The story

Launch of Boeing 247 - History


(3/20/33) On March 20th, United Airlines began flying the new Boeing 247. The Boeing was the first all metal mono-plane using a stress skin. The Boeing 247 had a cruising speed of 155 mph, with a range of 485 miles. It could carry 10 passengers.

Boeing 247D

The Boeing 247 is considered to be the first modern airliner. Its sleek, low-wing, all-metal, retractable-gear, twin-engine design marked the beginning of a new era in air transport. It was comparatively fast, safe, and economical to operate, which allowed the 247 to outperform its predecessors -- most notably, the Boeing Model 80A-1 and Ford Tri-Motor.

The 247 incorporated several other technical innovations that set it ahead of the curve in terms of passenger comfort and ease of operation. The cabin was insulated to suppress noise and regulate temperature. The pneumatic wing de-icer boots allowed for in-flight deicing. Trim tabs greatly reduced pilot workload. With these features, the 247 greatly outdistanced its competition in the burgeoning air transport market.

A total of 75 Model 247s were built, with United Air Lines (UAL) securing exclusive rights to the first 60 units. In response to UAL's cornering of the 247 market, rival TWA turned to Douglas Aircraft to request a new plane that could compete with, and possibly even outperform, the Model 247. The result of this challenge was the development of one of the most significant planes in aviation history, the Douglas DC-3.

The Museum's Boeing 247 was delivered to Pacific Air Transport, a UAL company, on July 26, 1933. It later flew with Pennsylvania Central Airlines, then with the Canadian Department of Munitions and Royal Canadian Air Force from 1940 to 1941. After serving with Maritime Central Airways in Canada and Columbia Airlines in the U.S., the aircraft was sold to Aerovias Occidentales, S.A. in Costa Rica, where a nose-over accident led to a two-year grounding. The plane eventually returned to the United States in the 1950s, flying as a crop-duster and cloud-seeding machine under several owners.

By the 1960s, it was again grounded, this time in Taft, California. Acquired by the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation (the predecessor of The Museum of Flight), the plane was repaired and returned to its Seattle birthplace, where it flew at Northwest airshows in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Grounded once again for a variety of issues, it was thoroughly restored in the early 1990s and maintained an airworthy condition until its final flight on April 26, 2016, from Paine Field in Everett to Boeing Field.


Boeing 247-D

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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Boeing 247-D

Air transport twin engine monoplane.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image are the nose and engine of the Boeing 247-D.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is an American flag painted on the engine of the Boeing 247-D.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is the engine of the Boeing 247-D.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is the wing of the Boeing 247-D.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a Air Express logo of the Boeing 247-D.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a engine on the fuselage of the Boeing 247-D.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a engine on the fuselage of the Boeing 247-D.

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IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2.

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IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a wheel of the Boeing 247-D.

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IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image are the vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer of the Boeing 247-D.

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IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image are the vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer of the Boeing 247-D.

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IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a hatch door on the Boeing 247-D.

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IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image are the vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer of the Boeing 247-D.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a world painted on the fuselage of the Boeing 247-D.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a world painted on the fuselage of the Boeing 247-D.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is the UAL emblem painted on the fuselage of the Boeing 247-D.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a fuselage of the Douglas DC-2.

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This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is a wing of the Boeing 247-D.

Paul Garber with Boeing 247-D

Paul Garber stands next to the Boeing 247-D Adaptable Annie after it was transferred to the Museum in 1953. It was the first 247-D built. Roscoe Turner flew it in the MacRoberston Race from England to Australia in 1934, and then it was delivered to United Airlines.

Boeing 247-D

The first production Boeing 247-D, on display in America by Air. This aircraft was used by Col. Roscoe Turner and Clyde Pangborn in the famous 1934 England-to-Australia International Air Derby, better known as the MacRobertson Race. It placed third overall and second in the transport category.

Boeing Model 247D, America by Air

Boeing 247-D

The world’s first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. With its sleek, low-wing, all-metal construction retractable landing gear and supercharged, air-cooled engines, the Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors.

