Romance of Flight: Wright Brothers to Juan Trippe's PanAm

OLLI Dominican University Fall 2013 - Villa Marin - 100 Thorndale Drive, San Rafael

Rod Handeland Wednesdays 10:15 pm - 12:00 noon, September 18 - November 6, 2013


Syllabus Highlights of Class Sessions


Class 1: 1783-1903 Path to Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk


Before 1783 - Icarus wax wings, 1488 DaVinci sketches, 1714 Swedenborg


1783-1937 Lighter than air balloons and dirigibles

1783 Montgolfier Brothers France, 1794 Conte Balloon factory, school

1863 Zeppelin balloon, US Civil War

1800-1853 Cayley manned glider, physics of flight, aerodynamics

1890 Clement Ader Eole, 1892 Avion III brief, military dropped interest


1889-1903 Lilienthal and Chanute gliders

1874-1896 Otto Lilienthal, published research 1889, 2500 flights, hang glider

1896 Chanute Indiana Dunes, longitudinal instability, lateral and direction control relation


1891-1903 Langley experiments aerodynamics, overlooked flight control

1900 $50,000 funding from US government for aerial reconnaissance

1903 December trial from Potomac houseboat, strong motor, no control, sank


1892- 1915 Wright Brothers

1867 Wilbur, 1871 Orville Dayton Ohio, 1878 toy helicopter

1892 Bicycle repair and sales, 1896 Langley flight, Chanute gliders, Lilienthal death

1899 Wilbur's Smithsonian letter, practiced gliding for control before engine, Lilienthal

1899 Wing warping discovered by twisting tube box to imitate bids wing tip control


1900 Kitty Hawk limited wing warp tests, pilot prone on bottom wing

1901 Larger wings, lift calculations wrong, canard until 1910

1902 Wind tunnel for accurate lift, led to longer, narrower wings, Chicago Chanute speech

1902 Wing wrap differential drag, wings for longer flights, rudder yaw, 3 axis control

1903 Dec 17, 8 flights, Wilbur longest, Orville 1st. 1904 Flyer II Huffman Prairie


1906 Patent, Curtiss infringement, 1908 Paris and Virginia demonstrations

1909 Company, few planes, Flyer outdated by 1910, pilot training school

1912 Wilbur dies of Typhoid, 1915 Orville sells business, 1929 Curtiss Wright merger


Class 2: 1916-1929 World War I Aces to Barnstormers, Air Mail and Airlines


1900-1920 Glenn Curtiss motor cycle racing to Jenny's

1900 Hercules bicycle sales, repair, 1903-30 Motorcycle speed king, 1907+ Bell support, engine design

1908 Curtiss June Bug, 1909 Rheims Flyer, speed wins US, Eur, NY-Albany, patent dispute-1917

1911 San Diego seaplane training, 1915 military Jenny, N4 seaplane, 5 man transport

1920 sold to Clement Keys, Florida retirement, 1929 Curtiss Wright merger


1909-1920's Flight firsts, World War I, barnstormers

1909 Bleriot UK-Eur, 1912 Harriet Quimby, 1913 Garros Med

1913 Armed aircraft, 1914-18 WWI observation to combat, bombing

1919 Alcock-Brown Atlantic, Smith-Ulm Pacific, Smith-Ross Australia-UK

1920's Barnstorming, air shows, flying circuses as public introduction to flight

1926 Ford Trimotor and Lockheed Vega inaugural flights

1927 Lindbergh NY-Paris, Hegenberger Oakland-Hawaii, 1930 and 1933 Wiley Post around the world


1911-1930's US air mail subsidies as catalyst for passenger airlines

1911 Air mail Petaluma-San Rafael, India-UK

1914 Passenger service over Tampa Bay, 1918 NY-Philadelphia-Washington scheduled flights

1918+ US Army airmail, 1925+ Contracts, subsidies, 1930 McCracken safety

1930+ WF Brown, consolidation of airlines, concession extensions


Class 3: 1930-41 New Commercial Aircraft and Airlines


1909-34 Bill Boeing

1903+ Yale to Olympic lumber, 1916 Westerveldt partner, 1917 Navy 50 order

1919 1st international airmail, 1927 US airmail Pasco-Elko- Salt Lake, 1929 Model 80, passengers

1930 Flight Attendants, 1931 UAL, 1933 B247, 1934 airmail split: UAL, Boeing, UA (UT)

1938 B314 Clipper, Stratoliner, 1st pressurized


1916-32 Clement Keys

1901+ WSJ reporter, 1911 Investment firm, 1920 Curtiss control, 1929 Curtiss Wright merger

