Jets and Moon Rockets: 1957-1970

The Boeing Company ... Commercial Jetliners

As markets evolved, so did Boeing jets. Later versions of the 707 used turbofan engines to reduce noise and increase range and power. The Boeing airplane "family" expanded to include the 727, the company's first and only trijet designed for smaller airports with shorter runways. The 737 was initially a smaller, short-range, twin-engine jet, designed to compete with the Douglas DC-9. Although initial sales were slow, by June 12, 1987, the 737 was the most ordered airplane in commercial history.

The massive 747 jumbo jet was built when crowded airports and increased airline traffic indicated a need for an airliner with great payload capacity and range. Because the 747 was the largest airplane in the world at the time, Boeing built the largest building in the world at the time for its assembly in Everett, Wash. The people who built the facility and produced the airplane in less than 16 months were nicknamed "The Incredibles."

VC-25A Air Force One in flight over Mt. Rushmore

Some 707-120Bs used to transport government officials used the call sign "Air Force One" when the U.S. president was on board. In 1962, two Boeing 707-320B airframes were adapted specifically for use by the president, designated VC-137C and called Air Force One. The VC-137Cs served as the presidential aircraft until 1990, when they were replaced by two new Air Force Ones (designated VC-25A) that used the 747-200 airframe.

Starting in 1976, the Model 707 airframe was modified as the platform for the E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). The 707 airframe, therefore, was produced until 1991, when the 767 airframe took over as the platform for AWACS.

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