Today in History – April 9, 1967 – The Boeing 737 makes its maiden flight. Boeing initiated the design in 1958 and received its first order in 1965. Since then the Boeing 737 has become a top selling airplane with approximately 6,000 orders.
John McMasters was an expert engineer at Boeing who had an endless passion for designing aircraft. John was equally passionate about inspiring the next generation of engineering designers. He graduated with BS and MS degrees in engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. John started his career with the U.S. Air Force where he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal in 1965 for his conceptual design, deployment and testing of air-to-air guided missiles. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1975 and joined Boeing as an aerodynamics engineering soon afterward, where he developed many new concepts that revolutionized the airplane design industry.
John passed way in 2008 and prior to his death he prepared large annotated presentation and other documents to preserve his legacy of innovations in airplane design. These documents are accessible on the Engineering Pathway digital library and the following are John’s own words on airplane design:
“In order to understand where we have been as a guide to where we are now going in our future, let us begin by considering the history of flight – so far.
Starting with the world’s first controlled, powered flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903, we have seen dramatic progress driven by the mantra: “Farther, faster, and higher”
With the introduction of practical rocket propulsion schemes in WWII, the quest for progress continued as we were able to fly beyond the earth’s atmosphere and successfully send a person to the moon.
Today, we dream of travel to other planets and beyond, and air transportation is so commonplace that we often take it for granted (even though it has dramatically changed the world we live in – and will likely continue to do so).”
“The Boeing B-47 and the Douglas DC-3 are two of the ten most historically significant aircraft of the first century of flight. The B-47 was more than just another bomber, it established the “paradigm” for what a good long-range subsonic cruising airplane should look like and led directly to the Boeing 707 (and competitor Douglas DC-8) that transformed the commercial airplane business in the mind of the traveling public. The fact that Douglas and Boeing are now combined under the same tenet is an irony of the history of aviation. Likewise, the Boeing led International Space Station and the Rockwell/North American Space Shuttle are “synergistic” with each other and both are now “Boeing”. It may also be argued that the incredible North American B-70 was a more fantastic technical achievement than the better known Anglo/French “Concord” SST. The satellite is the Hughes Anik A – the first synchronous communications satellite.
• As a consequence of our mergers and acquisitions, Boeing now has a strong domestic presence in over half the states in the union, including Hawaii and Alaska (not shown).
• Because we have such a broad presence, there is a huge range of job and career opportunities for new employees. There is also a broader selection of job site opportunities. “