ALPA Turns 85: Dawn of the Jet Age - 1950s and 1960s


In 1949, North America’s first jetliner, the Avro Canada C102, debuts. It never goes into mass production, but it sparks intense interest among the flying public in the speed of air travel by jet.

In 1958, Boeing’s first jetliner, the 707, enters service and becomes the first commercially successful jetliner, ushering in the Jet Age. The first Douglas jet, the DC-8, entered commercial service the next year.

In 1967, Boeing unveils the 737, a ubiquitous twin-engine narrowbody that is still in production today.

Early 737s require a three-person crew due in part to ALPA policies, but the flight engineer position is eventually eliminated after a joint FAA/Boeing flight crew of only two flies numerous scenarios in the Boston, Mass.–Washington, D.C., corridor, including approaches to minimums, go-arounds, diversions, simulated instrument failures, and crew incapacitation. 


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