In which year did the jet age begin?

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  • Bath_VIP
    Participant

    A question for those interested in aviation history.

    For clarity, I am NOT asking for the year of the first flight of a particular aircraft type e.g. Comet in 1949.

    For me, the jet age began when the majority of commercial passenger flights (i.e. >50%) were by jet aircraft but in which year?

    I suspect Transatlantic services were the first to enter the jet age but what about European services, Domestic services, etc.

    I think it must be sometime in the late 60s given the following aircraft entered commercial passenger service in these years (Soviet aircraft ignored).

    1952 – Comet
    1958 – B707
    1959 – DC8, Caravelle
    1960 – Convair 880
    1964 – B727, Trident, VC10
    1965 – DC9
    1968 – B737
    1969 – F28
    1970 – B747
    1971 – DC10, Mercure
    1972 – Tristar
    1974 – A300
    1975 – VFW 614
    1976 – Concorde

    All years from Wikipedia which lists all aircraft year of 1st flight (note not 1st commercial flight) here

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Aircraft_first_flown_in_1949

    A bonus question for you to work out yourself. In which year did the next (western) commercial passenger jet enter commercial service and what was it?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Really interesting thread Bath-VIP.

    One aircraft you have forgotten is the BAC 1-11.

    Where cities have more than one airport that will have a determining factor.

    For example, in January 1966 BUA became the first scheduled all-jet operation on UK domestic routes.

    At that time BEA was using prop Vanguard aircraft from Heathrow on main domestic trunk routes and this continued for another couple of years so giving BUA a lead.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_United_Airways


    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    Alex thanks for pointing out the omission of the BAC111 so I will amend. I had the data but forgot to put it in.

    The Vanguard was one of the airliners that prompted this thread. My father used to take them when travelling between Edinburgh & London back in the 60s and remembering that made me wonder when the crossover point was.


    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    Alex, I don’t seem to be able to edit my original post but the BAC111 started commercial service in 1965.


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    Great thread! Thanks. I’m no expert but would put the date at about 1970-72, when flying became cheaper and far more common.

    I thought I knew something about flying and jets, but I had never even heard of the VFW 614.


    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    GivingUpBA

    I think there were only about 20 VFW614s made and I got to see one owned by Cimber Air at Newcastle airport in the late 1970s. Weird looking thing!


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    GivingUpBA

    I think there were only about 20 VFW614s made and I got to see one owned by Cimber Air at Newcastle airport in the late 1970s. Weird looking thing!

    You’re very lucky to have seen a VFW 614 in that case!

    I checked the VFW 614 Wikipedia page before my last post, it has some quite good photos as I’m sure you know. The engine mount looks unusual.


    FDOS
    Participant

    We need to define if ‘jet’ means one or more of

    – turbojet
    – turbofan
    – turboprop

    This makes a significant difference.


    FDOS
    Participant

    Talking of rarities, I never went on a VFW614, but did take a number of Mercure flights – just wondering how many others experienced the French 737 on steroids? (with a hint of A300 at the front).

    https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/abpic-media-eu-production/pictures/full_size_0255/1383184-large.jpg


    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    FDOS, if it doesn’t have propellers on the outside it’s a jet!


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I’m no expert but would put the date at about 1970-72, when flying became cheaper and far more common.

    You must be referring to when the B747 was launched in January 1970 by PanAm. Its first route was JFK-LHR.

    It took several more years before traffic picked up and then in the latter 1970s the airlines started to capitalise on demand by squeezing in more Y seats.

    So Y class, which originally was 9-across, because 10-across.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    If we’re looking for a compromise date to agree on, Paul McCartney & Wings released ‘Jet’ in January 1974.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    ASK1945
    Participant

    Forgive me for doing down on you youngsters – but for me the “Jet Age” started when the USA and UK governments relaxed the rules and permitted Transatlantic charter flights in 1963, thereby severely undercutting the scheduled flight monopoly by the big airlines before then. Transatlantic flights were prohibitevly expensive for “ordinary” people until then.

    I flew to NYC on an Aer Lingus charter flight in a Boeing 707 in July 1963, chartered by the National Union of Students. My ticket for £60* was sold to me in my university students’ union by Anna Ford, later to become a major TV newsreader.

    * about £1,200 in today’s money

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Just seen this tweet by @Gate7tweet [FR]

    In a posting above I referred to the B747 and its first commercial flight.

    The flight in question with JFK-LHR with Pan Am on January 22, 1970

    Here’s a photo of the event.


    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    Talking of rarities, I never went on a VFW614, but did take a number of Mercure flights – just wondering how many others experienced the French 737 on steroids? (with a hint of A300 at the front).

    https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/abpic-media-eu-production/pictures/full_size_0255/1383184-large.jpg

    Don’t know about A300. My first thought was the nose looks like an IL-86

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilyushin_Il-86#/media/File:Aeroflot_Ilyushin_Il-86.jpg

    Must be a very rare picture of the Mercure if taken at Gatwick (I presume given Monarch 111 & Dan Air 707 in background?).

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