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The classic piston engine airliner – what an era for the airline growth, and why the jet airplane took over so quickly

Airplane Business 5 Comments

I had purchased a book by Bill Yenne titled “Classic American Airliners” for a friend as a present for the Christmas Holiday season.  When the book arrived, it was in rough shape from the trip, so I set the book aside and ordered another book that would replace this one, and kept the Bill Yenne book to read for myself.  After Christmas, I set down and started to look through the pages, and was romanced by this era of airline travel, when piston engines were it! I enjoyed reading about the Martin 4-0-4, the Convair 240, the development of the DC-4 from the military C-54, etc.  It was about an era when airline flight was being developed, and a time when less than 50% of the population of the United States had ever flown on an airlane.  The 50’s era airplanes represented the continued development of the piston engine airline, and how the booming economy of the 1950’s, drove the technology for bigger and better airplanes. Sure, the jet airline with a faster cruise, higher altitude operation, and double the passenger loads meant convenience and reliability.  However, the classic piston engine airplane used by the airline industry still has a unique place in history.  We will discover how technology AND the economic factors drove the piston engine airliner to extinction in less than 15 years. Read More