Boeing 247-D

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933.

Boeing 247 American Flag

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is an engine with an American flag on a Boeing 247.

Boeing 247 Engine and Propeller

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image are the engine and propellers of the Boeing 247.

Boeing 247 Engine

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is an engine of the Boeing 247.

Boeing 247 Air Express logo

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is an Air Express logo on the Boeing 247.

Boeing 247 Nose

Justly labeled the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. The Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. Highlighted in this image is the open nose of the Boeing 247.

The world’s first modern airliner, the Boeing 247 revolutionized air transportation when it entered service with United Air Lines in 1933. With its sleek, low-wing, all-metal construction retractable landing gear and supercharged, air-cooled engines, the Boeing 247 was 50 percent faster than its competitors. Its innovative design launched a new generation of commercial airliners, notably the Douglas DC-2. The Boeing 247-D version pioneered the use of controllable-pitch propellers and wing de-icer boots.

The airplane on display above is the first production 247-D. Roscoe Turner and Clyde Pangborn flew it in the 1934 England-to-Australia International Air Derby, better known as the MacRobertson Race. The airplane placed third overall and second in the transport category, completing the 18,180-kilometer (11,300-mile) journey in just under 93 hours. It was returned to United Air Lines and flown as the airline’s flagship until replaced by DC-3s.

The airplane is displayed with its racing numeral, NR 257Y, and its commercial registration, NC 13369.

Transferred from the Civil Aeronautics Authority

Weight, gross:6,192 kg (13,650 lb)

Weight, empty:4,055 kg (8,940 lb)

Engine:2 Pratt & Whitney Wasp S1H1-G, 550 hp

Manufacturer:Boeing Airplane Co., Seattle, Wash., 1934

The National Air and Space Museums Boeing 247D is important both as an aircraft type and as a famous plane in its own right. It was flown in the 1934 MacRobertson England-Australia Race by famed racing pilot Roscoe Turner and Clyde Pangborn, finishing in third place it then went on to three other productive careers before being given to the museum.

The first Boeing 247 made its initial flight on February 8, 1933, and the plane’s performance confirmed the wisdom of what had been to that date a daring gamble on the part of Boeing’s management. Three key men—President Phillip G. Johnson, Vice President Claire Egtvedt, and Chief Engineer C. N. Monteith — chose to develop the transport potential of their successful Boeing B-9 twin-engine bomber rather than stick to the orthodox trimotor and biplane design of the day.

The group of United Airlines predecessors (Boeing Air Transport, Pacific Air Transport, National Air Transport, and Varney Air Lines) determined to replace its entire fleet by ordering sixty of the 247s, thereby gaining a tremendous advantage over competitors, for the new airplane had made all other transports obsolete overnight.

The all-metal, low-wing 247 combined a retractable landing gear, two supercharged air-cooled engines, and, in later models, controllable pitch propellers, with totally new standards in passenger comfort. The ten passengers and three crew members enjoyed excellent soundproofing, a low vibration level, plush seats, and, for the first time, cabin air conditioning.

On May 22, 1933, the new 247 entered crosscountry service, making the journey from San Francisco to New York in 19 1/2 hours, compared to the previous 27-hour air travel time.

Curiously, the inability of other airlines to obtain the 247 worked to Boeing and United’s net disadvantage, for Trans World Airlines went to Douglas for a competitive aircraft, and the result was the famous DC series, which made the 247, in turn, obsolete.

The original 247 had a top speed of 182 mph and cruised at 1 70 mph compared to the 115 mph of the Ford Tn-motor then in general use. Boeing attempted to match the Douglas aircraft by creating the 247D, an improved version with a 200mph top speed and 189-mph cruise. Earlier 247s were modified to 247D standards, but the airplane did not have the necessary growth potential to compete and was soon relegated to shorter route segments and smaller airlines.

