Selling the 707: Fortune magazine reprinted this article from 1957 of the Selling of the 707. Pretty good return to nostalgia.
From Twitter: .
@Boeing CFO James Bell to retire next April. Corporate Controller Greg Smith to replace him.
Republic Airways Holdings is sliding deeper into financial trouble as a result of Frontier Airlines. Aviation Week has a detailed story that reports the Embraer E190 order will be deferred and casts doubts about the viability of the Airbus A320neo and Bombardier CSeries orders. RC has an earnings call November 8.
Airline Books: Arcadia Publishing, which is largely known for specialty books about local cities, towns and topics throughout the US, has a number of books about airlines. We were at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field and discovered this line of books, which is new to us. We picked up books on Northwest Airlines and Pan Am but there are a number of others here.
Leeham.net back up, finally: After two months (don’t ask) our corporate website is back up.
The record selling, 707 derived, 737 is still the backbone of Boeing commercial turnover after 50 yrs. After numerous refinements it survives the 747, 757 en 767 concepts.
At the dawn of commercial jet airlines, the US government ordered 700 KC135s, around 2000 B47s and 700 B52s, for quick delivery. Those big jets were IMO the base for Boeings dominance in large jet aircraft for the next 30 yrs.
The rest of the world could not catch on with that kind of constitutional investments (Add the Appolo, Minuteman programs, massive Nasa R&D programs).
Keep in mind that Boeing was only one of hundreds of companies that built the Apollo Moon Rocket. Also the Space Shuttle was designed and built by North American, NOT Boeing! Saturn V Moon Rocket was Rocketdyne and Rockwell-engines, Boeing S1C Booster-First Stage, North American SII-Second Stage, Douglas S-IVB- Third Stage, IBM-FSD –IU, Grumman-LM and many more.
Spaceman Boeing played a major role and in the end took over all North American, Rockwell and Douglas aerospace knowlegde, resources, facilities. Only names changed.
The Forbes story is mostly accurate, except the “lighter and shorter ranged B-707” was never called the B-717. That was the Boeing company designation of the KC-135. The shorter ranged B-707 was called the B-707-020 from the beginning, then changed to the B-720 designation at the request of UA, the launch customer. Though it is mentioned a few times, the JT-4A (civilian designation to the USAF/USN J-75) had little effect on the sales of either the B-707 or the DC-8. There were a few B-707-320s originally equipped with the JT-4A turbo-jet, but most were reengined later with the JT-3D turbo-fan. The JT-4A was used exclusively on the B-707-220 for Braniff, and was the original engine on the DC-8-20/-30s. The DC-8-30s were later reengined with JT-3D engines. The JT-4A and JT-3C (J-57) used water injection to boost take off thrust, just like on the KC-135A. For the “B” models of the B-707/-720 equipped with JT-3D (TF-33) engines the water tank, pumps, plumbing, and electrical support systems for it were removed. The water tank used demineralized water (not fit for drinking) and had a capacity of 620 US gallons, enough water for 2 minutes of ‘wet’ thrust.
The wing on the B-707-120/-220 and B-720 was the wing from the KC-135, with minor changes. The original B-707-120/-220 and KC-135 did not have the kruger flaps developed for the B-720, but both models later got them. The fillet flaps that the KC-135 and B-720 always had were never installed on the B-707-120/-220. The B-707-320/420 had a much modified KC-135 wing that included wing tip and wing root extensions and full leading edge kruger flaps, and again, no fillet flaps. Many B-707s also had vortex generators on the upper wing surface, for the inboard airilons. The B-720 and KC-135 had vortex generators on the lower surface of the horizontal stabizer for the elevators. Vortex generators improve airflow across a flight control surface.
“The 717 name had actually been used within the company to refer to the KC-135 Stratotanker. 717 had also been used to promote an early design of the 720 to airlines before it was modified to meet market demands. A Boeing historian notes that the air force plane had the designation “717-100” and the commercial airliner had the designation “717-200″. The lack of a widespread use of the 717 name left it available to rebrand the MD-95.”
