Commercial Airliners 1945-69


Tudor 1945

Tudor 1945: set a pattern which has bedeviled British aircraft in this class ever since. Conceived as the first new post-war civil airliner, the prototype revealed snags requiring expensive-and time wasting- modifications. After two years of non-stop alterations, BOAC called for a further 343 modifications. Two Tudors were lost without trace, casting doubt on their airworthiness, although later aircraft with independent airlines proved reliable and useful.

Built By: A.V. Roe & Company, Manchester


  • Length 79.5 feet (24.23 metres)
  • Wing span 120 feet (36.58 meters)
  • Weight empty 47,960 lb (21,750 kg)
  • Passengers/cargo 12 to 42 passenger
  • Cruising speed 210 mph (340 kmph)
  • Ceiling 26,000 feet (8,000 metres) fully loaded
  • Range 3,600 miles(5,800 km)
  • Engines 4 x 1,770 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin.



Dove 1945

Dove 1945: replacing the pre-war biplane Rapide, this was de Havilland’s first peace- time project. It proved ideal as a small feederliner and as a company business aircraft; one such aircraft flew 30,000 miles (50,000 km) and carried 300 passengers in 4 months. Well over 500 were sold, many for export. Later versions had more powerful engines and a redesigned cockpit canopy, as in the photograph.

Built By: The de Havilland Aircraft Company, Hatfield


  • Length 39.25 feet (11.95 metres)
  • Wing span 57 feet (17.37 meters)
  • Weight empty 6,325 lb (2,870 kg)
  • Passengers/cargo: 2 crew and up to 11 passengers
  • Cruising speed 200 mph (320 kmph)
  • Ceiling 21,700 feet (6,600 metres) fully loaded
  • Range 500 miles (800 km)
  • Engines 2 x 330 hp D.H. Gipsy Queen 70.



Viking  1945

Viking  1945: this was the first British post-war aeroplane to enter airline service and was the mainstay of BEA until the Viscount turboprop airliner. For speed and cheapness, parts of the Wellington bomber were used, particularly in the wings. The fuselage of stressed-skin construction was new and very strong. On one flight in 1950, a bomb almost blew off the tail in flight, yet the pilot’s skill plus the strength of the fuselage ensured a safe landing.

Built By: Vickers-Armstrong, Weybridge

Dimensions: Length 65.1 feet (19.8 metres); Wing span 89.25 feet (27.2metres); Weight empty 47,960 lb (21,750 kg); Passengers/cargo: 2 crew, and 21 passengers; Cruising speed 210 mph (340 kmph); Ceiling 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) fully loaded; Range 1875 miles (3,000 km) ; Engines 2 x 1,690 hp Bristol Hercules.


Viscount 1948

Viscount 1948: the Viscount 700 went into service with BEA in 1950, when its smooth ride and high speed attracted passengers away from the airlines operating older, vibration-prone piston-engined planes. As the world’s first turboprop transport it was particularly trouble-free. The 800 series had more powerful engines and a longer fuselage seating up to 75 passengers. This was the most successful British transport ever; 438 were built.

Built By: Vickers-Armstrong, Weybridge

Dimensions: Length 81.2 feet (24.75 metres); Wing span 94 feet (28.65 metres); Weight loaded 56,000 lb (22,540 kg); Passengers/cargo:  3 to 4 crew, 40 to 48 passengers; Maximum cruising speed 300 mph (480 kph); Ceiling 28,500 feet (8,700 metres) fully loaded; Range 750 miles (1,200 km) with 13,000 lb payload; Engines 4 x 1,530 eshp Rolls Royce Dart turboprop.


Hermes 1948

Hermes 1948: designed during the Second World War for future peace-time routes, the Hermes was dogged by misfortune and delays. The initial prototype of 1945 stalled and crashed, and it was not until September1948, that the definitive passenger version flew. Even that did not enter service with BOAC until 1950, by which time the type was obsolescent. It was replaced by Canadian C4s in 1952.

Built By: Handley Page, Cricklewood

Dimensions: Length 96.8 feet (24.75 metres); Wing span 94 feet (28.65 metres); Weight loaded 56,000 lb (22,540 kg); Passengers/cargo:  5 crew, 40 passengers; Cruising speed 275 mph (440 kmph); Ceiling 24,500 feet (7,500 metres) fully loaded; Range 2,000 miles (3,200 km) with 14,000 lb (6,350 kg) payload; Engines 4 x 2100 hp Bristol Hercules.