The museum’s aircraft made its first flight on September 5. 1934. It was leased from United by Turner and modified with extra fuel tanks to provide a range of more than 2,500 miles for the 1934 MacRobertson Race. Turner, Pangborn, and Reeder Nichols took off from Mildenhall, England on October 20, 1934, and landed 92 hours, 55 minutes, and 30 seconds later at Melbourne, Australia, finishing in third place. The race was won by an English de Havilland DH 88 Comet: second place went to a KLM-operated Douglas DC-2.

The 247 had an actual flying time of a little over eighty-five hours for the 11,300-mile distance and might have finished second were it not for some engine problems and a three-hour navigational error.

The airplane was returned to United where it served in regular airline service until 1937, when it was sold to the Union Electric Company of St. Louis for use as an executive transport. In 1939 it was purchased by the Department of Commerce Air Safety Board (CAS), which used it for fourteen years before presenting it to the museum in 1953. The aircraft served so well in so many experiments with the CAS that it received the affectionate nickname "Adaptable Annie.

To highlight the most interesting aspects of the 247’s career, the airplane is displayed with two sets of markings. The left side is marked as it was when flown by Colonel Turner in 1934, carrying the NR-257y registration the right side is marked as the aircraft was flown by United, with the NC 13369 registration.

The original gray anodized aluminum finish of the 247 was badly weatherworn, and it was necessary to repaint it in a color as near to the original as possible. Fortunately, the two engine cowlings and the vertical tail surface were in relatively good condition, and they were left in their original unpainted anodized finish.

In 1974 United Air Lines made a grant that permitted the National Air and Space Museum to have the aircraft restored to its present status by CNC Industries, Camp Springs, Maryland.


Museum of Flight Completes Final Boeing 247D Flight

SEATTLE — 83 years after its successful delivery, the world’s oldest Boeing 247D returned back to Boeing Field, and landed for the last time at the Museum of Flight.

Considered to be the first “modern” airliner at the time, the Boeing 247 incorporated advances such as an all-metal construction in anodized aluminum, a fully cantilevered wing and a retractable landing gear. Other advanced features included control trim tabs, an autopilot and de-icing boots for the wings and tailplane.

The restored Boeing 247 wears now the 1930s livery fo United Air Lines. (Credits: Author)

The airliner was powered by two air-cooled, supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-1340-S1H1-G Wasp 9-cylinder radial engines, rated at 600 horsepower at 2,250 r.p.m. at 6,200 feet (1,890 meters). They drove three-bladed Hamilton Standard constant-speed propellers through a 3:2 gear reduction. The 247 was 50 mph faster than its contemporaries, and could climb on one engine with a full load.

The Boeing 247 had a maximum speed of 200 miles per hour (321.9 kilometers per hour) with a cruising speed of 188 miles per hour (302.6 kilometers per hour. It had a range of 745 miles (1,199 kilometers) and a service ceiling of 25,400 feet (7,742 meters).

Construction and First Flight

The airplane was built at Boeing’s Oxbow factory on the Duwamish River, then barged to Boeing Field where it was assembled and tested. The 247 was originally dubbed “Skymaster” but this was soon dropped.

The Boeing 247 Production Line. (Credits: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

The first 247 took off on February 8, 1933, commanded by Boeing test pilot Leslie R. (“Les”) Tower and United Air Lines Captain Louis C. Goldsmith at Boeing Field. Two months after the first flight, the first production 247, NC13301, was placed in service with United Air Lines, which took delivery of ten of the type.

This postcard illustration shows the interior arrangement of a Boeing 247. (Credits: United Airlines)

The aircraft belonging to the Museum of Flight, registered as N13347 (MSN 1729) was delivered on July 26, 1933 to Pacific Air Transport, which was at that time a division of Boeing Air Transport. Just nine months later, the plane was integrated into the new United Airlines, and flew until mid-1935, when it was sold to Pennsylvania Central Airlines, predecessor of Capital Airlines.

The airliner found a home in Canada in 1940, when it was acquired by the Canadian Department of Munitions and registered it as CF-BTD. Soon, it was transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force under s/n 7839. In 1945, it returned to the United States, now under the ownership of Columbia Airlines, and after a few years of service, the 247 was sold to Costa Rican carrier Aerovias Occidentales in 1951. It carreer with the Central American airline was short, as it was damaged on January 3, 1952.

