The Early Years: 1927-1938

The Boeing Airplane Co. ... Facing Competition

The Boeing Model 247, one of the the first modern passenger transports, was built for United Air Lines, part of Boeing's multifaceted United Aircraft and Transportation Corp. With its powerful engines and its single cantilevered wing, the 247 gave United the ability to offer 10 round trips daily between New York and Chicago.

Although regularly scheduled passenger service began in 1933 with the 247, its success was also its downfall. Competitors of United Air Lines could not order the new 247 until after the first 60 airplanes had been delivered to United.

However, Jack Frye, vice president of operations for Transcontinental and Western Air (later Trans World Airlines), also wanted some 247s. Boeing President Claire Egtvedt asked UATC's board of directors to allow TWA to order 247s after the first 20 had been delivered. The board refused, so TWA sent out a request for bids to build a three-engine transport. The Douglas Aircraft Co. in Santa Monica, Calif., won with the twin-engine DC-1, which was larger and faster than the Model 247. The production version, the DC-2, eventually refined as the legendary DC-3, quickly attracted new customers and provided tough competition for the Boeing Airplane Co.

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