Comet 1949

Comet 1949:this is the world’s first jet airliner, is assured of a permanent place in aviation history, just failing to become also one of the great aero planes of all time. One of the best looking aircraft ever designed, it cut journey times by half, but crashed twice over the Mediterranean. Redesign work resulted in the Comet 4, with Rolls-Royce Avons giving more than twice the power, payload and longer ranges. However, in the time lost, America had gained her present lead in big jet transport.

Built By: The de Havilland Aircraft Company, Hatfield

Dimensions: Length 93 feet (29.5 meters); Wing span 113 feet (34.43 meters); Weight  empty 55,350 lb (25,100 kg); Passengers/cargo:  36-44 first class; Maximum cruising speed 490 mph (790 kmph); Cruising altitude 35,000 feet (11,000 metres) fully loaded; Range 1,750 miles (2,800 km) ; Engines 4 x 4,450 lb (2,020 kg) thrust DH Ghost 50 turbojet.



Stratocruiser 1949

Stratocruiser 1949: this was a passenger development of the B-29 Superfortress bomber of the Second World War, the conversion being effected by placing a large luxurious passenger cabin on top of the bomber fuselage! It was popular, and most successful in bridging the gap between the end of the war and the time when new airliners became available. A military version used by the U.S. Air Force, was known as the “Stratofreighter”.

Built By: Boeing Airplane Company, Seattle

Dimensions: Length 110.3 feet (33.62 metres); Wing span 141.25 feet (43 metres); Weight empty 83,500 lb (37,870 kg); Passengers/cargo 7 crew, and up to 100 passengers; Maximum cruising speed 340 mph (550 kmph); Ceiling 32,000 feet (10,000 meters) fully loaded; Range 4,600 miles (7,400 km) ; Engines 4 x 3500 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360



Super Constellation 1950

Super Constellation 1950: this development of the model 649 “standard” Constellation actually started in 1939 when Lockheed was attempting to meet the requirements of TWA. Modified into a military transport during the Second World War, the design was reconverted into an airliner which came at the right time to equip airlines starved of new aircraft by the war. The distinctive unswept tail and down swept nose of the fuselage was adopted in the interests of aerodynamic efficiency.

Built By: Lockheed Aircraft  Corporation, Burbank

Dimensions: Length 113.6 feet (34.62 metres); Wing span 123 feet (37.47 metres); Weight maximum 137,500 lb (62,370 kg); Passengers/cargo 6 crew, 65-89 passengers; Maximum cruising speed 310 mph (500 kmph) ; Range 4,800 miles (7,700 km) with 18, 000 lb payload; Engines 4 x 3400 hp Wright R-3350 turbo-compound piston- engines.



Britannia 1952

Britannia 1952: this, the ultimate in propeller-driven airliner, was intended to bridge the gap between the old- piston-engined craft and the jet-liners. Unfortunately, although ordered in 1948, continued changes of mind and extended development trials, kept the aircraft out of service until 1957. This was too late for its undoubted qualities to be fully exploited, and it did not attract the anticipated world-wide airline orders. R.A.F. Transport Command operates 20 Britannias, with large freight doors, as all purpose transports.

Built By: Bristol Aeroplane Company, Bristol

Dimensions (300): Length 124.25 feet (37.89 metres); Wing span 142.25 feet (43.38 metres); Weight empty 93,100 lb (42,230 kg); Passengers/cargo:  9 crew and up to 133 passengers; Long range cruising speed 355 mph (570 kmph) ; Range 4,268 miles (6,869 km) with  maximum payload of 28,000 lb (12,700 kg);  Engines 4 x 4,400 eshp Bristol Siddeley Proteus 705 turboprop engine.



Boeing 707 1954

Boeing 707 1954: this, the first jet transport to be built in the United States is the airliner which, together with the Douglas DC-8, brought large scale jet travel to the world. Over 800 were produced for the U.S. Air Force, providing valuable experience for the famous family of civil versions which have followed. Many improvements have been embodied in the model 320B.

Built By: The Boeing Company, Seattle

Dimensions: Length 152.9 feet (46.61 metres); Wing span 145.75 feet (44.42 metres); Empty weight 138,385  lb (62,771 kg); Passengers 189 maximum economy class passengers; Ceiling 42, 000 feet (12,800 metres) fully loaded; Range 6,160 miles (9,915 km) no reserves;  Engines 4 x 18,000 lb (8,165 kg) thrust Pratt & Whitney JTD-3 turbofan



Tupolev Tu. 104a  1955

Tupolev Tu. 104a  1955: the Tu.104 was Russia’s first jet airliner, and is a passenger- carrying development of the Tu.16 bomber, embodying a bigger fuselage. The Tu.104 accommodated 50 passengers, the Tu.104A and the Tu.104B, with a slightly longer fuselage, seats 100. Although it went into service as long ago as 1956, it is still widely used in Russia and her neighbouring countries.

