July 20, 1969 is the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I vaguely remember watching. What an astounding accomplishment for humanity and the U.S.
Two fun articles:
- Apollo 11 anniversary: The day America landed on the moon.
- ‘ONE GIANT LEAP’ Apollo 11’s historic trip to the moon marks its 45th anniversary
July 15, 1954 is the day the Boeing 707 took its first flight. The decisions made after the first flight revolutionized air travel.
I knew very little of the 707’s history ‘till reading this:
- The 707 is 60 (great photos, better history)
Before the 707, Boeing had nice sales to the military but was an also-ran in the commercial market. Lockheed, and to a far bigger degree, Douglas owned that world.
Until the 707.
The initial variation wasn’t wide enough for 6 seats. In a fateful decision, Boeing decided to rework their designs, manufacturing equipment, and production line.
They added enough width to get 6 seats for American and got a big order (50 at the time). Then they added length for another customer, larger wings for another, more powerful engines for another, and Rolls Royce engines for BOAC. Any way you wanted a 707, you could get it.
All of a sudden, every airline was buying 707s.
Since that time, the name Boeing essentially has been the definition of commercial jet.
From 1956 to 1966, Boeing took over the commercial market, not only with the 707 that everyone wanted, but the 737 (>7,000 delivered, >4,500 in service today) and 747 (1,486 delivered). Think of that – in a decade, the 707, 737, and 747. A 60 year production run and going strong.
What an amazing run.
Two very nice anniversaries this week of the astounding progress in the past.
Human ingenuity is fabulous.
(hat tip: behindtheblack.com, main stop for my aviation and space news)