727 lineage (Re: Soviet Aircraft)

From:         rdd@cactus.org (Robert Dorsett)
Organization: Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society, Austin, Tx
Date:         09 Apr 93 15:03:04 PDT
References:   1 2 3 4
Followups:    1 2
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In article <airliners.1993.332@ohareChicago.COM> kls@ohare.chicago.com writes:
>> Is the Boeing 727 a `copy' of the British Trident?  Is the Boeing
>> 767 a `copy' of the Airbus A300?  Are the DC-8 and CV-880/990
>> `copies' of the 707?
>There does appear to be some evidence that the 727 was significantly
>influenced by the Trident, though I doubt many would go so far as to
>claim that Boeing copied the Trident.  

Do you have any references for that position?  I'm aware that the Brits
complained bitterly that the Trident influenced the 727 (probably because
it trounced the Trident), but literature from Boeing (1) and Len Morgan's 
book (2) suggest it was far more mission-driven.  They needed an airplane 
to carry an Electra size load (the -100 and Electra cabins are about the 
same size), one which would have a higher dispatch reliability in the (then) 
regulatory environment, and one that could compete with other jet transports.  

The 727's fuselage cross-section is, consequently, identical to the 707's, 
and wider than the Trident's.  Three engines were used to ensure the 
dispatch requirement.  The other requirements mandated the new engine, hence 
the JT8D.  The positioning of the engines was, according to (1), a bitter 
debate, producing configurations ranging from twins to quads to airplanes 
strongly resembling the L-1011 to, even, one strongly resembling the Electra
itself.  Positioning and design of virtually all systems were themselves 
influenced by the mission requirements, as (1) makes clear.

(1) notes that the three-engine configuration owed its existence to a 
compromise proposal between UAL's desire for a four-engined plane and EAL's
desire for a twin, more than any other factor.

No doubt Boeing was well aware of the Trident program, but the R&D process
didn't seem to be unduly influenced by it.

(1) "A Case Study in Aircraft Design: The Boeing 727," American Institute
of Aeronautics & Astronautics Professional Study Series, September 14, 1978.

(2) "The Boeing 727 Scrapbook," by Len and Terry Moragan, Aero Publishers,

Robert Dorsett