040211ASME_747engine

040211ASME_747engine - Article found in the ASME magazine...

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Article found in the ASME magazine “Mechanical Engineering,” March, 2011 This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.  This article may not be reprinted for  commercial purposes without the written permission of Mechanical Engineering magazine and  ASME.  © 2008 Mechanical Engineering magazine Mounting Troubles The first jumbo jet was an engineering marvel. But it took some clever design work to keep the planes in the air. By Lee S. Langston It is every engineer’s dream to design an icon—something so well designed and commercially successful that it is the standard to which everything else in that class is compared. Small, inexpensive automobiles, for instance, are held up to the example of the Volkswagen Beetle. More recently, every smart phone is matched against the form and function of the iPhone. A Pratt & Whitney Aircraft JT9D jet engine in its nacelle being mounted on the left wing pylon of No. 1 Boeing 747, September 4, 1968. Perhaps the largest mass-produced icon is the Boeing 747, the first true jumbo jet. Since aircraft Number 1 had its maiden flight on February 9, 1969, the 747 has become the most successful wide-body passenger aircraft ever developed. Its various models, both passenger and cargo, are still in production over 40 years later, with over 1,400 assembled and flown out of Boeing’s 747
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plant in Everett, Wash. And yet, when engineers were creating this modern masterpiece in the 1960s, they ran into some formidable problems. Indeed, less than six months after that maiden flight, the plane became a source of anguish for Boeing and its jet engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft of East Hartford, Conn. As Time magazine reported in September 1969: “On the apron outside Boeing’s plant in Everett, Wash., 15 enormous 747 jets stand high and silent, harbingers of a new era in aviation. They are painted in the colors of several international airlines: TWA, Pan Am, Lufthansa, Air France. For the moment, however, the planes are the world’s largest gliders —because they have no engines. Pan Am had been scheduled to get the first three commercial giants, each with a capacity of 362 passengers, in late November. Last week embarrassed Boeing officials said that performance difficulties in the Both Boeing and Pratt & Whitney were essentially betting their net worth on the 747, the first commercial jumbo jet. The 15 four-engine 747 jets sitting engineless on the Everett tarmac represented $360 million—more than $2 billion in 2010 dollars—of stranded assets. Getting those planes in the air was an engineering and commercial imperative. In the 1960s, the jumbo jet—a wide-body aircraft with two aisles and up to ten seats per row—
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040211ASME_747engine - Article found in the ASME magazine...

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