100/200 series can still be seen today. I'd also say the biggest influence is that the 747 is the yardstick by which all other wide body aircraft are measured and only now after over 3 decades of service are we finally seeing an attempt to de-throne it in the form of the A380. Of course the A380 couldn't do it for passenger capacity without the upper deck, a concept that Boeing might not have pioneered, but certainly made in fashion.