Aircraft Characteristics

Part of the Transportation Research, Economics and Policy book series (TRES)


Shortly after the end of World War II, the airline industry was able to use civilian versions of wartime transport aircraft to meet a rapidly expanding market for air travel. The war itself was partly responsible for the broader interest in air travel. The advance in aircraft technology, particularly, the gas turbine engine, revolutionized the industry, and set the stage for a tradition of steady technological change in the decade that followed. Thus, entering the post World War II period, new technologies were available, and an extensive skill base of aeronautical engineers and flying personnel existed. Major production facilities were in place and a base of public acceptance for air travel had been created.1 The development of the jet aircraft, commercial as well as military, overlaps the period of the piston-engined planes. Design of the Boeing B-47 began in late 1943. Douglas began design of the XB-43, essentially a modification of the XB-42, in 1944. Convair’s XB-46 design was also initiated in 1944. There had been interest in jets before, but no commercial firms in the United States had had sufficient interest and resources to take the lead in jet engine development. Thus, it is quite clear that so far as the United States manufacture of either military or commercial planes were concerned, jet development had to wait until the development of technology overcame the early obstacles. It is not clear when research on the specific commercial transports by United States manufacturers began. Boeing quite certainly was studying alternative models to the C-97 as early as 1950.


Specific Fuel Consumption Flight Attendant Turbofan Engine Maximum Payload Passenger Capacity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Science and Technology PolicyRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.Lally School of Management and TechnologyRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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