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BN747
Topic Author
Posts: 7535
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 5:48 am

Commercial Aviation Developement from 1950s to 1980s Question

Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:37 am

Many things triggered our interest in commercial aviation, I would like to hear from those who have personally experienced early jet travel life.
They have the first hand accounts of the years expressed above. My inquiry is given that personal history...how has aviation panned out as expected, hoped or are there areas that disappoint you?

For me as a 6yo kid it was the 1st jet 707 across the (stops) pacific, I was amazing that a machine could perform such a herculean task. I went to bed every night dreaming about that but it would take my 1st visit to sit and watch jets move about where bug bit me.

I would draw and draw and draw until I perfected the 707 HF antenna on the tail and it's unique nose shape. I got into drawing airline route maps over and over...I could never imagine an age where
one could use a device and suddenly see every airline - in motion, view every airport you've only heard about - inside, on the ramp and on the runways. You can even enjoy foreign carriers vicariously by way of others sharing.

What we have today, I simply cannot imagine today's access applied to the age when I came into interest. As hard as try I simply cannot imagine the type access/exposure so readily available during that period.

But in my opinion today's current status of commercial aviation has far exceeded my greatest hopes for it. The 747 end has me still withdrawal (and a few years to go).

It makes me quite happy to know that there are millions of spotters of every type (trip reports, airliners, etc) and it's increasing by the second when decades ago we were so rare and never expected it to come this.

Although I hate the change and loss of favorite airliners, change is the human constant and most continue and I must confess...I am a little put off by all airliners now comprised of a simple design of eng/wing/fuselage. I can't imagine a spotter growing up in only twins point of view of past jetliners, it has to be less appreciative since they lack exposure - I mean does it even have any sort of impact?

Commercial Aviation Development - two :bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup: ...because those around the planet who cannot...can enjoy as if they were there!
Share your thoughts...


BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
superjeff
Posts: 1329
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Commercial Aviation Developement from 1950s to 1980s Question

Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:38 am

I'm older than you. First flight on an American DC6 DCA-LGA when I was eight months old (don't remember that one, but I did get - and keep for 50 years, a "Sky Cradle Club" membership certificate), then multiple DC6B flights on United and even Northeast, including TransCons, DC7's on United IDL-SFO/LAX-HNL, and then an occasional Eastern Constellation flight, and even one L188 Lockheed Electra (National). First jet flights were on a United DC8 - I despised the Palomar seats because they were too erect (they were attached to the sidewalls and had florescent lights built into the headrests, but were on the right side of the headrest on the right side of the plane, the left side on the left (I think, might have it backward, tho), so it wasn't that great if you were on the wrong side, depending if you were right or left handed. The initial 707's were nicer, and Pan Am and TWA had lighting in the ceiling that looked like stars at night (TWA called their 707's Starstreams). National Airlines' DC8's had seats where the bottom slid forward and the backs didn't recline, which were likewise uncomfortable. But, under regulation, First Class was always 38 inches of legroom and Coach was always 34 inches in the U.S., and inflight service was much nicer than now (albeit more expensive, which made for lower load factors and more room).

Seeing your name, I worked for Braniff in the mid 1970's, and they were really the first major upgrade to airliner comfort on their 727's particularly, with a widebody type interior, but the same kind of pitch, configuration, etc.

If you're lucky enough to fly in an international (long haul) configured cabin today, it is better than the old days in most respect (except possibly food), but if you're in Economy, it is a lot worse, in pretty much all respects except for inflight entertainment. Back in the day,when they started doing inflight movies, it was usually just a screen in the front of the cabin (although American had a tape system where the tape traveled the length of the cabin with screens every couple of rows, but a delay from row to row), and Pan Am had black and white TV monitors throughout the cabin (I think they were Sony, but not sure). So we've come a long way.
 
factsonly
Posts: 2866
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: Commercial Aviation Developement from 1950s to 1980s Question

Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:00 pm

For young enthusiasts, there was no better education in 'Airline Timetables' than:

1. Visiting each of the fashionable downtown airline offices to get your own copy of a real timetable, or
2. Begging your local travel agent for his used monthly edition of the global OAG Schedules 'telephone' book.

These old fashioned paper products gave complete insight into global airline scheduling, sadly lost in this digital age.

I studied them for hours, learned so much about global air travel and miss them both !!

One had to go far to maintain a fascinating hobby.

:cry2: :old:
 
Noshow
Posts: 1408
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Commercial Aviation Developement from 1950s to 1980s Question

Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:01 pm

I remember those screens (as in one mid size screen for the entire cabin) where three colored lights would beam the movie on it. The sound came through something like a tiny mono loudspeaker (think very old phone) and got passed on to your ear by plastic tube. You had to literally plug it into your ear (ouch). And you had to pay like a bug or two for that tube. It was some IATA-agreement. Those were they days. And the autopilot of early 747-100 would constantly induce something like a smooth dutch roll. So the plane would bank slightly to one side and then to the other for hours in cruise. Perfect to get some sleep.

Flying was not mass travel and much more expensive. But even back then you could find much cheaper fares so called "grey market" tickets distributed outside the official fixed prices. I remember so called "camping flights" were you pretended to buy a package of a flight and some hotel bed that was priced below what the flight itself would have cost you. Nobody used his "bed" (some nightmare hostel probably) and everybody only the cheaper flight.

You could not book yourself or just even search in those computer networks back then. Therefore a trusted travel agency was vital to find the cheaper flights back then. I had one and it was great what they could find for you. Many airplanes flew half empty on certain days of the week or times. You could target them and find the best prices.
 
sprxUSA
Posts: 368
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 5:17 am

Re: Commercial Aviation Developement from 1950s to 1980s Question

Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:50 pm

factsonly wrote:
For young enthusiasts, there was no better education in 'Airline Timetables' than:

1. Visiting each of the fashionable downtown airline offices to get your own copy of a real timetable, or
2. Begging your local travel agent for his used monthly edition of the global OAG Schedules 'telephone' book.

These old fashioned paper products gave complete insight into global airline scheduling, sadly lost in this digital age.

I studied them for hours, learned so much about global air travel and miss them both !!

One had to go far to maintain a fascinating hobby.

:cry2: :old:


I spent first few days sitting around cataloging my timetable collection after years of thinking about it. Was nice to see ones I hadn't looked at in years, as they are in storage. I was thinking "man if they were still printed up to now, I would have soooo many more" almost too many lol. Started in 1980 and ended up with 3653 from 380 airlines. Not too big I bet. My focus now is collecting ones from my birth year. Interesting to see how things were then. Actually have one effective on my birth day.
Gem State Airlines..."we have a gem of an airline"

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