Designed By:  Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev

Dimensions: Length 126.3 feet (38.50 metres); Wing span 113.3 feet (34.54 metres); Maximum takeoff weight 166,450 lb (75,500 kg); Passengers 100; Maximum cruising speed: 560 mph (900 kmph); Cruising height 39, 000 feet (12,000 metres) fully loaded; Range 2,610 miles (4,200 km) with 17,640 lb (8,000 kg) payload; Engines 2 x 19,180 lb (8,700 kg) thrust Mikolin AM-3M.


Caravelle 1955

Caravelle 1955: this twin- jet, short-to-medium range airliner is the only aircraft of its type to be developed in the West outside the United States and Britain. Of interest is the finely streamlined nose, based on that of Britain’s Comet jetliner. The latest model is the Series IIR, for mixed passenger-freight, with American Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines, and a large freight door in the left side of the fuselage.

Built By:  Sud Aviation, Toulouse

Dimensions: Length 105 feet (32.01 metres); Wing span 112.5 feet (34.30 metres); Empty weight 57,935 lb (26,280 kg); Passengers/cargo: maximum accommodation 99; Maximum cruising speed: 525 mph (845 kmph); Range 1,430 miles (2,300 km)  with  maximum payload; Engines 2 x 12,600 lb (5,725 kg) thrust Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet.



Friendship 1955

Friendship 1955: this is a very successful medium-sized, short- to- medium range airliner which has been in production for several years in both the United States and Holland. The engine and much of the internal equipment is supplied by Britain, including the landing gear shock absorber struts, wheels and brakes. The military version can carry 45 paratroops or 24 stretchers and 7 attendants.

Built By: Fokker, Amsterdam

Dimensions: Length 77.1 feet (23.5 metres); Wing span 95.2 feet (29.0 metres); Weight empty 23,200  lb (10,525  kg); Passengers 52; Maximum cruising speed 295 mph (474 kmph); Ceiling 28,500 feet (8,700 metres) fully loaded; Range 1,285 miles (2,070  km); Engines 2 x 2,050 eshp Rolls Royce Dart turboprop.



Ilyushin IL-18  1957

Ilyushin IL-18  1957: one of the better Soviet transports built since the end of the war, this aircraft has an impressive performance and, being rugged and reliable, has been supplied to many foreign airlines. It is estimated that more than 500 have been built, and the aircraft has been used to help develop the Polosa automatic landing system, which meets western standards.

Built By: Hadinka Works, Moscow

Dimensions: Length 117.75 feet (35.9 metres); Wing span 122.7 feet (37.4 metres); Weight empty 77,160  lb (35,000 kg); Passenger : maximum capacity 122;  Maximum cruising speed 420  mph (675 kmph); Range 2,300 miles (3,700 km) with  maximum payload; Engines 4 x 4,250 eshp Ivchenko AI-20 turboprop.



Electra  1957

Electra  1957: nearly 200 of this medium-range airliner, designed specifically for airline routes in the United States, were  produced and the type served a useful purpose pending the development of short-range jet airliners. It is in wide scale service (in Europe with the Dutch airline KLM) and large numbers of “Orion”, an anti-submarine version, have been produced.

Built By: Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, California

Dimensions: Length 104.5 feet (31.81 metres); Wing span 99 feet (30.18 metres); Weight empty 57,300  lb (25,990  kg); Passengers:  high density version-99; Maximum cruising speed 405  mph (650 kmph); Ceiling 28,400 feet (8,655 metres) ; Range 2,770 miles (4,458 km) with 18,000 lb (8,165 kg) payload;  Engines 4 x 4, 050 eshp Allison 501-D15 turboprop.



Douglas DC-8  1959

Douglas DC-8  1959: this was the first jet transport to be produced by Douglas. It has been progressively developed, the latest version, the Super 63, having a fuselage lengthened by 36.7 feet (11.18 meters), an extended wing span, improved engine pods and redesigned engine pylons to reduce drag. The maximum range of this version is 7,700 miles (12,400 km).

