Jet Age  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The jet age is a common description of a historical period beginning with the introduction of airliners powered by turbojets and turbofans for scheduled passenger service.

Aviation history

The De Havilland Comet was the first jet airliner to fly a scheduled route in 1952, but the original version of the Comet had serious design problems leading to several highly-publicised crashes, and the entire fleet was eventually grounded (the Comet later reemerged in improved versions, and served as the basis for the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod). The first truly successful jet airliner was the Boeing 707, which began service in 1958 on the New York City to London route; 1958 was also the first year that more trans-Atlantic passengers traveled by airline than ship. The Boeing 747, the jumbojet, was the first widebody aircraft and further accelerated the jet age.

Social history

Large aircraft powered by turbine engines are able to fly much higher, faster, and farther than older piston-powered propliners, making transcontinental and inter-continental travel considerably faster and easier: for example, aircraft leaving North America and crossing the Atlantic Ocean (and later, the Pacific Ocean) could now fly to their destinations non-stop, making much of the world accessible within a single day's travel for the first time. Since large jetliners could also carry more passengers, airfares also declined (relative to inflation), so people from a greater range of social classes could afford to travel outside of their own countries. In many ways, these changes in mobility are similar to those brought about by railroads during the 19th century.

The introduction of the Concorde supersonic passenger airliner to regular service in 1976 was expected to bring similar social changes, but the aircraft never found commercial success, and after a crash in Paris, flights were discontinued in 2003.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jet Age" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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