Thanks, Scott. So Boeing started out using the B-717 designation (internally within the company) for two different airplanes in production at the same time? Yes, you are right, the full Boeing designation for the KC-135 (series) was the B-717-100. There was a huge outcry from the KC-135 (series) communittee, including myself when the B-717 designation was given to the hand-me-down design from the merger MD-95. We sent Boeing e-mails and letters. Boeing would have not even built the MD-95/B-717-200 if it was not for the Air-Tran (Value-Jet) order. Boeing had the B-737-600 in that market size, even though it was a sales failure.
Back to the B-707/-720. I had always thought Boeing changed the official designation on the B-707-020 to the B-720 designation because UA, the launch customer did not want to refer to their new airplane as a B-707 as they were a big DC-8 customer. AA, who also ordered the B-720 always referred to their new airplane as the “B-707”.
By any other name, it was a B-707 and not the B-717. The B-707 series (including the B-720), through the B-727, B-737, and B-757 all used the same fuselage width, but of course in different lenghts. In fact, the B-707, B-720, B-727, and B-737 all use the nose configueration and cockpit designed for the KC-135. Only in the last few years has Boeing designed out the famous “eyebrow windows” from the B-737NG, but the nose section is still the same as the 55 year old KC-135, less the “eyebrows”.
Correction to KC135TopBoom
Quote The Forbes story is mostly accurate, except the “lighter and shorter
ranged B-707″ was never called the B-717. That was the Boeing company
designation of the KC-135. The shorter ranged B-707 was called the
B-707-020 from the beginning, then changed to the B-720 designation at
the request of UA, the launch customer.Unquote
My records, as well as personal exposure to the 707-100, 200 and -300s
(yes, I am that old) indicate that PAA was the launching customer for the
707-120, with an order for 23 units, while on that same day PAA signed
an order for 25 DC8s in Long Beach!
When signing for the 707-120s, von Tripp of PAA told Bill Allen that:
“The DC-8 is a much better a/p compared to the 707 and I am, therefore,
only buying these 707s because I want PAA to be the first airline to put
jet aircraft in service around the world, for publicity reasons!”
The severely shocked Bill Allen than made, what is considered to be the
most significant and fortuous decision in the history of the Boeing Co., to
spend the extra $X,- million on the 707-120 design to develop the 707-300
series, the airplane which put the unknown Boeing Commercial Airplane
Co. on the map, to become THE preeminent commercial aircraft builder
in the whole world by the end of the last century, bar none!
Consequently, PAA NEVER bought another DC-8 and purchased many
more 707-320s, as most of the other world airlines did, which produced
the massive growth in traffic and resulting profits for the airline industry
in the 60’s, which in turn, enabled PAA to also become the launching
airline for the 747 program!
The 707-200, was based on the -100 design with higher thrust JT-4A eng.
and build for Braniff only, to enable them to fly into high altitude cities in S.
The 720 was built to prevent UAL from purchasing the C880 and while it
was technically a fine a/p, that program came to an early end because
Howard Huge messed up delivery payments and the three engined 727
-100s and -200s, offered much lower operating costs, compared to the
four engined C880s.
The additional investments in the longer range C990 was wasted, because
the airplane came too late and no match for the 707s and DC8s already
in service by many world airlines, causing Convair to get out of the com-
mercial airplane business altogether!
Yes, Rudy, I agree, PAA was the ‘launch’ customer for the B-707-120, but not for what became the B-720 (B-707-020), IIRC. I am not as old as you, but I was born in 1951 and started flying the KC-135A in 1970, or so. It was a great airplane too.
The Forbes story implies, but does not directly say, that Boeing used the KC-135 tooling to build the B-707 series. Boeing did use some tooling, but clearly not all of it because of the structual differences between the B-707 series and the C/KC-135 series. I am sure you know that, Rudy. The fuselage frams for the KC-135 are different because of the narrower fuselage. The floor beams are also different because it is also a cargo aircraft, and as you know the landing gear is bigger, heavier, and stronger (compared to the B-707-020/-120/-220) with bigger MLG wheels. The KC-135 also has a much heavier and stringer keel beam than the B-707 because of the forward, and aft body, upper deck and bigger center wing fuel tanks (total about 132,000 lbs of fuel in these tanks and not including main wing tank and reserve tank fuel). I believe the B-707 non-turbo fan airplanes used the same main and saddle water tanks as the KC-135.