Built By: The Douglas Aircraft Company, Santa Monica

Dimensions (Super 63): Length 187.4 feet (57.12 metres); Wing span 148.4 feet (45.23 metres); Eeight empty 153,749 lb (69,739 kg); Passengers/cargo: maximum capacity 251 passengers; Maximum cruising speed 600 mph (965 kmph) ; Range 4,600 miles (7,400 km) with maximum payload; Engines 4 x 19,000 lb (8,618 kg) thrust Pratt & Whitney JT3D engine


Hawker Siddeley HS 125  1962

Hawker Siddeley HS 125  1962: this is a twin- jet executive aircraft used by large or widely scattered companies who require rapid transport without booking scheduled airlines. It is extremely comfortable and the roomy cabin enables passengers to walk to their seats without stooping. Nearly 200 had been sold in America by the end of 1969 and a navigational trainer version, the “Dominie”, is in service with the R.A.F.

Built By: Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Chester

Dimensions: Length 47.4 feet (14.45 metres); Wing span 47 feet (14.33 metres); Weight empty 11,900  lb (5,400 kg); Passengers/cargo : 2 crew and up to 8 passengers; Maximum  cruising speed 505 mph (813 kmph) ; Ceiling 39,000 feet (11,900 metres); Range 1,940 miles (3,120 km) with maximum payload; Engines 2 x 3,360 lb (1,525 kg) thrust Bristol Siddeley Viper Turbojet.


Trident 2E  1962

Trident 2E  1962: the Trident was designed to meet BEA requirements for a short- haul, 600 mph (965 kmph) airliner for use during 1965-75. The 2E is the long- range version with more fuel, operating non-stop between London and the Middle-East. Under development is the 3B, with a lengthened fuselage seating up to 146 passengers and, in addition to the three Spey engines, a Rolls-Royce RB 162 booster engine in the tail.

Built By: Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Hatfield

Dimensions: Length 114.75 feet (34.98 metres); Wing span 198 feet (29,87 metres); Weight empty 73,550 lb (33,361 kg); Passengers  BEA aircraft 94 tourist class; Maximum cruising speed 605 mph (972  kmph) ; Range 2,450 miles (3,950 km) with passenger capacity payload; Engines 3 x 11,930 lb (5,410 kg) thrust Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan.



Ilyushin IL-62  1963

Ilyushin IL-62  1963: this is the standard long- range jet airliner in service with Aeroflot, the Russian national airline. It first entered service after a long series of snags in 1967, when it was introduced on the long Moscow-Montreal route. During the development period one of the many changes made was the embodiment of the distinctive saw- tooth leading-edge.

Designed By: Sergei Vladimirovich Ilyushin, USSR

Dimensions: Length 174.25 feet (53.12 metres); Wing span 142  feet (43.30 metres); Weight empty 149,475 lb (67,800 kg); Passengers/cargo: maximum: capacity 186  passengers; Maximum cruising speed 560  mph (900  kmph) ; Range 5,715 miles (9,200 km) with  22,050 lb (10,000 kg) payload ; Engines 4 x 23,150 lb (10,500 kg) thrust Kuznetsov NK84 turbofan.


Boeing 727  1963

Boeing 727  1963: the early days of this short-to-medium range airliner were marred by crashes during landing, but, shortening journey times and being more comfortable than the propeller-driven aircraft it replaced, the liner attracted many passengers. Also it made money for the airlines with the result that today hundreds are in service all over the world. The latest version, the “Series 200”, (to which the accompanying details apply), has a lengthened fuselage.

Built By: The Boeing Company, Seattle

Dimensions: Length 153 feet (46.69 metres); Wing span 108 feet (32.92  metres); Weight empty 89,300lb (40,500 kg); Passengers maximum 189; maximum; Maximum cruising speed 592mph (953 kmph) ; Ceiling 35,200 feet (10,730 meters);  Range 2,300 miles (3,700 km) with 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) payload; Engines 3 x 14,000 lb (6,350 kg) thrust Pratt & Whitney JT8D  turbofan.



Super VCR-10  1964

Super VCR-10  1964: acclaimed as the most comfortable and quietest airliner, the VC-10, designed to operate from small and difficult airfields in Africa, has excellent takeoff characteristics and a relatively low landing speed. It is thus not quite as efficient as other aircraft over long ranges. The Super VC-10, with a longer fuselage, an improved wing leading-edge and more powerful engines, carries more passengers for a small increase in takeoff distance.

Built By:  British Aircraft Corporation, Weybridge.

Dimensions: Length 171.7 feet (52.32 meters); Wing span 146.2 feet (44.55 meters); Empty weight 154,552 lb (70,104 kg); Passengers maximum capacity 174 economy; Maximum cruising speed 581 mph (935 kmph); Range 4,729 miles (7,600 km); Engines 4 x 22,500 lb (10,205 kg) thrust Rolls-Royce Conway turbofan.



