Spike
Topic Author
Posts: 1110
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:08 am

Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:40 am

How far ahead was the development of the Comet to the 707? Who really developed the avionics that first flew a commercial lump of metal into the sky? And what lessons were learnt from both jets?
 
DfwRevolution
Posts: 8572
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:31 pm

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:10 am

The Comet flew many years before the 707, so in that respect, it did beat the 707. However, the Comet was plagued by a serious design defect- square windows and metal fatigue. Turbojet engines allowed the Comet to cruise higher than any airliner before it, requiring a pressurized cabin. Long story short, square windows put unequal pressure on the window corners and metal fatigue was more extreme than exepected, causing depressurizations and crashes.

The 707 was built with a stronger aluminum alloy and rounded windows, eliminating these risks. The 707 was far superior in range, payload, and economics, and the rest is history.

To answer the question "Would the 707 have flown anyway" I would say yes the 707 would have eventually been built. The 707 was spurred by a potential Pan Am order and a potential KC-135 contract, not a pissing contest with de Havillan. In fact, Douglas, Lockheed, and Boeing lobbied Congress in the 1950s for funding to build a passenger jet before the Comet, but Congress denied them any public funds.

Regards,
DFW

[Edited 2004-03-28 20:14:05]
 
GDB
Posts: 12653
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:25 am

Yes, but maybe not as soon, no doubt work was speeded up when the Comet appeared, even before the 1954 Comet 1 grounding Comet 2 and bigger Comet 3's were under development, Pan Am optioned some of the latter.
Though some airlines, notably the CEO of AA, at the time doubted that jets would have an impact for many years, clearly the emergence of the Comet got things moving .
Had the Comet 1 not had the problems (which you can bet that other manufacturers took notice of, DH after all were being extremely pioneering, sometimes you pay for that), the Comet 2 and especially Comet 3, could have sold in the US domestic market, I doubt that Boeing, Douglas, Lockheed, or any major US planemaker would have just stood and watched that happen.
 
m404
Posts: 1875
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 4:43 pm

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:40 am

Of course it would have. France developed the Caravelle and your not asking about that. As has been said all manufacturers note the others problems and all nations technologies build on each others, that's called progress. But the individual programs are shaped by the perceived markets and expected market share.

I'm assuming you are alluding to the unnecessary acrimony pouring out from the A380 and 7E7 projects. These are completely different aircraft meant to fill completely different rolls. I do not understand why each cannot be left alone to compete by themselves. We can only assume that this vehemence stems from the old 'subsidy by any name' complaint (my quote) from both sides.
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
 
User avatar
ClassicLover
Posts: 3940
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:27 pm

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:22 pm

The first flight of the Comet versus the 707 is 1949 versus 1954. So the Comet was way ahead of the 707. I think the proposal for the Comet was first mooted in 1943.

As far as I am aware, all of the systems used in the Comet were of British design and manufacture.

Lessons learned? A lot was learned about metal fatigue for jet airliners, which was vastly different to the previously known effects with piston engined jets. That's what the Comet taught people. Additionally, the Comet was not made overly well. Thin metal structure (this can be forgiven), flight controls with no feedback... other things...

Lessons learned from the 707? That jet aircraft can be successful and are the way of the future.

Trent.  Smile
I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
 
ckfred
Posts: 4709
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:18 pm

Yes, the 707 would have flown without Comet crashes. First of all, it was an outgrowth of the KC-135 program. That meant that Boeing had the finances to create a commercial jetliner.

Second, the Comet never had the range and payload of the 707. Even the Comet 3, which was first on the North Atlantic run, only carried about 2/3rds of the Boeing payload, and it didn't have the range to fly West Coast to Europe.

Third, I think the Comet flew at about 500 mph, while the 707 flew at around 600 mph. On a 4000 mile flight, the 707 is about 1 hour quicker.

Lastly, the 707 was a better design, since it didn't bury the engines in the wing. That made engine maintenance easier.
 
sccutler
Posts: 5567
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:25 pm

Ah, but no matter how much I love the 707 (and I do), the Comet 1 was such a graceful ship, thanks in large measure to the engine placement.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
User avatar
ClassicLover
Posts: 3940
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:27 pm

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:29 pm

The Comet 4 was first on the North Atlantic run, Ckfred.

The Comet was slower, that is true. However, I wouldn't say that burying the engines in the wing is a "better design".

From what I've read, the Comet 4 was an absolute delight to fly compared to the Comet 1 and the 707.

You might want to read "Comets and Concordes" by Peter Duffey. He flew the Comet 1, Comet 4, 707 and the Concorde (among others) and has some very interesting insights on the aircraft. The book is a top read!

Trent.  Smile
I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
 
teva
Posts: 1764
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 12:31 am

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:46 pm

In my opinion, the 707 would have flown. However, without the Comet, it would have been the first, and, as a consequence,probably experiencing the same problems as the Comet.
All the jet technology was new, with no computer simulation and design. As a result, progress comes from previous experiences. And if you are the first, you experience all the problems. If you are the second, you can review your design.
Teva
Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
 
keesje
Posts: 8745
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

RE: Would The 707 Have Flown Without The Comet?

Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:41 pm

Would the 707 have been a succes if it was based on the Comet design ?

I don't think so ..

"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway

Who is online