1929 Transcon Air Transport (TAT), later TWA, Pitcarin to North American Aviation to Eastern Airlines


1908-70 Donald Douglas

1909+ Annapolis, MIT, 1915-20 Connecticut Aircraft, Martin, US Signal Corps

1920+ Davis-Douglas Co, 1921 Douglas Aircraft, 1923 Army World Cruisers

1934 DC1, DC2 for TWA, 1936 DC3 for AA, 80% passenger market, C47 WWII


1922-69 Juan Trippe and PanAm

1917+ Yale, 1922 LI Air, 1925 Colonial, airmail, 1927 PanAm, KeyWest-Havana

1928 Trippe's Atlantic, Gulf & Caribbean Air merges with PanAm and ACA, Trippe heads PanAm

1929 Caribbean, Central America expansion and buyouts, with Lindbergh for South America routes

1929 Panagra, 1930 bought NY to Brazil and Argentina competitor


1936 SF-Manila/HKG via Hawaii, Wake, Midway and Guam,

1937 Bermuda, Azores, Lisbon and Newfoundland, Ireland. China Clipper to Australia, New Zealand

1939 B314 Treasure Island to Far East, mail-passenger weekly NY-UK, 1940 B307 pressurized Stratoliner


1930's UAL, Eastern, TWA, American mergers for mail efficiency, long CEO service

1934-66 Wm Patterson United, former Wells Fargo loan officer

1934-68 C R Smith American - accountant and DC3 sponsor

1934-55 Jack Frye TWA, Howard Hughes 1936-66

1938-63 Eddie Rickenbacker Eastern Air, WWI ace


Class 4: 1937-1946 Development of Jet Aircraft Engine


1926-46 Frank Whittle and development of jet engine for aircraft

1926 Cranwell officer training, Avro 504, Bristol Fighter pilot, daredevil acrobatics

Thesis on 500+ mph flight, piston limitations, design changes: compression, combustion, exhaust thrust

Higher altitudes and lower pressure for better afterburner efficiency

Substitute turbine for piston engine. 1930 patent, Power Jet funding for Whittle and RAF Tinling

1937 2K lb jet prototype, Griffith competitor gets ARC funding. Successful April test.

1939 June success 20 min, flyable version ordered and funded.


1941 W1 flies from Cranwell 340mph, Other UK engine firms rush to better. Rover Co., Whittle furious

1942 RollsRoyce 6 Whittle engine contract. W2B Vickers 370 hr test; Whittle to US to help GE, Moss return

1943 Rolls Royce acquires Rover, 1941 deHavilland jet fighter, Armstrong Siddeley, 1939 MetropolitanVickers

1944 Power Jets nationalized, 1945 Whittle nervous breakdown, 1946 resigns Royal Air Force


1936-1945 German jet engine challenge

1936 Ohain patent, Hahn mechanic partner.1937 Ohain jet engine design

1939 Heinkel He 178 1st jet flight, 1941 Junkers axial, Jumo, BMW 003 competitors

1942 Messerschmitt 262 flight, 1946+ Ohain and Whittle to US friendship, joint US travels, lectures


Class 5: 1937-1958 Powerful Piston Aircraft Prelude to Boeing 707 and Douglas DC8 Jets


1946-1958 Powerful US Commercial Piston before Jet Age

1943-58 Lockheed Constellation, 1939 Hughes TWA 3500 mile range

1946 TWA NY-Paris, 1947 PanAm #1 Round the World to 1982

1946-58 DC6, 1949 UAL and AA, 1952 PanAm introduces Europe tourist class, UAL Hawaii sleepers

1947-63 Boeing 377 Stratocruiser to PanAm, double deck luxury and sleepers


1953-58 DC7, last piston, 8hr NY-SF, NY- Europe nonstop, headwind return problem

1958-61 Lockheed 188 Electra, AA, EAL, Braniff, 1st big turboprop, noise, 3 early crashes


1952-1958 Dawn of commercial jet travel with Comet triumph and tragedy

1943 UK Brabazon report to revive UK commercial aircraft

1945 BOAC-DH106 risky financial and technology commitment. 1946-8 R&D,1949 prototype testing

1952 Commercial introduction and success

1954 Crashes, grounding, investigation, metal fatigue, redesign and relaunch

1958 Comet 4 resumes Europe to NY days before 707 inaugural, last flights in 1997


1958-72 Boeing 707

1940's Boeing bomber success: B17 Flying Fortress, B-29 Superfortress, B-47Stratojet, B-52 Stratofortress