Douglas DC-9  1965

Douglas DC-9  1965: it was to be expected that Douglas would not let the Boeing 727 and the BAC One-Eleven fulfill all the need for short-range airliners. Their contender, the DC-9, was ordered in such large numbers that Douglas had to merge with McDonnell to build them all. In service the DC-9 is proving reliable and economical. The most popular variant is the “Series 30”, to which the accompanying details apply.

Built By: The Douglas Aircraft Company, Santa Monica

Dimensions: Length 119.25 feet (36.37 meters); Wing span 93.4 feet (28.7 meters); Empty weight 52,935 lb (24,010 kg); Passengers: series 20,-90 passengers, series 30-115 passengers, series 40-125 passengers; Maximum cruising speed 565 mph (909 kmph); Range 1,725 miles (2,775 km) with 50 passengers; Engines 2 x 14,000 lb (6,350 kg) thrust Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofan.


BAC One Eleven, 1967

BAC Super One Eleven, 1967: orders by American operators represented a major tribute to the technical excellence of this short- range airliner, designed as a jet successor to the Viscount. It has proved remarkably reliable and the cheapest airliner in the world to operate. The latest version, the Series 500, has a lengthened fuselage, increased wing span and more powerful engines. BEA refer to this model as the Super One-Eleven.

Built By: British Aircraft Corporation, Weybridge

Dimensions: Length 107 feet (32.61 meters); Wing span 93.5 feet (28.5 metres); Empty weight 53,995 lb (24,490 kg); Passengers 490 maximum; Maximum cruising speed 548 mph (882  kmph); Ceiling 35,000 feet (10,670  metres) ; Cruising; range 576 miles (927 km) with typical payload and 2 hours of reserve fuel;  Engines 2 x 11,970 lb (5,434 kg) thrust Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan


Yak 40  1966

Yak 40  1966: this Russian jet airliner is intended to replace Aeroflot’s Russian built Dakotas, and its most interesting feature is that although very mall, it is powered by three tail-mounted turbofan engines. To increase its usefulness and to enable it to be used from minor airports, it is designed to operate from grass airfields. When it is used as a freighter, the passenger seats fold back against the sides of the cabin.

Designed By: Alexander Sergievich Yakolev, USSR


  • Length 66.25 feet (20.19 metres)
  • Wing span 82 feet (25 metres)
  • Takeoff weight  30,200 lb (13,700 kg)
  • Passengers: maximum: capacity 31;
  • Cruising speed 342 mph (550 kmph)
  • Range 1,025 miles (1,650 km)
  • Engines 3 x 3,300 lb (1,500 kg) thrust Ivchenko A-1-25 turbofan.


Boeing 747  1969

Boeing 747  1969: the “jumbo jet” can accommodate 490 passengers, although initial versions have a basic layout for about 350 passengers in greater comfort. The wide and high passenger compartments set a fashion which is being followed by the Lockheed 10-11 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 shorter range jumbo-jets. The distinctive flight deck was placed up high so that the whole nose can hinge upward to allow nose-in loading on the all- freighter version.

Built By: The Boeing Company, Seattle


  • Length 231.3 feet (70.51 metres)
  • Wing span 195.7 feet (59. 64 metres)
  • Maximum weight 710,000 lb (322,000 kg)
  • Passengers 490 maximum
  • Maximum cruising speed 640 mph (1,030  kmph)
  • Ceiling 45, 000 feet (13,000 metres) fully loaded
  • Range 4,600 miles (7,400 km) with maximum payload
  • Engines 4 x 43, 500 lb (19,730 kg) thrust Pratt & Whitney JT9D turbofan

Concorde  1969

Concorde  1969: designed and built jointly by France and Britain, this is the world’s second supersonic airliner, after Russia’s Tu.144. The basic simplicity of the exterior tends to hide the complexity of the internal systems and equipment. The fuel system, for example is used also to maintain the aircraft trim while it accelerates and slows down, and to cool the cabin air. The Concorde is taking aviation to the limits of present day materials, processes and techniques.

Built By: Sud Aviation and the British Aircraft Corporation


  • Length 193 feet (58.4 metres)
  • Wing span 84 feet (25.6 metres)
  • Empty weight 159,500 lb (72,350 kg)
  • Passengers 128 maximum
  • Maximum cruising speed 1,450 mph (2,333 kmph)
  • Ceiling 65,000 feet (19,800 metres) fully loaded
  • Range 4,250 miles (6,830 km) with maximum payload
  • Engines 4 x 37,400 lb (16,900 kg) thrust Bristol Siddeley Olympus turbofan


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.