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J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets-The 707 and DC-8 Were The Pride Of The Fleet

When Pan American Became The Launch Customer for the 707, World Aviation Changed Forever

Photograph Courtesy Boeing

When Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) commissioned the film “The Wonderful Jet World of Pan American” in during the early 1960s, the airline had already been a world leader and airline pioneer for more than 30 years. Pan Am took delivery of their first Boeing 707 airliner as the launch customer for the new jet. When that 707 made its first scheduled revenue flight in October of 1958, the airline world would never be the same again. Enjoy this in-living-color look back at the beginnings of the Jet Age uploaded by YouTube by PeriscopeFilm.


Boeing 707-320 Photograph Courtesy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Pan Am had only been flying the big new jets for a couple of years when the film came out, making this a classic promotional film for jet airliner travel as well as for Pan Am. The airline also began flying the new turbofan-powered Douglas DC-8-30 series airliners in 1960, which along with the new turbofan-powered 707-320 series enabled the airline to fly transatlantic routes nonstop while making a profit. Pan Am retired the last of their Boeing 707s in 1981 after operating more than 130 of them. The DC-8 fleet by comparison numbered only 19 airframes which Pan Am flew for ten years ending in 1970.

Douglas DC-8-31 Photo Courtesy Douglas-Boeing

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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