Boeing Dash 80 (707) Barrel Roll!

PGB

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In 1954 Boeing released the 707 or Dash 80. While watching the History channel the other day I found this cool tid bit. During some boat races in Seattle in 1954 Boeing was going to do a fly over in their new Jet. The test pilot Tex Avery decided to spice it up a bit.

see video

http://www.aviationexplorer.com/707_roll_video.htm


I thought this was pretty cool.

Hope you enjoy it. If anyone remembers this first hand please let us know.

Thanks,
 
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"Whoa....Honey, can I have your air sickness bag, I don't feel too good". Wow, I would have never thought a commercial aircraft could do that without coming apart at the seams!!!
 
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Being upside down in an acft is a very cool feeling, but I'm not sure I would want that feeling in jumbo
 
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Actually, according to Tex, it was a 1-G maneuver. In other words, if you were in the plane with a cup of coffee in your hand, and closed your eyes, you'd never know that it happened. 8)

Of course, the Boeing folks were not amused. :roll:
 
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Hi Patrick,

I was not there, but I heard a lot about it during the mid 1960's when I worked at Cape Canaveral.
There were several Boeing people who lived in the apartment building where I rented. Several of them saw it in person. The best stories were from the wives who were there, since they were certain that something had gone very wrong and their husbands would be out of work!
The Seattle Hydrofoil races were a big event in the 1950's and Boeing entertained airline executives and senior pilots there. There was a lot of competition between the Boeing 707 and the Douglass DC-8 jets, both then in the prototype stage.
One of my friends who was there in Boeing's stand said that as Tex Johnson (not Avery) leveled out of the roll, he saw the senior pilots of most of the large airlines of the world each turn to their respective presidents and say "Let's buy this one!"
Tex Johnson was friends with some of the people in the building and I met him once. Needless to say he had quite a reputation. I think he was chief test pilot for the USAF, then chief test pilot for Boeing. Supposedly the first to fly the B-29, B-47, B-52 and the 707 prototype. It was my understanding that he was never allowed to fly for Boeing after the barrel roll incident, which he did completely on his own.
Since it helped make the 707 the dominant jet aircraft, they could not fire him, he was promoted to Vice President and put in charge of the Cape Canaveral Office, as far from Seattle as possible!


I had not thought about this in several years and you bring back memories.
Bob
 

gho

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Wow thanks Bob for the background and thanks Patrick for the link.

Seems to me it's a pretty loose roll, I can't see what the hubub is about. Must be something about being upside down.

Wonder if anyone's ever tried that with a C5?
 

Rob

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Wonder if anyone's ever tried that with a C5?
You learn very quickly in aviation that you never publicise anything illegal/naughty you get up to; it tends to bite you in the butt!

My reply to the question from a colleague, "Have you ever rolled one of these?" was a raised eyebrow and a smile. 8) 8) 8)
 
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Hi Gregory,

I'm not a pilot nor an aircraft designer, but as I understand it, a fighter plane or and aerobatic plane has a wing designed for both positive and negative G-forces. Thus it can fly inverted or upright. A normal commercial type plane is only designed for positive G-forces. Everything is fine in upright flight, but the wings will fold up when inverted.
The secret is to roll the plane so that the G-forces are always positive. You can't hesitate at all while inverted, there is some real skill and co-ordination needed, especially in this instance since 100,000 plus people will watch you die if you mess up.
The guy who lived in my building and who was the friend of Tex had been a WW-II Naval Aviator flying from a carrier in the Pacific. He had his own light twin in Florida.
He told me that Tex Johnson would sometimes fly with him and he always worried when they flew together. Tex always wanted to pilot and soon my friend was "looking up at the ground". He knew his plane was not designed for it and was concerned that the repeated stresses might eventually hurt the wings.
My friend did some pretty wild things and also had a lot of flying skills, but was not comfortable rolling his own light twin. I took that as an indication of the skill needed to do it!
More later if I think about it,
Bob
 

Rob

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Bob, those aircraft are put through some very stringent test procedures during initial testing before being released to the world's pilots. They are really made to cope with all sorts of stresses and strains you and I never want to know about or experience. :shock:

If they were as fragile as some think then fleets such as Garuda (Indonesian), Nigerian Airways and several others would be charred heaps in a corn field somewhere;...............come to think of it, most of them are! :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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Sweet! Thanks for sharing. I had heard about a commercial jet that did a barrel roll, but never saw video. I've seen military choppers do barrel rolls (not in person) which is pretty cool to see. As a matter of fact, does anyone recall a Korean commercial airliner that did a barrel roll in a bad storm? I am not sure if it was a fake story and it was a number of years ago.

-Eugene
 
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Wonderful Patrick my favorite is the end of the video when he is talking about the incident and gets called into the office and they tell him ok we know the 707 can do it and you know it now lets not do it again. Thanks for the link.
 

PGB

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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I'm glad everyone found this as amusing as I did. Having more than just a fondness for all aircraft I thought it was one of the coolest things.

Bob, don't know where I came up with Avery :)

Thanks everyone!
 
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