You are also right, it was the B-707-320/-320B/-320C models that actually put Boeing on the commerical airliner map, but it was the earlier B-707 models that actually kicked that door open for Boeing.
IIRC the B-707 models had a list price to the airlines of between $4M and $10M, depending on model and when it was ordered. But when the B-747 came along in the late 1960s, the -100model had an astonishly ‘high’ list price around $25M. Today it is common for new build WB airplanes to have a list price between $150M and over $300M per unit. Even a new build NB airplane can cost more than $85M each (list price).
The rest is history.
By using the same fuselage width, one of the benefits was that they were supposed to save a lot of money on tooling. But they soon realized that shorter range aircraft and their associated high-cycle utilization rate would require much thicker skins. Consequently, they had to build new tooling for the 737.
In 1973 they were manufacturing one 737 a month. President T. Wilson wanted to put the dog to sleep, but Senior VP Finance H. Haynes convinced T that the airplane had a future. I guess he could not possibly imagine how successful the 737 was to become: 7000 built to date + 2000 in backorder.
Apparently it was a very close call. But certainly a very good one!
The June 13 1955 issue of Aviation Week contained the go-ahead announcements for the Douglas DC-8 and Lockheed Electra
Douglas’s Board decided to proceed with the DC-8 prompted by a belief that American’s Electra order plus the USAF order of $700M for Boeing KC-135’s “leaves Douglas with a clear shot at the commercial jet transport field”.
The Douglas article also said that
– the DC-8’s would be powered by recently certified commercial versions of the military J57 turbojet but that Air Force security kept Pratt from showing the engine to the airlines.
– Boeing was still waiting for Defense Dept permission to offer 707’s to be built in parallel with KC-135’s
– Douglas expected to be building a mix of props and jets for years to come
The Electra article assumed jets would only be used for transcon routes with turboprops on short- to medium hauls. It also predicted that American would eventually “buy turbojet transports – most likely the DC-8” – to replace DC-7’s on transcon non-stops.
Imagine an alternate universe where in 1955 Boeing decided to play it safe: At that time, the USAF was going to buy $700M [in 1955 $$] worth of KC-135’s plus at least another $300M for more B-52’s. Boeing had sold only 55 Stratocruisers but hundreds of KC-97’s. What if Bill Allen had said “Why should we knock ourselves out trying to sell commercial jets to all those annoying airlines when the military market is a sure thing for years to come and Douglas is gonna beat us anyhow?”. Would there even be a Boeing today? What would today’s Boeing management have done in those circumstances?
Not long afterwards, Pan Am and American announced the first orders for commercial 707’s [Pan Am also ordered DC-8’s] The first 707-100 flew on Dec 20 1957 and went into service less than a year later
Anyone know how pricing compared between the various airframer offers ?
It was an incredibly bold and smart move. It was the same Bill Allen that made another incredibly bold and smart move by launching the 747. He was neither an engineer or an MBA. And on top of that he had a reputation for integrity. Not bad for a lawyer!
Yes, Boeing benefitted enormously from the identical fuselage corrections on
the 707/727 and 737s, but it wasn’t all smarts!
I attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of the first 707 delivery to LH, in
Hamburg last year.
During the celebrations, Joe Sutter and Ernst Simon, the chief of new air-craft
evaluations at LH for many years and now retired in his 90’s, re-enacted the
often acrimonious discussions between the two parties about the following:
1) Boeing, having just launched the 747 program and I believe also the SST,
was reluctant to launch another program, 2) Boeing, for reasons I still do not
understand today, was insisting on a five-abreast 737, while LH insisted on a
six-abreast cabin, common with the 727s they had already purchased. 3) The
LH capacity requirement for about 100 seats, was according too Boeing too
small to justify a six abreast cabin.
Fortunately, Boeing agreed that the customer is always right and “The Flying
Barrel,” a 100 seat 737-100 was launched by LH, the airline also becoming
the first foreign airline to launch a new Boeing airplane.
