This promotional film by Boeing features the Model 707 Stratotanker / Stratoliner, America's first jet transport. Known as the Boeing 367-80, or simply as the Dash 80, this American four-engine prototype aircraft tail # N70700 demonstrated the advantages of jet propulsion for commercial aviation. It served as base for the design of the KC-135 tanker and the 707 airliner. Some of the design features of the aircraft were pioneered in the B-52 aircraft.
The film shows many of the features of the aircraft and its assembly before showing taxi tests at 9:53, and then the first flight on July 15, 1954 with pilot Tex Johnston and co-pilot Richard L. “Dix” Loesch at the controls, at 10:30. Celebrations are seen following a successful flight and landing, with the plane then flown above 42,000 feet in the coming days. The jet age had arrived.
The swept wing Dash 80 first flew in 1954, less than two years from project launch. Its US$16 million cost was an enormous risk for Boeing, which at the time had no committed customers. Only one example was built, which has been preserved and is currently on public display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.
As the first of a new generation of passenger jets, Boeing wanted the aircraft's model number to emphasize the difference from its previous propeller-driven aircraft which bore 300-series numbers. The 400-, 500- and 600-series were already used by missiles and other products, so Boeing decided that the jets would bear 700-series numbers, and the first would be the 707. Boeing had studied developments of its existing Model 367 (the KC-97 Stratofreighter) incorporating swept wings and podded engines; and chose to build the 367-80, which retained little of the KC-97 except the upper fuselage diameter (and the possibility of building some of the fuselage with existing tooling). Although the design was announced publicly as the Model 707, the prototype was referred to within Boeing simply as the Dash 80 or "-80".
The Dash 80 fuselage was wide enough at 132 inches (3.35 m) for five-abreast seating; two on one side of the aisle and three on the other. The fuselage diameter for the production KC-135 was widened to 144 inches (3.66 m) and Boeing originally hoped to build the 707 fuselage with that width. By the time the Boeing company committed to production, the decision had been made to design the production model 707 as a six-abreast design, with a larger 148 inches (3.76 m) diameter fuselage, after C.R. Smith, CEO of American Airlines, told Boeing he wouldn't buy the 707 unless it was an inch wider than the then-proposed Douglas DC-8 passenger jet. This decision did not unduly delay introduction of the production model since the -80 had been largely hand-built, using little production tooling.
By early 1952 the designs were complete and in April the Boeing board approved the program. Construction of the Dash 80 started in November in a walled-off section of Boeing's Renton plant.[ As a proof of concept prototype there was no certification and no production line and most of the parts were custom built. The aircraft was not fitted with an airline cabin; a plywood lining housed the instrumentation for the flight test program.
The Dash 80 rolled out of the factory on May 15, 1954, two years after the project was approved and 18 months after construction had started. During a series of taxi trials the port landing gear collapsed on May 22; the damage was quickly repaired and the first flight was on July 15, 1954.
Following flights revealed a propensity to "Dutch roll" - an alternating yawing and rolling motion. Boeing already had experience with this on the B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress and had developed a yaw damper system on the B-47 that could be adapted to the Dash 80. Other problems were found with the engines and brakes, the latter once failing completely on landing causing the aircraft to overshoot the runway.
Boeing used the Dash 80 on demonstration flights for airline executives and other industry figures. These focused attention on the question of what the cabin of a passenger jet should look like. In a departure from its usual practice Boeing hired industrial design firm Walter Dorwin Teague to create a cabin as radical as the aircraft itself.
Prior to demonstration for passenger airlines, the Dash 80 was fitted with Boeing's Flying Boom for aerial refueling which served as a prototype for the KC-135 Stratotanker and its later derivatives.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com