Boeing 707 Takes to the Air

707 Roll Out

In December 1958, Pan Am introduced 707 service between New York and Paris. The next month, American Airlines introduced jet travel between New York and Los Angeles. Although the 707 had been preceded by the "Comet," the 707 was the first reliable jet transport, and it revolutionized travel.

Boeing had primarily been a producer of military aircraft. Before World War II, it had manufactured the 314 Clipper and 307 Stratoliner, which were not very successful commercially. After the war Boeing committed itself producing a commercial transport. Boeing built a jet aircraft designated the 367-80 or Dash 80. It was considered a proof of concept, and it was rolled out on May 14, 1954, and flew on July 15, 1954. The Dash -80 proved a basis for the KC-135 Stratotanker.

Boeing then decided to go forward producing a passenger plane based on the Dash-80. The company decided to increase the width of the aircraft to 148 inches so it could accommodate three by three seating.

Pan American Airlines was the launch customer for the 707. Pan Am had also ordered the competing DC-8 from Douglas that would launch after the 707. The first test flight of the 707 took place on December 20, 1957. The FAA certified the aircraft on September 18, 1958. Commercial service began on October 17, 1958, on the day National Airport was inaugurated when Pan Am flew a special flight to Paris from Baltimore National Airport. Regularly scheduled flights began on October 26, 1958, with a flight from Idlewild Airport (now JFK) to Le Bourget in Paris. The 707 was a commercial success with 1010 being produced. The last commercial flight of the 707 took place in April 2013.