Only 22 100s were sold to them and Lh soon, ordered 190+ additional -200,
-300, 400, -500 and 737NGs series a/p.s, until sadly, the A320s started
I do remember the uber stubby first 737 at HAM from my youth.
( And all the starting jets were heavy smokers and loud as banging hell )
I wonder what created the very good relationship between LH and Boeing
in the first place? Good personal chemistry, the prewar customer connections
and/or just good customer service ?
Question on the side: how much of the plumbing and other stuffings were the
same for the civil family and with the KC-135 and its derivatives?
That’s an interesting story Rudy. I hope it will be included in “The Challenges of a Boeing Salesman”. And how is the book coming?
Uwe, The plumbing in the wings for ground refueling the aircraft is the same on the KC-135, and most B-707 models. There may be a different valve here and there, and the single point refueling connection is in different places, but the differences are minor. The surge tanks are in the same place on the wings, as is the vent system. However, the KC-135 does have additional plumbing in the wings the B-707 does not, like the manifold to drain fuel from the 4 main wing tanks to the aft body fuel tank for transfer from the KC-135. The KC-135 also had an APU that drew fuel from the #2 main wing tank on the KC-135E/Q, but the KC-135A drew its APU fuel from the aft body tank. Most B-707s did not have an APU. Also most B-707s could not dump fuel, IIRC while all KC-135s can (it is dumped through the refueling boom, or a fuel dump tube for those C-135s that do not have a boom). The floor beams (latitudual and longitudual) were on about a 20″ center (about 500 mm), IIRC for the KC-135, I’m not positive but I thought they were on a 22″ (550 mm) or 24″ (600 mm) centers for the B-707, except the freighter and combi models, which I know had 20″ centers.
Maybe Germany developed a respect for Boeing designed airplanes during the war as the B-17 was a lot harder to shoot down compared to the flimsy B-24, with its upper fuslage fuel tanks and the infamous and too thin “Davis Wing” that had a bad tendecy to snap off? The B-17 could absorb a lot more battle damage than the faster, longer ranged, and heavier bomb load B-24, and I think the Luftwaffe respected that, to what ever extent respect for the opponents weapons can be given during war. Many B-17s brought their crews home when they shouldn’t have been able to fly. None the less, of the nearly 12,000 B-17s produced (all types), over 5,000 became combat losses. By contrast there were more than 18,000 B-24s (all types), more than 9000 lost and about 12,000 issued to the USAAF.
But LH isn’t only impressed by Boeing airplanes. IIRC, they are still restoring, to flight condition a Lockheed Super Connie, L-1049 (or is she a L-1649?) in the US state of Maine, and some years ago they fully restored, to flight condition a Ju-52.
Plumbing) I should have phrased my question differently:
How high is parts comonality over the 707&135 range of frames.?
i.e. what cost could be loaded on the 135 side while fixing itches
on the 707 too ( and it gave pricing power, see my question further up )
I don’t think the planes that bombed german towns had any impact
on postwar fleet selection.
Prewar and postwar LH seems to have utilised the full range
of metal ( and canvas )available:
But LH Boeing postwar relations were said to “have something”.
But going by LH’s ways I think that was more related to being able
to influence the manufacturer in a positive way than anything else.
Lufthansa seems to be very immersive with their fleet suppliers
and the technical/maintainance arm of Lufthansa was always strong.
(Getting their A380 out of XFW fast was due to LH-Technik helping out there )
Uwe, even though the KC-135 and B-707 were very different airplanes, they still shared a lot of common parts. For example, the KC-135, B-707-120/-220 and B-720s (non “B” models) all had the same wing, flap system (the B-707s did not share the same fillet flap as the B-720 and KC-135 did), flight controls, hydraulic and electrical systems, nose section (it was some 4″ narrower on the KC-135, but otherwise the same), cockpit windows and window heat, landing gear follow-up doors, horizontial and vertical tail surfaces, water injection system, landing lights, and a few other parts I cannot remember right now. The B-707-320B/C (yes a few B-707-320Bs had cargo doors, apparently, all with NW) had the same cargo door as the KC-135, but with windows cut into it.
