Powered Flight During the 1970s Was More Than Just Awesome

Boeing 747-100. Image via Boeing

The film “Flying Machines- Powered Flight in the 1970s” was produced for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the days when the airlines were booming and research and development were investigating amazing new technologies. The piece features everything from classic airliners and general aviation aircraft to military jets and experimental types- some of which survived the decade and some of which did not. Released in 1978, the film was uploaded to YouTube by Classic Airliners & Vintage Pop Culture.

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Narrated by the late pilot and film actor Cliff Robertson, there is footage of a reenactment of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk interspersed with footage of airliners, aerobatic teams, gliders, helicopters, military jets, the Concorde, and much more. NASA aircraft are featured along with footage of the Farnborough Air Show and materials like carbon fiber and titanium undergoing testing.

Late 1970s NASA research aircraft. Image via NASA

You’ll see the Boeing YC-15 transport prototype, General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon wind tunnel testing (that’s a wicked shimmy you’ve got there!), winglets and their benefits as foretold before their widespread adoption, the Bell X-14 NASA vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) research aircraft, Vought A-7 Corsair II spin testing, general aviation crashworthiness testing, NASA Northrop T-38 Talon, Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, and Space Shuttle footage also appears in the film.

Concorde on approach. Image by Arpingstone via Wikipedia Commons public domain.