By the late 1940s two developments encouraged Boeing to begin considering building a passenger jet. The first was the maiden flight in 1947 of the B-47 Stratojet. The second was the maiden flight in 1949 of the world’s first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet. Boeing President Bill Allen led a company delegation to Britain in summer 1950 where they saw the Comet fly at the Farnborough Airshow, and also visited the de Havilland factory at Hatfield, Hertfordshire where the Comets were being built. Boeing felt it had mastered the swept wing and podded engines which it saw as key technologies that would enable it to improve on the Comet.
Boeing was experienced at selling to the military but had not enjoyed the same success with civil airliners. This market was dominated by Douglas which was adept at meeting the needs of airlines by refining and developing its range of propeller-driven aircraft, and in 1950 was marketing the forthcoming DC-7. Boeing decided the only way to overcome the airlines' suspicion of the jet – and of itself – was to show them a completed aircraft.
The -80 fuselage was wide enough at 132 inches (3.35 m) for five-abreast seating; two on one side of the aisle and three on the other. The fuselage diameter for the production KC-135 was widened to 144 inches (3.66 m) and Boeing originally hoped to build the 707 fuselage with that width. By the time the Boeing company committed to production, the decision had been made to design the production model 707 as a six-abreast design, with a larger 148 inches (3.76 m) diameter fuselage, after C.R. Smith, CEO of American Airlines, told Boeing he wouldn't buy the 707 unless it was an inch wider than the then-proposed Douglas DC-8 passenger jet. This decision did not unduly delay introduction of the production model since the -80 had been largely hand-built, using little production tooling.
I had taken this picture when I had taken my son to the museum, it is 15 minutes away from Dulles via shuttle and it is well worth the trip. We had gone back in 2012
By early 1952 the designs were complete and in April the Boeing board approved the program. Construction of the Dash 80 started in November in a walled-off section of Boeing's Renton plant. As a proof of concept prototype there was no certification and no production line and most of the parts were custom built. The aircraft was not fitted with an airline cabin; a plywood lining housed the instrumentation for the flight test program.
Following flights revealed a propensity to "Dutch roll" - an alternating yawing and rolling motion. Boeing already had experience with this on the B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress and had developed a yaw damper system on the B-47 that could be adapted to the Dash 80. Other problems were found with the engines and brakes, the latter once failing completely on landing causing the aircraft to overshoot the runway.
Boeing used the Dash 80 on demonstration flights for airline executives and other industry figures. These focused attention on the question of what the cabin of a passenger jet should look like. In a departure from its usual practice Boeing hired industrial design firm Walter Dorwin Teague to create a cabin as radical as the aircraft itself.
Prior to demonstration for passenger airlines, Dash 80 was fitted with Boeing's Flying Boom for aerial refueling which served as a prototype for the KC-135 Stratotanker and its later derivatives
As part of the Dash 80's demonstration program, Bill Allen invited representatives of the Aircraft Industries Association (AIA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) to the Seattle's 1955 Seafair and Gold Cup Hydroplane Races held on Lake Washington on August 6, 1955. The Dash-80 was scheduled to perform a simple flyover, but Boeing test pilot Alvin "Tex" Johnston instead performed two barrel rolls to show off the jet airliner.
The next day, Allen summoned Johnston to his office and told him not to perform such a maneuver again, to which Johnston replied that he was simply "selling airplanes" and asserted that doing so was completely safe. The barrel roll story appears on a video called Frontiers of Flight – The Jet Airliner, produced by the National Air and Space Museum in association with the Smithsonian Institution in 1992.
Boeing Chief Test Pilot John Cashman stated that just before he piloted the maiden flight of the Boeing 777 on June 12, 1994, his last instructions from then-Boeing President Phil Condit were "No rolls."
"THE BARREL ROLL"
After the arrival of the first production 707 in 1957 the Dash 80 was adapted into a general experimental aircraft and used by Boeing to test a variety of new technologies and systems. One of its most important tasks during the late 1950s was to test systems for the new Boeing 727. These tests required the fitting of a fifth engine on the rear fuselage as part of tests for the 727. Other tests included experiments with different airfoil shapes and a number of high lift devices such as blown flaps in which compressed air bled from the engines is directed over the flaps to increase lift during takeoff and landing.
On May 26, 1972 Boeing donated the 367-80 to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, which had designated it one of the 12 most significant aircraft of all time. For the next 18 years the aircraft was stored at a "desert boneyard" now called the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona before being retrieved by Boeing in 1990 for restoration. The Dash 80's final flight was to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. on August 27, 2003. Repainted to its original yellow and brown Boeing livery, it was put on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an annex of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, located adjacent to Dulles Airport in Chantilly, Virginia.
- Crew: 3
- Length: 127 ft 10 in (39.97 m)
- Wingspan: 129 ft 8 in (39.88 m)
- Height: 38 ft (11.59 m)
- Wing area: 2,400 ft² (223 m²)
- Empty weight: 92,120 lb (41,870 kg)
- Loaded weight: 190,000 lb (86,360 kg)
- Powerplant: 4 × Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojets, 10,000 lbf (44.5 kN) each
- Maximum speed: 582 mph (506 knots, 937 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
- Cruise speed: 550 mph (478 knots, 886 km/h)
- Range: 3,530 mi (3,070 nmi, 5,683 km)
- Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,110 m)
- Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (12.7 m/s)