Congress and the Air Force was very sensitive about the common parts between the B-707s and KC-135 parts and who paid for what parts that were manufactured. Boeing had to keep meticulous records, and the USAF audited them often. That was a USAF contract agreement with Boeing. Apparently Boeing did a good job as I have never read about any problems.
Scott, on the subject “Airline Books” there is one here that might be of particular interest:
A lovely memoir of fifties & reviving my own memories of 707 long haul flights in the sixties, whilst I am not qualified to confidently comment on many of the numerous US statistics, I question the following blatent error:
(Two British turboprop models are already in operation: the Vickers Viscount, a two-engine plane, and the four-engine Bristol Britannia.)
If still manufacturing messrs Vickers (Armstrong) would be most upset to see their excellent four engined Dart turboprop described as having two powerplants..
Thanks for that great article. I like the picture of William Allen and Bruce Connelly standing in the cabin. Looks very modern even today.
Here’s a concise article of the differences of the 707 family- http://www.airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=72
I was NOT made responsible for sales to LH until 1972, so I was not part of
the Boeing team during the 707 negotiations, but let me assure you that LH
was one of the toughest and demanding airlines I ever dealt with for almost
20+ years and let me also assure you and others, that our aircraft acquired
a much better quality, because of the many LH requests for major improve-
ments to our aircraft, over the over many years I worked with them!
However, I have to admit, that after Airbus came into the picture in the late
70’s with the A310, my job became increasingly tougher, not only because
of the challenges from Airbus, but because most of the requests/demands
I submitted to Boeing from LH, were either responded to with words like:
“those G-damned “Crouts” always think they know better, or, “they must be
passing our ideas on to Airbus and eventually, after I persisted, with painful
remarks like,”who’s side are you really on, Rudy?”
After I tried to convince Boeing for years, based on LH Earnst Simon
inputs, that the CFM-56 was an ideal engine for future 737 a/p’s, which
Boeing refused to even look into. This caused LH to purchase 23 + 24
option 737-200ADV a/p’s in 1979, urgently required for growth and to re-
place their 22 small/”old” and inefficient 737-100s in their fleet!
Guess what, before we even delivered the first 737-200ADV a/p to LH in
late 1981, Boeing launched the CFM-56 powered 737-300 in 1981, after
CFMI suddenly offered to reduced the fan-diameter f the CFM-56 engine to
enable Boeing to instal the engine underneath the 737 wing, without major
structural changes to the landing gear/wing, something Boeing had not
asked them to do earlier, as far as I could determine!
The same with the 737-400, which LH asked Boeing to launch BEFORE
the A320 could be launched by Airbus, because they had already pur-
chased several dozen 737-300s and because they wanted Airbus to do
the A330/340 before the A320, because LH urgently wanted to get rid of
their “door-blowing” DC10-30’s ASAP!
Had Boeing agreed to the LH request, the A320 would NOT have put Air-
bus solidly and earlier on the aircraft manufacturers map with the A320
and, we would have beaten the A340 with the 777 anyway!
Lastly, LH loudly protested the 747-300, as being a “CHEAP MONEY
SAVING PROGRAM FOR BOEING,” pointing out that many new “two-
man cockpit technologies” were already on the market, to make an
improved 747 a/p a much more efficient a/p for the airlines and thus, for
Boeing, compared to the “low-cost-fix” 747-300!
However, Boeing refused to comply with the request, for being “NOT
LH in desperation, than mustered several 747 operators to come to Ham-
burg and got them all to agree and force Boeing to offer an updated 747
with a “two-man cockpit” and several other new features, including eng.’s.
To their surprise and annoyance, at a subsequent meeting in Seattle with
most of the above mentioned 747 operators present, including LH,
BOEING AGAIN REFUSED to comply with the request, based on the same
“NOT COST EFFECTIVE defense!”