The aircraft spent the next two years stranded in Costa Rica while it was repaired, and eventually returned to the United States in December 1954, now as a crop duster operated by Marsh Aircraft. Two years later it was purchased by Precipitation Control of Taft, California, and used to seed clouds in order to create rain. This was the last operator of the aircraft before being acquired by the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation (now known as Museum of Flight).

To date, only four of these aircraft are still in existence. All of them belonging to museum collections in the UK, Canada and the United States. N13347 was the last one ever to soar the skies.

A Special Crew for the Last Flight

The crew selected for the last flight was comprised by Mike Carriker and copilot Chad Lundy, both former Boeing test pilots. The aircraft made the 15-minute hop down from Paine Field in Everett to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle on a nice sunny afternoon. At the arrival, the aircraft was greeted to a crowd of several hundred people, who came down around noon to watch this plane make its final landing.

Talking with Carriker—being known as the former chief test pilot on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—he said that the flight was smooth. When asked to compare the Boeing 247D with the 787, he chuckled and explained how much more complicated it was to start the engines on this aircraft and what made the 787 easier, however this was more fun of a flight, especially being a tail dragger.

Mike Carriker talks with Museum officials after arriving in Seattle. (Credits: Author)

The Museum plans to place the Boeing 247D on permanent display next to its competitor, the Douglas DC-2, in the Aviation Pavilion in the winter. Meanwhile, the aircraft will be standing in the form of the Museum throughout the summer.


Boeing 747

The Boeing 747 is a widebody commercial airliner, often referred to by the nickname "Jumbo Jet". It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft,and was the first widebody ever produced. Manufactured by Boeing's Commercial Airplane unit in the US, the original version of the 747 was two and a half times the size of the Boeing 707,one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s. First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years.

Everything Boeing 747-8

747-8 Photos

The four-engine 747 uses a double deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions. Boeing designed the 747's hump-like upper deck to serve as a first class lounge or (as is the general rule today) extra seating, and to allow the aircraft to be easily converted to a cargo carrier by removing seats and installing a front cargo door. Boeing did so because the company expected supersonic airliners, whose development was announced in the early 1960s, to render the 747 and other subsonic airliners obsolete, but that the demand for subsonic cargo aircraft would be robust into the future. The 747 in particular was expected to become obsolete after 400 were sold but it exceeded its critics' expectations with production passing the 1,000 mark in 1993. As of October 2008, 1,409 aircraft had been built, with 115 more in various configurations on order.

The 747-8 officially announced in 2005, the 747-8 is the fourth-generation Boeing 747 version, with lengthened fuselage, redesigned wings and improved efficiency. The 747-8 is the largest 747 version, the largest commercial aircraft built in the United States, and the longest passenger aircraft in the world.

The 747-8 is offered in two main variants: the 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8I) for passengers and the 747-8 Freighter (747-8F) for cargo. The first 747-8F performed the model's maiden flight on February 8, 2010 with the 747-8 Intercontinental following on March 20, 2011.

The 747 is to be replaced by the Boeing Y3 (part of the Boeing Yellowstone Project) in the future.


“I can feel that on the NASA-Boeing team, there is a deep passion for spaceflight and doing what it takes to have a successful mission,” said Fincke. “I am glad to be on this team.”

NASA said it could aim for late 2021 for the crewed flight if OFT-2 is a success. Following that would come the first operational flight to the ISS, Starliner-1, with astronauts Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Jeanette Epps plus Koichi Wakata with the Japanese space agency JAXA.

“We’re feeling very confident in the software with the success of end-to-end testing,” Vollmer said. “This campaign is about more than just our next mission. We’re working to ensure the safety and success of all future Starliner flights for NASA and every commercial customer to come.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated Boeing’s uncrewed OFT-1 flight came before SpaceX’s uncrewed Demo-1 test flight. Demo-1 occurred in January 2019 while the Starliner OFT-1 flight occurred in December 2019.


