Jets and Moon Rockets: 1957-1970

The Boeing Company ... Over Jungle and Sea

We brought in artillery when there were no roads. We moved everything.
-- Lee Smith, Chinook pilot

While the Orbiter mapped the moon, Boeing engineers mapped the speed of sound, and in 1966, the company won a government contract to develop America's first supersonic transport (SST). However, environmental concerns led to the cancellation of the project on March 24, 1971.

Meanwhile, another Boeing product was establishing its reputation flying over jungles. In 1960, Boeing bought the Vertol Aircraft Co., located in Philadelphia, Pa., and Boeing tandem-rotor Chinook and Sea Knight helicopters logged thousands of hours of combat service as the Vietnam conflict escalated.

Because principles that send things flying through the air (aerodynamics) are similar to those that send things skimming through water (hydrodynamics), Boeing applied many systems used by jets to Boeing hydrofoils, including the JETFOIL and Patrol Hydrofoil Missileship.

But even as technology soared, the market plummeted, and by 1971, the industry was gripped by a recession that almost turned out the lights in Seattle.

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