Boeing 247

First flown in February 1933, the Boeing 247 has sometimes been described as the first modern airliner. It was certainly a stride forward from the boxy Ford Trimotor then standard on American air routes.
Evolved from the Boeing B-9 bomber, the 247 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp air-cooled radial engines. It was sleekly streamlined, with a smoothly shaped fuselage, a complete absence of struts, drag-reducing housing for the engines, and a retractable undercarriage. Less obvious innovations included wing and tail de-icing and an autopilot. Its ten passengers were carried in
considerable comfort, benefiting from sound-proofing, plush seats, and air-conditionig. A tiny galley allowed a stewardess to provide
food and drinks in flight. Above all, the 247 was fast, cutting more than seven hours off the previous scheduled flight time from San
Francisco to New York.
It did not achieve the dazzling commercial success Boeing might have hoped for, however, because it was initially produced exclusively for one airline, United Air Lines. Unable to buy the 247, UAl’s competitor, TWA. was forced to commission its own new airliner, the Douglas DC-1, whose descendants went on to dominate the American airline market in the second half of the 1930s.

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