Countdown to Launch: The Boeing 737 MAX Timeline

MIAMI — As the Boeing 737 MAX is about to carry out its maiden voyage, Airways takes a look at the history of the program, which officially launched with Boeing’s Board of Directors giving the go ahead on August 30, 2011.

The first Boeing 737 MAX was dubbed the “Spirit of Renton” (Photo: Paul Thompson)

About a decade ago, Boeing started to work on the development of a clean-sheet replacement for the Boeing 737. The project, known as Project Yellowstone (Y1), was devised as a a smaller version of the 787 Dreamliner, boasting a carbon fiber fuselage and double aisle. in 2011, the project was finally shelved for various reasons, including being unable to find a feasible method to scale down the carbon fiber fuselage. Although, Boeing intends to have a clean-sheet replacement for the Boeing 737 by 2030.

Patent Drawing of Boeing’s Yellowstone Y-1 Aircraft Concept. (Credits: USPTO)

In 2010, Boeing’s competitor Airbus decided to go ahead with its A320neo program. The ‘neo’ suffix stands for “new engine option”, which brings two new engine models produced by Pratt & Whitney and CFM, and also includes upgrades to the current A320ceo (current engine option) which is intended to replace. The program posed a threat to the future of the Boeing 737 program, especially as Airbus received positive feedback from its customers. The program definitely increased the pressure on Boeing.

The 737 Goes Back to the Drawing Board

The manufacturer realized that airlines wanted more fuel efficiency above anything else. So, the decision was made to make upgrades to the Boeing 737 Next-Generation, from which the MAX would be devised with three variants: the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9. These are based on the 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900, all of them variants of the current 737 Next-Generation family aircraft.

Artist’s rendering of the Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft. (Credits: Boeing)

Among the proposed improvements to the 737 MAX included a new powerplant, selecting the new CFM LEAP-1B engine, together with new split-scimitar winglets, an evolved design of the current blended winglets by Aviation Partners. According to Boeing, the 737 MAX will burn about 20 percent less fuel compared to the first 737 Next-Generation aircraft, and that it will have an eight percent lower operating costs when compared to the Airbus A320neo family, largely attributed to the proposed fuel burn savings and maintenance advantages.

Immediately after the approval of the MAX program, there were doubts as to how committed Boeing was to it. At the time of the announcement, only one customer was announced although Boeing previously reported that it had 700 firm orders from nine different customers. All doubts were blown away when Southwest Airlines announced the placement of a firm order for 150 737 MAX 8 aircraft, as well as options for 150 more on December 13, 2011.

Southwest Airlines is the launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX 8. This would be the third time it becomes a 737 launch customer. (Credits: Southwest Airlines)

The following month, Norwegian Air Shuttle announced an order of 100 737 MAX 8 aircraft. 2012 was a good start to the MAX as Lion Air announced a major order for 201 737 MAX 9 aircraft, and lately AeroMexico, Alaska Airlines, GOL, United, and a few other airlines placed additional orders.

2013 was another big year of orders for the program Boeing received orders from Air Canada, American Airlines, flyDubai, Icelandair, Turkish, WestJet, and a few leasing companies. Plus in July, Boeing completed the final configuration for the 737 MAX 8, and it launched the 737 MAX 7 variant with Southwest Airlines as launch operator.

There were also a number of orders for the MAX in 2014 Ethiopian, Monarch, and a few other airlines placed orders for the MAX. In September, Boeing announced that it would offer a high density version of the 737 MAX 8 which was dubbed the 737 MAX 200, launched by Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair. The variant will be able to seat up to 200 passengers in a single-class cabin, while keeping cost per seat below 20% when compared to the existing 737 models.

Ryanair 737 MAX 200 artwork. (Credits: Boeing)

Later in the fall, Boeing announced that the production of the first MAX components were under construction at the manufacturer’s Fabrication Integrated AeroStructures in Auburn, Washington. The fuselage stringers, which run along the fuselage to provide stability and strength, were shipped to Boeing’s partner Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas, where the all the variants of the 737 MAX fuselages will be built.

