Boeing 717 Manufacturing Plant - Long Beach, Calif.
The Long Beach site is a component of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, producing the 717 twinjet and supporting in-service airplanes. Opened by the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1941, the Long Beach site in California became part of Boeing as a result of the merger of Boeing and McDonnell Douglas in 1997.
During its 65-plus-year history, the facility produced more than 15,000 airplanes, including the DC-3, DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, MD-80, MD-90 and MD-11 and 717 passenger planes, as well as such military airplanes as the famed C-47 (military version of the DC-3), the B-17 (in cooperation with Boeing), the A-20, A-26, C-74, C-124, A-4D, C-133 and early models of the C-17.
Donald W. Douglas opened the Long Beach facility on the eve of World War II, having run out of production space at his plant in Santa Monica, Calif., as well as at a second facility in El Segundo, Calif. He also started production lines in Chicago, Ill., and Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Okla. Altogether, the Douglas Aircraft Company produced more than 45,000 airplanes during its long history.
The early days of the Douglas Aircraft Company, which began in the backroom of a barbershop in 1920, involved the production of limited numbers of airplanes for the United States government and private concerns, including the first aircraft to circle the world, the Douglas World Cruiser, in 1924.
The Douglas Commercial family of airplanes began with a sale to Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA), a U.S. airline of the early 1930s. The initial Douglas design resulted in the DC-1 prototype, which set a record with virtually every flight. After the DC-1 delivery in 1933, Douglas followed with the larger and more powerful DC-2 in 1934, delivering 156 of the aircraft. The DC-2 was followed by more than 10,000 of the legendary DC-3, the backbone of many world airlines at the time and still in operation today throughout the world. Douglas also built the four-engine DC-4, DC-5, DC-6, DC-7 and their derivatives. In the early 1950s, more than 90 percent of passenger aircraft around the world were Douglas planes.
In 1941, when Douglas opened the new aircraft assembly plant adjacent to Daugherty Field in Long Beach, the company was a major supplier to allied air services in World War II. During the war, it delivered more than 31,000 aircraft, including the C-47 Skytrain (a version of the DC-3), SBD dive-bomber, C-54 transport (the military version of the DC-4), A-20 and A-26 attack bombers and B-17 bomber. Military support after the war included high-speed research aircraft; the AD Skyraider, A3D Skywarrior and A4D Skyhawk attack planes; and F3D Skyknight and F4D Skyray fighters for the Navy and Marine Corps. The company also produced Air Force cargo transports, including the C-74, the C-124 Globemaster II and the C-133 Cargomaster, as well as A-3 and B-66 bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.
May 1958 saw the maiden flight of the first Douglas commercial jetliner, the four-engine DC-8, which established world speed, payload and range records. In all, 556 DC-8s were delivered through 1972. The highly successful Douglas twinjet program followed, beginning with the DC-9, an airplane with aft-mounted engines that first flew in February 1965. Five commercial models were produced, carrying from 75 to 139 passengers, as were two military derivatives. In all, 976 DC-9s were delivered through 1982.
The DC-10 trijet family entered service in 1971. Six models of the DC-10 were produced in addition to the KC-10 military tanker/cargo aircraft, which was developed for the Air Force. A total of 446 DC-10s and KC-10s were delivered through 1989.
The MD-80 series entered airline service in October 1980. It was the first short- to medium-range jetliner to meet the most stringent federal noise standards. Four versions of the advanced twinjet aircraft -- the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83 and MD-88 -- have seating for approximately 150 passengers, while the MD-87 seats 130 passengers. The last of 1,191 MD-80s was delivered in December 1999.
The MD-11, a twin-aisle trijet, was introduced to service in 1990 in passenger, freighter, combi and convertible freighter models. The capacity of the MD-11 is more than 100 tons for the freighter model or typically 298 passengers. The last of 200 MD-11s was delivered in February 2001.
The Boeing MD-90 is an advanced twin-engine, mid-size, medium-range jetliner. The MD-90 has seating for 153 passengers in a mixed-class configuration. Deliveries to airlines began in February 1995. The last MD-90 was produced in the first quarter of 2000. The company produced 114 MD-90s.
In August 1997, McDonnell Douglas merged with The Boeing Company, and Douglas Aircraft Company, which was the commercial airplane manufacturing segment of McDonnell Douglas, was renamed the Douglas Products Division. It was renamed the Long Beach Division of Boeing Commercial Airplanes in August 1998.
After the merger with McDonnell Douglas, Boeing renamed the MD-95 and introduced it into the short-range jetliner market as the 717-200 in early 1998. The 717, which entered commercial service in October 1999, was designed specifically for high-frequency routes. The highly efficient 717 concluded its 156-airplane production run in May 2006.