BA than called another 747 operators meeting in London and demanded
that Boeing to appear with a high level team of Boeing executives, in a
last-minute effort to force Boeing to comply with their request to make the
requested changes to the 747, or they would expose Boeing to the Press,
for being unprepared to make the changes to the 747 for purely selfish
financial reasons, while knowingly robbing the 747 operators of the major
operating-cost savings with the new “two-man cockpit” 747!
Joe Sutter was clearly NOT very happy to be put in such a difficult po-
sition at the London conference, but what I did know at that time, was the
fact that “T” had issued an edict, which said: “Show me the competition for
the 747 and I will allocate the monies to improve it, or otherwise, forget it!”
After several members of the Boeing team at the London meeting again
tried to talk the airlines into giving up on the “NOT COST EFFECTIVE
MODS,” strongly angering the airline representatives, Joe Sutter finally got
up and told the airlines that: “If you want to pay for a higher costs 747,
than I will try and get Boeing Management to approve the changes to the a/p.
It took another visit by a high-level LH delegation to Seattle, before Boeing
Management finally agreed to offer the 747-400, which not only revived the
747 program, but enabled THE AIRLINES AND BOEING to benefit substan-
tially from the much more modern and efficient 747-400 AND prevent Airbus
from even thinking about offering the A380, as a competitor to the 747,
much earlier than it did in 2003.
that is a very interesting facet of history you have shown here.
I think I can understand your path quite a bit better now.
I’ve met a similar stance in interaction with Atari management
in the 1986..1990 timeframe. High and mighty and completely
ignoring their customer base ( Atari sold ~50% of their goods
to Germany ) while spouting a pronounced NIH syndrome and
living in the bliss of personal exceptionalism.
Atari became meaningless soon after.
The thing that vanished was professionalism that allowed synergetic
prosperity. The new trend was “f* the customer for all you can get.
( What I mentioned elsewhere: from productive/expansive to redistributive )
Was the turningpoint the ascendancy of an actor to the US presidency?
All is show on a Papier-mâché stage front?
Hi Rudy, thank you for a very interesting insight. Why am I not surprised by the responses from “The Deciders”. This quote certainly made my day: 😉
Uwe, you may be onto something there. That actor who was elected POTUS in 1980 was ‘pro-business’ and defeated a peanut farmer who was clearly in the deep end and under water. Of course the Iranian hostage crises did not help, except to expand the planting of the peanut crop for 1981.
The disrespect Boeing showed towards LH (and I’m sure most other airlines not based in the US), may be more of the “ugly-American” syndrome, and our tendency to think we know better than the rest of the world. That may infact lead to Airbus’s accend in the commerical airplane market as much as the products they offered from the 1980s through today.
It was not until the global economic problems, I think, that began in 2008 that both the US and the EU have been brought down a few notches, and mostly by the Chinese. Although new build airplane sales have been (relitively) strong, both Boeing and Airbus seem to be scrambling to shore up and protect the future of their respective companies. This shows most in the NEO and MAX programs, as they are both improvements of exsisting airplanes, and not a big step forward in technology, save the engines.
Yes, the A-380, A-350 and the B-787 are indeed the next step in the evoloution of airplane design, none of them are the game changer the B-707 was to the flying public or the airlines. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s just about every major airline had to have the B-707 or DC-8 in their fleets to remain competive. Douglas and Boeing sold a combined 1500+ of them, and the flying public could easily recongnise if their trip was on a B-707 or DC-8 (even if they couldn’t tell them apart) over a Super Connie, DC-6, or Electra, which just looked “old” to John Q. Public. Today, most of the public cannot tell the difference between an A-300, A-310, A-320, A-330, B-737, B-757, B-767, or B-787. To them they all are just big twin jets. Then again, maybe it is because the public is more concerned over getting to their destination, and getting e-mails on their smart phones than they are of which airplane they are in or even what airline they are on.
When I worked at DFW Airport, it was not uncommon for us to get a call asking what time their relitives would land, and if they could go out to the “runway” to pick them up. When told they couldn’t go out to the “runway”, they just couldn’t understand, after all isn’t it just like picking them up at a bus stop? When asked for the airline and flight number, all to often the response was they are flying on the “big airplane” and the airline is “DFW”, in a very condesending response, like we should already know when “Uncle Harry” would arrive as well as his seat number. Names were almost always given by the person’s first name, sometimes with the relationship of that person, and sometimes it was just “Grandpa and Grandma”. A few would know the airline, but not the flight number, and simply respond by saying it is “American”. Those responses we would get for “Southwest” we would try to refer to DAL, but they could not understand why their relitive would land “at the wrong airport”.