Taking the 737 to the MAX

2015 was an even greater year for the program. At the very end of May 2015, Boeing started the assembly of the wings for its first 737 MAX right on schedule at its Renton factory. The wing assembly is considered to be the official first step in the building of any aircraft.

The wing load began began in Boeing’s new Panel Assembly Line (PAL), which itself opened just a few months earlier to replace the original system dating back to the 737 program launch in the 1960s. With an assembly daily rate of eight panels—currently at 75% of automation—each upper and lower wing skin panels will require 2,500 fasteners to be completed. Four wings are produced each day with 84 per month.

First 737 MAX front wing spar. The automated machine drills 30,000 spars per day. (Credits: Shris Sloan)

On August 13, 2015, Spirit Aerosystems rolled out the first fuselage, and it was then delivered by rail to Boeing’s final assembly facility in Renton, Washington. Spirit Aerosystems produces approximately 70 percent of the Boeing 737 structure, including fuselage, pylon, thrust reversers and engine nacelles.

About a month later and right on schedule, the first Boeing 737 MAX entered into the Final Assembly Stage, just as Airbus opened up its new A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama. The MAX is being built on a third surge production line in Renton. Boeing had to reconfigure the floor space at the factory to make room for this new line, in order to not to interrupt the current 737NG production.

The first 737 MAX in Boeing Renton’s Final Assembly Stage. (Credits: Boeing)

Unlike the main two lines, the surge line is not a moving line. Progressively, the MAX will be merged into the existing two lines as the 737NGs phase out, but depending on the demand and the increased production rate to 52 per month, the temporary line could become permanent.

Quietly, on November 30, the first 737 MAX aircraft rolled off the assembly line to the paint hangar, exactly on the day scheduled four years before, and on December 2, the first Boeing 737 MAX was rolled out.

The first 737 MAX was painted in Boeing’s house livery similar to the Dreamliner livery, but uses teal instead of blue. (Credits: Boeing)

During the roll out ceremony, Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, explained: “Today marks another in a long series of milestones that our team has achieved on time, per plan, together. With the rollout of the new 737 MAX–the first new airplane of Boeing’s second century–our team is upholding an incredible legacy while taking the 737 to the next level of performance.”

Since the rollout, the aircraft, named 1A001, has been undergoing pre-flight preparation and testing. After type certification, it will go to launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017. The next two aircraft are currently in the final assembly stage, with a 4th aircraft entering soon.

The program will be over 50 years old by the time the MAX enters service with Southwest, making it the longest running and best selling airliner of all times. To date, more than 8,888 737s have been built since it took to the skies for the first time in 1967.

On January 22, Boeing announced that the 737 MAX flight testing window would open on January 29, depending on the weather conditions.

To date, Boeing has received more than 3,000 orders for the MAX, with 60 orders for the MAX 7, about 1,700 for the MAX 8 and more than 400 for the MAX 9, with about 660 orders which have not specified the variant so far.


Launch of Boeing 247 - History

Boeing Price List in Millions

737-300 40.0 – 46.5
737-400 44.0 – 51.5
737-500 34.5 – 41.0
737-600 36.0 – 44.0
737-700 41.5 – 49.0
737-800 51.0 – 57.5
737-900 53.5 – 61.0

747-400 167.5 – 187.0
747-400 Combi 177.5 – 197.0

757-200 65.5 – 73.0
757-300 73.5 – 81.0

767-200ER 89.0 – 100.0
767-300ER 105.0 – 117.0
767-400ER 115.0 – 127.0

777-200 137.0 – 154.0
777-200ER 144.0 – 164.00
777-300 160.5 – 184.5

737-600 40.5 - 49.0
737-700 46.5 - 55.0
737-800 57.0 - 64.5
737-900 60.0 - 68.5

747-400 183.0 - 211.0
747-400 Freighter 185.5 - 214.5
747-400 Combi 194.0 - 215.0

