Spacepope wrote:zippyjet wrote:SEPilot wrote:The 707 caught Douglas completely flat footed. They had committed to the DC-7 before they knew about the 707, and so had to hurry the DC-8 proposal, and were a year behind getting it to market. Boeing had put a couple of years into development before revealing it, research that Douglas was unable to replicate. The one advantage Douglas had was that, by coming second, they were able to “one-up” Boeing by making theirs 6 abreast (the 707 was originally 5 abreast) which won orders from a couple of major airlines, one of them United. Boeing had been there before, with the 247, and did not want a repeat. There was powerful disincentive to change the fuselage as they were already making KC-135s and couldn’t change them and hence would need two sets of tooling where they had planned on only one. But at a Bill Allen’s insistence they went ahead and made the 707 6 abreast. But on top of that, Boeing had extensive experience with large jets with the B-47 and B-52, and Douglas did not, and Boeing had their own high speed wind tunnel, which Douglas did not. The result was the high altitude high speed performance of the 707 was always better than the DC-8. It is notable that Pan Am, which is one of the few airlines to buy both planes did not keep their DC-8s long but ordered boatloads of 707s.
Talk about flat footed. Lockheed bet the farm on Turbo Props with the L188. Had that one come out 5 years earlier Lockheed may have sowed the seeds to stay in the commercial airliner business. Interesting that AA went with L188's. Not to hijack the thread but why, did National Air Lines go with the DC-8 same with Eastern. Both of them set themselves back a year. Had the 720 come out earlier do you think Eastern and National would have gone with them over the Electra and DC-8? National never went for 720's And I pose this issue because, National leased 707's from Pan Am for the lucrative New York and Chicago to Miami routes.
I think Lockheed’s issue with this generation of jets stems from the tanker project. They actually WON the competition and the 717/KC-135 was only adopted as the interim tanker till the Lockheed model was ready. Lockheed never got their tanker to production and history was written at that point. Not sure how the competition on the civil side would have shaken out though, probably dooming the Convair offerings even sooner and we’d have never gotten the 990.
The Air Force absolutely did not want the Boeing tanker (I don’t know why). When Lockheed won the competition Curtis LeMay threw a hissy fit and said he wanted jet tankers NOW. So they ordered a small number from Boeing, telling them very firmly that this would be IT. But then Lockheed dropped the ball; I am not sure why, and the Air Force had no choice but to order the rest from Boeing.