1940's Boeing far behind Douglas, only B314 Clipper and B307 Stratoliner after B247 success in 1929

1949 USAF jet tanker and tie to commercial jet: wing and engine layout options

1952 Dash 80 prototype commitment, based on swept wing, engine pod expertise. 1954 test flight.

1955 Douglas threat and PanAm force redesign to widen for six across row seating

1958 September FAA approval, inaugural NY-Paris flight


1959-72 Douglas DC8

1945+ Douglas dominates, Lockheed and Convair strong. All look to piston to turboprop, not to jets

1952 300 orders for DC6 and 7, Comet disasters deter rush to jets, except Boeing

1955 DC8 announced, behind Boeing. PanAm DC8 and 707 orders spur rush of others

1958 April rollout and test. DC8 inflexible production, results in year behind Boeing 707

1962 sales drop, 1967 merge with McDonnell to save Douglas


Class 6: 1962-1969 Short Range Jets To Boeing 747 and Jumbo Jetliners


1962+ Introduction of new jets and focus on air travel infrastructure and support systems

1963+ Jet success and new air travel demands strain airport, runway, air traffic facilities

1963+ Short range jets more troubled by noise, neighbors, infrastructure limitations


1962-69 Specialization of aircraft to serve short range routes and smaller cities

1963-84 Boeing 727, Over 1800 in successful production run. Noise dissipated with fan jet technology.

1965-82 DC9 long lasting, reliable, efficient MD models after McDonnell merger.

1967+ Boeing 737, 7500 production in 8 models, most successful and profitable jet aircraft


1969-1978 Boeing 747 and other Jumbo Jets

1965 C5A to Lockheed, 1966 Trippe-Allen negotiations on 747 to meet airport congestion, air travel growth

1968+ 1500 PanAm,UA,BA Lufthansa, KLM: hump upper deck, 146-660 seats, JT9D 37 yr record

1970's PanAm met goal of more people to more places at price they could afford at threat to PanAm longevity


1968-88 DC 10, year after 747, up to 380 seats, 450, now FedEx

1968-84 L1011, trijet, 250, BA,TWA,Delta,EAL, to 400 seats ,4000mi, RR engine delays, Lockheed withdraws

1974 Airbus A300 1st twin jet widebody, 560, 266 seats, 4000 mi.


Class 7: 1978-2001 Romance of Flight and Airline Deregulation


1976-2003 UK-FR Concorde SST Dream to Paris Flames

1947 Chuck Yaeger pilots Bell X1 in first supersonic flight after military development of jet engine and radar

1962 treaty between England and France after failure of Comet, 1965-9 Prototypes and testing

1966 US selects Boeing for SST, 1971 US cancels SST funding

1976 Concorde inaugural flights from London to Bahrain, Paris to South America

1977 from Europe to NY and Washington, uneconomic with 133 seats and high fuel costs, sonic booms, noise

2000 Paris runway fire, 2003 cancel due to maintenance, fuel cost, low demand, only 20 Concorde fleet


1978 US airline deregulation

1970 Civil Air Board overwhelmed by route and rate regulation of skyrocketing air travel demand

1975-2008 Financial and other deregulation trend in US


New airline entrants, expansions and acquisitions

1966-82 Freddie Laker and Skytrain, 1967+ Herb Kelleher's Southwest Air and Texas

1972-89 Frank Lorenzo and Texas International, greenmail, Continental, Eastern

1980 PanAm acquires National Airlines for domestic routes after bidding war with Lorenzo

1981-87 Don Burr and People's Express, Frontier acquisition and takeover by Lorenzo


Commercial Airline Turmoil

1969+ Imperatives of increased and newer infrastructure to support jets and air travel growth

1969-2001 Aircraft hijackings and airport security, 1981 Reagan and air controllers strike

1969+ Shifts in public attitude and views on air travel


Commercial aircraft consolidation and competition

1970 UK, France, Germany form Airbus, 1974 Airbus 300, 1993 A340, 1994 A330, 2007 A380

1974+ Boeing and Airbus competition

1989+ Embraer Brazil, 1992+ Bombadier Canada

1964+ Private jets: Lear, Cessna, Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft, Dassault

1996 Boeing buys North American Aviation, 1997 Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger, 2011 787 Dreamliner


Class 8: 2001+ Epilogue and Discussion of Romance of Flight Now and in Future