757-200 72.5 - 80.5
757-300 81.0 - 89.5

767-200ER 100.0 - 112.0
767-300ER 114.5 - 127.5
767-300 Freighter 121.5 - 134.0
767-400ER 125.5 - 138.5

777-200 152.0 - 171.0
777-200ER 160.5 - 182.0
777-200LR 186.0 - 213.5
777-300 177.0 - 203.5
777-300ER 201.5 - 231.5

737-600 44.0 - 52.0
737-700 50.5 - 59.0
737-800 61.5 - 69.5
737-900 64.5 - 74.0
747-400/ -400ER 198.0 - 227.0
747-400/ -400ERF 202.0 - 228.0
767-200ER 108.5 - 120.0
767-300ER 123.5 - 136.5
767-300F 131.5 - 143.5
767-400ER 135.0 - 148.5
777-200 165.0 - 182.5
777-200ER 173.5 - 195.5
777-200LR 202.0 - 222.5
777-300 191.5 - 218.0
777-300ER 218.0 - 245.5

737-600 45.5 - 53.5
737-700 52.0 - 61.0
737-800 63.5 - 72.0
737-900ER 66.5 - 77.0
747-400/ -400ER 205.0 - 236.5
747-400/ -400ERF 209.5 - 236.0
767-200ER 112.5 - 124.0
767-300ER 128.0 - 141.5
767-300F 136.5 - 148.0
767-400ER 139.5 - 153.5
777-200 171.0 - 189.0
777-200ER 179.5 - 203.0
777-200LR 209.0 - 232.0
777-300 198.5 - 225.5
777-300ER 226.0 - 253.0
787-3 132.0 - 136.0
787-8 142.0 - 150.1

737-600 $47.0-55.0
737-700 $54.0-64.0
737-800 $66.0-75.0
737-900ER $70.0-80.5

747-400, -400ER $216.0-247.5
747-400, -400ERF $219.0-247.0
747-8 $272.5-282.5
747-8F $279.5-283.5

767-200ER $118.0-128.0
767-300ER $133.0-149.0
767-300F $143.0-155.0
767-400ER $146.0-160.5

777-200 $178.0-195.0
777-200ER $190.0-212.5
777-200LR $219.0-243.0
777-300 $210.0-234.0
777-300ER $237.0-264.5
777F $232.5-240.0

787-3 $138.0-143.0
787-8 $148.0-157.5
787-9 $178.5-188.0

737-600 $50.0-57.0
737-700 $57.0-68.0
737-800 $70.5-79.0
737-900ER $74.0-85.0

747-400, -400ER $228.0-260.0
747-400F, -400ERF $232.0-261.0
747-8 $285.5-300.0
747-8F $274.0-297.0

767-200ER $124.5-135.5
767-300ER $141.0-157.5
767-300F $151.0-162.0
767-400ER $154.0-169.0

777-200ER $200.0-225.0
777-200LR $231.0-256.5
777-300ER $250.0-279.0
777F $246.0-254.0

787-3 $146.0-151.5
787-8 $157.0-167.0
787-9 $189.0-200.0

737-600 $ 57
737-700 $ 68
737-800 $ 81
737-900 $ 86

767-200ER $144
767-300ER $164
767-300F $168
767-400ER $181

777-200ER $232
777-200LR $262
777-300ER $264
777F $269

737-600 $ 59
737-700 $ 71
737-800 $ 84
737-900 $ 90
737-7 $ 78
737-8 $ 95
737-9 $102

767-200ER $152
767-300ER $173
767-300F $175
767-400ER $190

777-200ER $245
777-200LR $276
777-300ER $298
777F $280

Airbus Price List in Millions

A318-100 $ 42 million
A319-100 $ 49 million
A320-200 $ 54 million
A321-200 $ 66 million

A330-200 $129 million
A330-300 $143 million

A340-300 $154 million
A340-500 $167 million
A340-600 $178 million

A318-100 $ 47 million
A319-100 $ 52 million
A320-200 $ 57 million
A321-200 $ 70 million

