TWA Stratoliner in flight

twa postcard.tif

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
January 16, 2013 


To be repeated in your best airport announcer voice, with feeling and inflection: “Teeee Double UUU AAAY announces the departure of the Super Sky-Chief Strato-liner for Kansas City, Albuquerque and Los Angeles. Gate three, all aboard please! Day and night these mighty ships of commerce fly the air-lanes from Atlantic to Pacific!”  

Wow! Back when air travel was Air Travel, not schleppin’ in a pair of cargo shorts and flip flops for a quick flight to Miami. Back in 1935, Boeing engineers developed a passenger plane based on the format of the successful B-17 heavy bomber platform, and the Boeing 307 Stratoliner was born. It was the first airliner to feature a pressurized cabin, truly a cutting edge development in the new mode of air travel. Prior to cabin pressurization, passenger aircraft such as the Douglas DC-3 were limited to altitudes under 12,000 or 14,000 feet.

In 1937, Pan American Airways ordered two of the planes, then almost immediately bumped the order to six. Transcontinental & Western Air, the forerunner to TWA, ordered another five of the shiny new planes and Boeing began an initial run of production. The Model 307 had capacity for a crew of five and 33 passengers, including a pullman area for transcontinental flights that often took 15 hours. World War II, however, intervened and all of TWA’’s 307’s were pressed in to military service as C-75’s and operated under a contract with the Army’’s Air Transport Command until July of 1944.

The Stratoliner was the only plane capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean until the introduction of the Douglas C-54 Skymaster in November of 1942. After 1944, when the planes were returned to TWA, Boeing upgraded the wing and tail area to match that of the B-17G and upgraded the four 900 hp engines to the newer Wright Cyclone, 1200 hp motors. Electrics were also upgraded to match that of the new B-29 Super Fortress. Following the war, most of the planes were sold to foreign airlines as the jet engine soon replaced the old prop driven planes quickly for American airline service. To date, there is only one remaining sky-worthy Boeing 307, and it is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

 

 

Comments are closed.

  • Mt. Washington still a peaceful respite

    November 12th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 12, 2014 This postcard published by the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company shows a peaceful view […]


    Eagle’s lodge once a place of history

    November 5th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 5, 2014 This week we take a look at the Queen Anne-styled James Ogelbay […]


    Haunting Halloween Greetings

    October 28th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 29, 2014 Marked by old greeting postcards like these, the tradition of Halloween traces […]


    KC’s first fire fighters honored

    October 21st, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 22, 2014 In March 1867, the Missouri Legislature granted permission to allow Kansas City, […]


    Majestic hours once lived on Armour Blvd

    October 14th, 2014
    by

    This postcard published by the Elite Postcard Company of Kansas City doubles as an advertising postcard for the Jenkins Music […]


  • Parade's a downtown tradition

    October 7th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 8, 2014 This week’s historic postcard is a Real Photo postcard that shows a […]


    It’s American Royal time again!

    September 30th, 2014
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News October 1, 2014 About two years after the opening of the “new” Hannibal Bridge over […]


    Oldsmobile Rhythmic ride!

    September 23rd, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 24, 2014 This marketing postcard was produced by the Oldsmobile Motor Company for Kansas […]


    Brush Creek synonymous with Plaza living

    September 16th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 17, 2014 This Kodachrome postcard published in the late 1950s shows the numerous apartment […]


    Grand Old Opera house

    September 9th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 10, 2014 The Grand Opera House located at Seventh and Walnut is this week’s […]


  • Local Weather