Yes, That’s a Commercial Jetliner . . .


Today in Aerospace History: On Aug. 6, 1955, Boeing’s legendary flight test chief Tex Johnston barrel-rolled the company’s new four-engine, swept-wing Model 367-80 jet that was the prototype for two iconic and enduring aircraft: the US Air Force’s KC-135 Stratotanker and the game-changing 707 Stratoliner passenger aircraft. Johnson flew the 250,000-pound Dash 80 at 500 knots and performed the maneuver twice over a crowd of a quarter million people attending the Golden Cup hydro air races at Lake Washington near Seattle. In the audience was Boeing President Bill Allen who was furious that his top test pilot was taken such a major risk with a product critical to his company’s future as a commercial jet maker. Johnson’s display wowed the crowd then and continues to amaze all who watch the brief clip of a jetliner performing a move that to date had only been seen from far smaller aircraft.


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