The Boeing 24 might be called the first modern airliner. It was the first all-metal airliner in America and featured many airliner firsts, including retractable landing gear, supercharged engines, de-icing boots, trim tabs, soundproofing, and cowled engines streamlined into nacelles in the wing.
And the sleek 247 was fast; on its first scheduled flight on May 22, 1933, a Boeing Air Transport 247 set a speed record by crossing the United States from San Francisco to New York in just 19½ hours, almost 8 hours faster than any previous airliner.
The main limitation to the airplane’s success was its small size; the 247 carried only ten passengers, and when the 28-passenger Douglas DC-3 became available in 1935, the 247 simply couldn’t compete. The DC-3 also had a much greater range, and could cross the United States with only three stops. Only 75 Boeing 247′s were ever built, compared to more than 10,000 DC-3′s.
- Wing span: 74 feet
- Length: 51 feet 7 inches
- Top speed: 200 mph
- Cruising speed: 189 mph
- Range: 745 miles
- Service ceiling: 25,400 feet
- Gross weight: 13,650 pounds
- Powerplants: Two 550-horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasps (R-1340-S1H1G)
- Crew: 2 pilots, 1 steward/stewardess
- Payload: 10 passengers, 400 pounds of mail
- First flight: Feb. 8, 1933