Thursday, March 7, 2013
First Pressurized Cabin Airliner
Enter the new Boeing Stratoliner 307 into the TWA fleet
photo courtesy Terry Wall
Up to 1940, the DC-3 was a very successful ship for TWA and other airlines that until today are still considered the most successful airplane ever produced. But it lacked an all-encompassing comfortable flight for passengers flying through weather in altitude ranges of 5-10,000 feet. By 1937 it was realized through Tommy Tomlinson’s high altitude testing in the Northrop Gamma and DC's that, the cabin needed to be pressurized in order to comfortably and continuously fly 'above the clouds' in the 20,000 foot range. The new STRATOLINER 307 was the very first aircraft with this new feature. The pressure differential was 2.5 psi (17 kPa), so at 14,700 ft. (4,480 m) the cabin altitude was 8,000 ft. (2,440 m). The Model 307 had capacity for a crew of five and 33 passengers. The cabin was nearly 12 ft. (3.6 m) across. It was the first land-based aircraft to include a flight engineer as a crew member (several flying boats had included a flight engineer position earlier). It changed the whole outlook of the future of global passenger travel. Another milestone first under the leadership of Jack Frye.
Here is a great 1940's video of the Stratoliner sponsored by Fashion Designs with the iconic background tones of the Glenn Miller Band. This is luxury flying at its best in the new pressurized cabin that paved the way to modern comfortable worldwide travel.