By Minette Keyter

William E. Boeing was born in 1881 from a wealthy German family who made a fortune in the timber industry in Detroit, Michigan.

William E. Boeing (1881 - 1956)

After his graduation from Yale University in 1903 he started working in the timber industry which prepared him well for his future in aviation. During the year 1909 he saw his first manned flying machine and was so interested in aviation that he decided to learn to fly. He was taught by Glenn Martin and soon after William Boeing bought one of Martin's planes only to damage it in a crash. The parts required for the repair of the plane took a few months and Boeing realized during that time it would be easier to design and develop his own aircraft.

Boeing alongside George Conrad Westervelt built the first B & W Seaplane and thereafter decided to join the aviation industry industry, naming their business "Pacific Aero Products Co".

When the United States entered World War I, Boeing changed the name to Boeing Airplane Company and received an order from the US navy to build 50 new aircraft. After the war Boeing produced aircraft for the United States air mail service and developed the company into much more than just an aircraft manufacturer, eventually also owning United Airlines.

Legislation changed in the USA prohibiting airline companies from manufacturing aircraft and it was decided to split the company, naming it "The Boeing Company". Boeing resigned soon after and Clairmont Egtveld took over his position as chairperson when Boeing found a new love for sailing. Boeing died in 1956 at the age of 74 due to a heart attack.

Famous aircraft produced by The Boeing Company:

Boeing Stearman, Model 75 was developed in the 1930's and used as a military trainer.

Boeing Stearman

In 1935 Boeing developed the famous World War II bomber, the B-17 Flying Fortress.

B-17 Flying Fortress (Photo: Willie Bodenstein)

The Boeing 707 has grown to be one of the most successful aircraft ever built and was also Boeing's first jet liner. The 707 has been used for domestic and international flights carrying passengers, military personnel and cargo. The production of the 707 started in the 1950's.

Boeing 707 (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing developed an entire Boeing 737 family which consists of the Boeing 737 Classic, 737 Next Generation and Boeing Business Jet line. The Boeing 737 Classic was built in the 1980's and is a narrow-body jet airliner. It is well known, extremely popular and it is estimated that more than 2 Boeing 737s land or take-off every second somewhere in the world. A variant of the Boeing 737 Classic is the Boeing 737NG (Next Generation) which is still in production and high in demand.

Boeing 737

Boeing Business Jet became one of the versions developed from the Boeing 737NG and consists of a lounge, boardroom, showers and VIP bedrooms. Boeing continues to develop and manufacture some of the greatest aircraft and we can expect some big things in 2017 when the Boeing 737 Max will be introduced.

Boeing Business Jet Interior examples (Photo: Boeing)

Another famous product of The Boeing Company was the Boeing 747. The 747 was more than twice the size of the 707 and produced from around the 1960's. This piece of art is also referred to as "Jumbo Jet".

Boeing 747

The most famous Boeing 747 in South Africa is probably the Lebombo (ZS-SAN). This was the first Boeing 747 in South Africa and arrived at Jan Smuts International Airport on 22 October 1971 and was retired to its final resting place at the SAA museum near Rand Airport in Germiston on the 5th of March 2004.

Boeing 747 Lebombo Landing at Jan Smuts Airport on 22 October 1971

Boeing 747 Lebombo Landing at Rand Airport on 5 March 2004

The latest in the Boeing-Family is the 787 Dreamliner. This aircraft is the largest aircraft made from composite materials and the most fuel- efficient airliner, currently in production.

Boeing 787 (Photo: Boeing)

Manufacturers That Changed History

Copyright © 2024 Pilot's Post PTY Ltd
The information, views and opinions by the authors contributing to Pilotís Post are not necessarily those of the editor or other writers at Pilotís Post.