Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20 - Boeing 707

On December 20, 1957, the Boeing Co. in Seattle conducted the first flight of its first production Boeing 707 jet airliner, a narrow-bodied, long-range aircraft with four jet engines, seating up to 179 passengers. The 707 was the first commercially successful jetliner, designed for transcontinental routes. When crossing the North Atlantic, it often required a refueling stop (usually in Newfoundland). Developed from a prototype first flown in 1954, the 707 was first operated by Pan American World Airways, with revenue flight service inaugurated in October 1958. At the time, Boeing competed fiercely against the Douglas Aircraft DC-8 jet for orders from air carriers. The 707 became a ubiquitous image of the Jet Age and dominated the boom in passenger air travel through the 1960s and part of the 1970s. Its use resulted in massive changes in airport facilities, food service, baggage handling, fuel use, ticketing and computerized reservations. Ironically, the travel boom it helped start led to its own demise because it was too small to handle passenger volume on the routes for which it was designed. Few 707s are in use today.

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