Re: Boeing 720

From:         Don Stokes <>
Organization: Victoria University of Wellington
Date:         10 Jul 95 03:18:16 
References:   1 2 3 4
Followups:    1
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In article <3tkm0s$> you write:
>I heard the 720 designator was a sop to United, which would buy them
>but only if they weren't labelled "707".  They're just a short 707,
>is my understanding.

Not even that.  Pat Patterson, after pointing out the things that Douglas
had got right in the (then paper) DC-8 that the 707 had wrong, said he
would never buy an aeroplane with the number 707 -- he didn't like the
numbers.  So the 707s United did eventually buy (I think) 707-320Bs, they
were re-designated 720.

The fuselage widths for that series of aircraft were:

	367-80 ("Dash-80")		132 inches
	KC-135 / original 707 layout	144 inches
	707 as delivered		148 inches

By comparison, the DC-8 has a fuselage width of 147 inches.  The 707 was
to use the same fuselage as the KC-135 (aka 717) at 144 inches until
Patterson's outburst.  The floor was also thicker at this point due to
the intention to provide underfloor heating, which reduced headroom.

United bought DC-8s initially.  American bought 707s, but after being
presented with the updated specification.

Boeing did build a shortened 707, delivered to Qantas for use on the
short, humped runway at Nadi, Fiji.  No-one else bought them.  (Qantas
bought 747-SPs too -- they flew the Wellington-Aus routes for a while
before both Air NZ & Qantas put 767s on those routes.  Wellington's
runway is too short for a loaded 747 to take off on even if the traffic
densities justified it; even 767s don't have much leeway -- pulling out
of Wellington in a 767 is quite a ride.)  (Don't get an NZer started
about landing in Wellington...)

Source: Clive Irving, _Wide_Body:_The_Making_of_the_Boeing_747_, 1993

Don Stokes, Network Manager, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. +64 4 495-5052 Fax+64 4 471-5386