|Quoting BMI727 (Reply 5):|
That simply was not possible at the time. Engines just did not have the power to achieve that.
The development of airframes depended on the development of engines. This was true in the piston era and in the jet age. If you read this board, you would know that the jet engines that powered the first airliners, the DC-8 and 707, as well as the CV
-880, came from military applications. The J-57, 75, and 79 were military designations for the P&W JT
-4 and the GE CJ
-805. The first JT
-3's only developed 10,000 of thrust. The JT
, which powered the DC-9 and 727, produced was the military J-52. The development of this engine enabled Boeing and Douglas to build twin and tri-jets that could carry economical payloads. Hi Bypass engines came along with the development of the C-5A
and 747, and of course, rest is history, but the basic premise of this thread is nonsensical. Not only that, there was a preference for four engine airplanes by the public and the airlines. Look how many airlines replaced Convairs with DC-6's to carry another 10-20 passengers when payloads averaged less than 50%. The business has changed. The economics have changed, . . . . . Perhaps if Convair had designed their aircraft to accept P&W or RR engines as alternatives, or designed a fuselage that could have been stretched, they could have sold the airlines on the comfort quality of 2-3 versus 3-3 seating, but American nixed that idea in 1955 when they told Boeing, widen your airplane or we are going with Douglas. The whole idea of three American manufacturers developing aircraft that were so close in application just made no sense. Convair originally thought that targeting the medium range market would give them a niche, but then Boeing, at United's request produced a lighter weight, less expensive, medium range 707, the 720, and instead of ordering Convair, ordered the 720. Remember that the non fan jet 720 sold the exact same number of airframes as the 880. The fact is that once the 727 was put into production, the market for the 720/880 was very limited, and at the time these aircraft were first sold, there was no fan jet other than the after fan RR Conway, and the GE CJ805 that powered the 990, and neither of those were a match for the JT-3D. Convair was successful building smaller twin propeller airplanes, plus they were also fortunate to have the Glenn Martin Company as their competitor, a firm that knew nothing of about building transports and proved it. The same might be said about Consolidated Vultee but they got their act together and improved the originally 240, and they also benefited from large DOD contracts. The beginning of jet age was an exciting time to live through, but at the beginning everything was speed, and a sort of bubble attitude on the part of the airlines that if their competitor had a new plane, they needed one too. And this really was the environment until deregulation. Hence, Eastern, Delta, Continental, National ordered 747's. There was a time 35 years ago that you could not compete in the Mainland - Hawaiian market or the Trans Atlantic market without wide bodied airplanes. If United or American were able to buy 757's in 1975 and fly them on the Hawaii routes against competitors 747's, and DC-10's, they would gone broke. Western tried it and was not very successful. TWA operated that round the world service for a short period of time with the 707, and if they had had good loads at least on the LAX-HNL leg, perhaps they would have hung on longer with it, but as I said, no one wanted to fly in a 707 when they could take a 747 or DC-10.
[Edited 2011-12-18 13:52:21]