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The Beginnings

In 1903, two events launched the history of modern aviation. The
Wright brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North
Carolina, and William Boeing, born Oct. 1, 1881, in Detroit,
Michigan, left Yale engineering college for the West Coast.
After making his fortune trading forest lands around Grays Harbor,
Washington, Boeing moved to Seattle in 1908 and, two years later,
went to Los Angeles for the first American air meet. Boeing tried to
get a ride in one of the airplanes, but not one of the dozen
aviators participating in the event would oblige. Boeing came back
to Seattle disappointed, but determined to learn more about this new
science of aviation.
For the next five years, Boeing's air travel was mostly theoretical,
explored during conversations at Seattle's University Club with
George Conrad Westervelt, a Navy engineer who had taken several
aeronautics courses from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The two checked out biplane construction and were passengers on an
early Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company-designed biplane that
required the pilot and passenger to sit on the wing. Westervelt
later wrote that he "could never find any definite answer as to why
it held together." Both were convinced they could build a biplane
better than any on the market.
In the autumn of 1915, Boeing returned to California to take flying
lessons from another aviation pioneer, Glenn Martin. Before leaving,
he asked Westervelt to start designing a new, more practical
airplane. Construction of the twin-float seaplane began in Boeing's
boathouse, and they named it the B & W, after their initials.

William E. Boeing

Company Founder and Owner, President, Chairman of the Board -

William E. Boeing left Yale University in 1903 to take advantage of
opportunities in the risky and cyclical, but financially rewarding,
Northwest timber industry. That experience would serve him well in

Under his guidance, a tiny airplane manufacturing company grew into
a huge corporation of related industries. When post-Depression
legislation in 1934 mandated the dispersion of the corporation,
Boeing sold his interests in the Boeing Airplane Company, but
continued to work on other business ventures. He became one of America's most successful breeders of thoroughbred
horses. He never lost his interest in aviation, and during World War
II he volunteered as a consultant to the company. He lived until
1956, long enough to see the company he started enter the jet age. B & W

The first B & W, completed in June 1916, was made of wood, linen,
and wire. Similar to the Martin trainer that Boeing owned, the B & W
had, among other improvements, better pontoons and a more powerful
engine. The two B & Ws were offered to the U.S. Navy. When the Navy did not
buy them, they were sold to the New Zealand Flying School and became
the company's first international sale. The B & Ws later were used
for New Zealand express and airmail deliveries, set a New Zealand
altitude record of 6,500 feet on June 25, 1919, and made that
country's first official airmail flight on Dec. 16, 1919.

First flight: June 15, 1916
Model number: 1
Classification: Utility seaplane
Span: 52 feet
Length: 27 feet 6 inches
Gross weight: 2,800 pounds
Top speed: 75 mph
Cruising speed: 67 mph
Range: 320 miles
Power: 125-horsepower Hall-Scott A-5 engine
Accommodation:2 crew

The war years: 1939 - 1945

Only 16 months after the Stratoliner's introduction, war clouds
darkened the European horizon. Phil Johnson returned from Canada and
took over as Boeing company president, in charge of wartime
production. He died of a stroke Sept. 14, 1944, while overseeing
operations at the Boeing Wichita plant. By the 1940s Boeing workers were building B-17s at a rapidly
increasing rate.

Burlap houses and chicken-wire lawns camouflaged
the rooftops of Boeing Plant 2 in Seattle so that, from the air, the
bomber manufacturing center looked like a quiet suburb.
As American men went to war, women built airplanes. Thousands of
women, symbolized by "Rosie the Riveter," took up the slack in the
workforce and helped boost production from 60 planes per month in
1942 to an astounding 362 planes per month by March 1944 - at one
point the Seattle plant rolled out 16 planes in 24 hours.
Boeing started producing the B-29 bomber in 1942, both in Wichita,
Kansas, and at the Boeing Renton plant near Seattle. The new
"Superfortress" entered combat less than two years after its first
flight. In Wichita, farmhands, housewives and shopkeepers built
B-29s on 10-hour-shifts, day and night, during what later became
know as the "Battle of Kansas."
Companies around the country coordinated their war efforts. B-17s
were built at Boeing, Douglas Aircraft Co. and Lockheed Aircraft
Corp. factories. B-29s were built at Boeing, Bell Aircraft Co. and
Glenn L. Martin Co. In addition, between 1936 and 1944, Boeing built 240 Douglas DB-7B
attack bombers for France, 750 Waco-designed cargo and troop gliders
and 8,585 Kaydet trainers, first introduced at the Stearman Aircraft
Co. in Wichita in 1933. Boeing Aircraft of Canada built 362 PBY
flying boats and amphibians designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San
Diego and 16 British-designed Blackburn Shark torpedo aircraft for
the Royal Canadian Air Force. B-17 Flying Fortress

In response for the Army's request for a large, multiengine bomber,
the B-17 (Model 299) prototype, financed entirely by Boeing, went
from design board to flight test in less than 12 months.
The B-17 was a low-wing monoplane that combined aerodynamic features
of the XB-15 giant bomber, still in the design stage, and the Model
247 transport. The B-17 was the first Boeing military aircraft with
a flight deck instead of an open cockpit and was armed with bombs
and five .30-caliber machine guns mounted in clear "blisters."
The first B-17s saw combat in 1941, when the British Royal Air Force
took delivery of several B-17s for high-altitude missions. As World
War II intensified, the bombers needed additional armament and

The B-17E, the first mass-produced model Flying Fortress, carried
nine machine guns and a 4,000-pound bomb load. It was several tons
heavier than the prototypes and bristled with armament. It was the
first Boeing airplane with the distinctive - and enormous - tail for
improved control and stability during high-altitude bombing. Each
version was more heavily armed.
In the Pacific, the planes earned a deadly reputation with the
Japanese, who dubbed them "four-engine fighters." The Fortresses
were also legendary for their ability to stay in the air after
taking brutal poundings. They sometimes limped back to their bases
with large chunks of the fuselage shot off.
Boeing plants built a total of 6,981 B-17s in various models, and
another 5,745 were built under a nationwide collaborative effort by
Douglas and Lockheed (Vega). Only a few B-17s survive today; most
were scrapped at the end of the war. Some of the last Flying
Fortresses met their end as target drones in the 1960s - destroyed
by Boeing Bomarc missiles.

First flight: July 28, 1935
Model number: 299
Classification: Bomber
Span: 103 feet 9 inches (B-17G)
Length: 74 feet 9 inches (B-17G)
Gross weight: 65,000 pounds (B-17G)
Top speed: 287 mph (B-17G)
Cruising speed: 150 mph (B-17G)
Range (max.): 3,750 miles (B-17G)
Ceiling: 35,600 feet (B-17G)
Power: Four 1,200-horsepower Wright R-1820-97 engines
Accommodation:2 pilots, bombardier, radio-operator, 5
gunners (B-17G)
Armament:11 to 13 machine guns, 9,600-pound bomb load

http://www.boeing.com - www.boeing.com

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