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Boeing 247

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.

Boeing 247D specifications:

  • 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

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