Segments in this Video

Introduction: Embracing The World (01:28)


Commercial travel has expanded around the world since 1945. New York airports now accommodate over 80 million travelers every year, and air cargo shipments have drastically increased.

War Time Progress (04:58)

After and during World War II, the United States was uniquely positioned to make aviation advancements; the Civil Aeronautics Association took over air traffic control. Pan Am Clipper Flying Boat service and TWA Boeing Stratoliners were used by the Army. Airliners sold surplus military transport seats at competitive prices.

Competing With Trains (05:26)

During the 1940s and 1950s, railways dominated transportation markets; in 1949, airliners lowered costs and expanded services, increasing air travel. The Marshall plan enabled British Overseas Airways Corporation to purchase American bombers at low costs. The Boeing B-29 Super Fortress was a high speed, luxury craft outperforming all other civilian machines.

First Commercial Jetliner (04:03)

The de Havilland Comet was exhibited at the 1949 Farnborough International Air Show; a succession of unexplained crashes led to grounding and redesign. The Royal Navy recovered and inspected wreckage located near Australian; regular pressurization and depressurization of the cabin caused metal strain and breakage.

United States Rivalry (05:08)

In July 1954, Boeing designed the first American jetliner, the Dash 80. In May 1958, the Douglas DC-8 debuted, competing for the market; Juan Trippe added its J-75 engine to Pan Am services. Boeing modified the 707 into the Intercontinental.

International Rivalry (03:54)

In March 1956, the Soviets introduced the civilian Tu-104, developed from the Tupolev Tu-16 Badger strategic bomber. The French offered services with Sud Caravelle; England's Comet IV offered the first transatlantic jet service on October 4th, 1958. On October 27th, the Boeing Clipper America crossed the Atlantic nonstop.

Popularity Problems and Solutions (05:21)

After 1954, airline passengers caused crowded airports, noise complaints, and air traffic control complications. Turbofan engines prevented excessive sound, and more terminals were built. Radars were installed at all airports by the end of the 1950s; craft were monitored between airports by Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range.

Jumbo Jets (03:58)

The Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet debuted in February 1969, carrying 300 passengers over the Atlantic. Freddy Laker employed DC-10 planes for Skytrain services; the competition forced him out of business. Poor sales of jumbos led to mergers and closures; the Boeing 777 and MacDonald Douglas MD-11 survived economic slumps.

Breaking the Sound Barrier (09:57)

In 1962, the British and French collaborated to design a supersonic air transporter. On December 31st, 1968, the Tupolev Tu-144 was the first to take flight; the Franco-Anglo Concorde followed in March 1969. The crafts were demonstrated at the 1973 International Air Show in Paris; the Russian plane crashed.

Skyjacking (03:07)

In the 1970s, travel companies offered packages, expanding airliner services. Air terrorism also originated; in September 1970, three civilian craft were blown up in Jordan by Palestinians. In December 1988, a bomb exploded in a Pan Am 747, killing all aboard; airport security was increased.

Computerization and Growing Popularity (02:35)

During the 19080s, "Fly By Wire" debuted; the Airbus 320 was the first to use the computer controlled command system. Boeing 767 picked up the technology in 1981. The 1978 Deregulation Act increased competition; civilian air travel expanded further.

Credits: Embracing The World (00:42)

Credits: Embracing The World

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Century Of Flight: Embracing The World

Part of the Series : Century of Flight
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This episode of Century of Flight explores the history and current developments of civilian air travel. Learn how World War II impacted airliner innovations and how airliners aided the United States Army efforts. Observe progress in the fields of luxury, speed, and distance with the supersonic Concorde and Boeing 707. Investigate problems to the increasing popularity of air travel, and see solutions engineered. 

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL185477

ISBN: 978-1-64623-952-8

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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