Airplanes diverted from DFW to another airport due to weather factors (or any other factor) became a whole new game, as we would often be told the weather was clear and sunny looking outside the window from their kitchen, or can’t they just land on another runway, you have lots of them?
“That’s an interesting story Rudy. I hope it will be included in “The Challenges
of a Boeing Salesman”. And how is the book coming?”
Thank you the book is finally coming together, for completion in 2012.
Yes, my comments above, about the increasingly important influences LH had
on the development of many Boeing aircraft, will be a big part of my book, de-
tailing the enormously fascinating personal experiences I had, while represent-
ing Boeing in Middle & Eastern Europe for almost 20 years, They will be high-
lighted by the sale of the first Boeing 727s to Yugoslavia behind the (soft) Iron
Curtain in 1973, culminating in the sale of three 767s to LOT Polish National
Airlines in Poland, the first Western built wide-body aircraft ever sold behind
the Iron Curtain, strongly opposed by the USSR before the Curtain came down
in 1989! I was awarded The Boeing “Pride in Excellence Award” for this unique
campaign, before I proudly retired in 1989.
“That may in fact lead to Airbus’s ascend in the commercial airplane market as
much as the products they offered from the 1980s through today.”
You bet Yah, the second part of my book, will explain in great detail, how and
why Boeing sadly and unnecessarily lost its preeminent position in the com-
mercial aviation world to Airbus!
“Hi Rudy, thank you for a very interesting insight. Why am I not surprised by the
responses from “The Deciders”. This quote certainly made my day(sunny face)
Thank you OV, you comment made my day!
One very critical issue NOT mentioned in connection with the launch of the
707, was the fact that in 1952, the US Government levied additional “War
Profit Taxes” on programs which had benefitted in a major way from mili-
tary contracts in connection with the Korean War, like the B-47!
In addition, the certainty that the B-52, for which Boeing had just won the
follow-up contract to the B-47, would soon require a much larger and faster
tanker-transport aircraft, compared to the existing KC-97s, which caused Bill
Allen to make the somewhat speculative decision to invest $16.- in the B367
-80 tanker-transport prototype, instead of paying the same amount or more
in “War Profit Taxes” to the US Government, a perfectly legal tax procedure!
It is interesting to wonder, therefore, whether Boeing Management would
ever have made the same speculative decision to build the -80 prototype, if
Boeing had NOT won the B-52 contract, but another US manufacturer and
if the “War Profit Taxes” on the B-47 contract, had NOT been levied?
I believe that it is not at all certain, that under the above scenario, BCA would
have become the pre-eminent commercial aircraft builder in the whole world
and the pride of all of us, at the end of the last century. Lucky you and me!
Thanks Rudy, I had completely forgotten about the war profit tax and the effect it had on commerical product developement and production. Indeed the ocean liner SS United States, built by Newport News Shipbuilding in 1952, fell into that problem as she was developed with a lot of help from the US Navy, and even used the US Navy developed steam turbine engines from the USS Iowa class of Battleships of WWII. Because of that her owners and builders had to design in features for her rapid conversion to a fast troop ship, had she ever been needed for that.
Since the B-367-80 was not a government developed prototype the B-707 program was exempt from the tax, as you pointed out. But the original turbo-jet P&W J-57-P11 engines (later changed to the J-57-59W) had to be bought through government resources, at commerical prices could have been considered a program that benefitted from a government program. Indeed, P&W had to pay this tax which was passed onto Boeing in the price per engine. These same engines would later become the commerical JT-3C series of engines. The J-57-P11, as you know powered the B-52D/E bombers, and used water injection to increase take-off thrust by almost 2,000 lbs per engine. The -80 also used water injection before she was reengined, again, with the turbo-fan JT-3D engine, the commerical version of the military TF-33.