A330-200 $139 million
A330-300 $153 million

A340-300 $165 million
A340-500 $179 million
A340-600 $190 million

A318-100 $ 46 million
A319-100 $ 56 million
A320-200 $ 60 million
A321-200 $ 73 million

A330-200 $143 million
A330-300 $159 million

A340-300 $172 million
A340-500 $187 million
A340-600 $198 million

A318-100 $ 49 million
A319-100 $ 59 million
A320-200 $ 63 million
A321-200 $ 75 million

A330-200 $150 million
A330-300 $167 million

A340-300 $180 million
A340-500 $197 million
A340-600 $207 million

A318-100 $ 50 million
A319-100 $ 61 million
A320-200 $ 65 million
A321-200 $ 78 million

A330-200 $158 million
A330-300 $175 million

A340-300 $188 million
A340-500 $206 million
A340-600 $217 million

A350-800 $161 million
A350-900 $180 million

A318-100 $ 53 million
A319-100 $ 63 million
A320-200 $ 67 million
A321-200 $ 82 million

A330-200 $164 million
A330-300 $183 million

A340-300 $196 million
A340-500 $216 million
A340-600 $227 million

A350-800 $169 million
A350-900 $188 million

A318-100 $ 59 million
A319-100 $ 70 million
A320-200 $ 77 million
A321-200 $ 90 million

A330-200 $181 million
A330-200F $184 million
A330-300 $201 million

A340-300 $216 million
A340-500 $237 million
A340-600 $249 million

A350-800XWB $209 million
A350-900XWB $241 million
A350-1000XWB $270 million

A318-100 $ 63 million
A319-100 $ 74 million
A320-200 $ 81 million
A321-200 $ 96 million

A330-200 $191 million
A330-200F $195 million
A330-300 $212 million

A340-300 $228 million
A340-500 $251 million
A340-600 $264 million

A350-800XWB $225 million
A350-900XWB $255 million
A350-1000XWB $285 million

A318-100 $ 65 million
A319-100 $ 78 million
A320-200 $ 85 million
A321-200 $100 million

New Engine Option $ 6 million

A330-200 $201 million
A330-200F $204 million
A330-300 $223 million

A340-300 $238 million
A340-500 $262 million
A340-600 $275 million

A350-800 XWB $237 million
A350-900XWB $268 million
A350-1000XWB $300 million

A318-100 $ 68 million
A319-100 $ 81 million
A320-200 $ 88 million
A321-200 $104 million

A319-100neo $ 89 million
A320-200neo $ 97 million
A321-200neo $113 million

A330-200 $209 million
A330-200F $212 million
A330-300 $231 million

A350-800 XWB $246 million
A350-900XWB $278 million
A350-1000XWB $321 million


Happy Birthday, Boeing

One hundred years after Bill Boeing and George Westervelt built a canvas-and-wood seaplane in a Seattle boathouse, the name Boeing has become synonymous with flight. Starting with the company’s first major contract—an order from the U.S. Navy for 50 seaplane trainers in 1917—to today’s $6.5 million contract from DARPA for Phase 1B of the XS-1 reusable experimental spaceplane, Boeing has been a pioneer in every field of aerospace. To celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary, Russ Banham has written Higher (Chronicle Books, 2015), a book outlining the company’s successes, as well as its setbacks.

In its first 50 years, Boeing went from building open-cockpit biplanes to creating an unmanned spacecraft that could circle the moon and take photographs of Earth. We can’t wait to see what the next century brings.

Copyright © 2015 The Boeing Company, from Higher: 100 Years of Boeing published by Chronicle Books LLC.

Higher: 100 Years of Boeing

In this lavishly illustrated book, published to coincide with Boeing's 100th anniversary, Pulitzer Prize–nominated author Russ Banham recounts the tale of a company and an industry like no other—one that has put men on the moon, defended the free world, and changed the way we live.


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Watch the video: Boeing 247D (November 2021).