The B-52 design was about 2 years ahead of the B-367-80 which was influenced by the big 8 engined bomber, but also had features early B-52s did not have. One of the most important was the “wet wing” which held the fuel. The “wet wing” was a carry-over from the piston powered airplanes of the day, but the B-52 did not have that feature until the B-52F began production in 1956, and carried-over to the series final models the B-52G/H.
By then, the first “child” born from the -80 program, the KC-135A was already in production, and the B-707-120 was about to enter production.
One interesting question I have always had about the B-367-80 test program was what effect “Tex” Johnson’s famous barrel roll over the the Lake Washington boat races in August 1955 had on the sales of the B-707 to the airlines. When I was in the USAF, it had always been rumored that (then) SAC Commander General Curt LeMay was so impressed with the manuver he added 100 more KC-135s to the contract Boeing already had for 29 of the new tankers, and this “demonstration” is really what killed off the Lockheed contract for a new jet tanker. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall in Bill Allen’s office the next day when he ‘talked’ to Johnson about his demonstration.
I am sure many USAF pilots and SAC Commander General Curt LeMay, were
impressed with the-80 “Barrel Roll” performed by “Tex” Johnson’s over the
Lake Washington hydrofoil-boat races, as were military fighter pilots!
A recent book, primarily about the Comet, even claimed that it was the-80
barrel-roll which put Boeing and the 707 program on the commercial aviation
map, im-plying that without it, the 707 would never have made it!
Ofcourse it was not immediately know to the general public, nor the aviation
press, that Tex never told anybody at Boeing or anybody else, that he was
going to make the barrel-roll, until he performed the stunt, causing CEO Bill
Allen to grab for his heart tablets and subsequently to almost fire him!
I have experienced the opposite and feel the same way, i.e. that most, if not
all people in commercial aviation worldwide and at the highest level, expres-
sed strong disapproval of the-80 “stunt,” because no commercial a/p should
ever make a barrel-roll, nor be required to make one.
By “officially” performing one low above a crowd of people during nationally
publicized annual boating event and getting worldwide publicity for it, only
appeared to confirm that the Boeing Company had obviously NOT shaken
it’s military habits and causing the stunt to actually work against our com-
mercial aviation interests!
But fortunately, it soon blew over and again, the rest is part of a proud history!
In 1961 and 1964 Lufthansa lost one 720 each during training flights.
For both interesting rumors are around on the actual cause.
Thanks Rudy. That makes sense.
I am impressed with your memory and your direct access to aviation files
from 50 years ago!
I was not inGermany at the time of the 720 accidents in 1964, but let me
assure you that it was an enormous blow to Lh’s AND overall German
pride in their “new” national airline!
I was subsequently told unofficially, that the accidents were a direct result
of “bravado” maneuvers by the LH training pilots, when they performed
exactly the same “barrel roll” performed by Tex Johnson over Lake WA
They were obviously NOT as experienced as Tex and rolled the a/p’s too
fast, causing one or more engines to breakaway from their wing, with
Why this happened twice within a short time with two 720s from the same
airline, only made the accident even more embarrassing to ALL Germans!
One positive result of the accidents, was a complete overhaul and tight-
ening of the LH pilot-training procedures, which made LH one of the
major and most respected airlines in the world today, which started the
now 26 member and largest of them all, “STAR ALLIANCE”!
I don’t see the “All Germans” aspect. With only three crew dead each time I see
both incident as people being not big enough for their boots.
Tex was a qualified and long time experienced _test_pilot while these 6 were
new to jets ( maybe having wartime fighter experience?, No idea ).
As far as I have read up on the incidents ( born in 57 ) it was kept low in the press
at the time. Rumours persisted that in 61 LH pilots tried to do a looping though.
At the time the skies over Germany raining F104 Starfighters and the attached
political implications inclusive of the Lockheed bribing affair had much more
prominence in the press ( providing some shielding for LH?).
Further LH development shows that the loss was long time costeffective ;-?
LH seems to have done the “right things” most of the time:
LH, LH-Technik, Amadeus, Star-Alliance