Best aircraft manufacturer

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by renrich, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    It has been a little more than 100 years since the advent of powered flight. During that time, enormous strides have been made by numerous individuals and manufacturers of aircraft. Which designer, developer and manufacturer, past and present has contributed most, to push the envelope, since the Wright Brothers, to the progress of flight?
     
  2. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Well, this has sort of already been dealt with in another thread, but I'm gonna stick with my original answer: Lockheed. From 1935 to the present, they have been at the forefront of aviation design and technology, and have designed and built some of the most enigmatic aircraft in history, including (but not limited to) the P-38 Lightning, P/F-80 Shooting Star, F-104 Starfighter, U-2/TR-1 Dragon Lady, A-12, SR-71 Blackbird, F-22 Raptor, to name just a few.
     
  3. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    If you include Jumo, then I might venture to say Junkers. They developed the first all-metal aircraft, the first cantilever wing monoplane, and the first jet engine that was viable for mass production. They haven't done much since the second world war, but their achievements from WWI to the end of WWII were pretty substantial.
     
  4. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Sorry, I did not realise the other thread had been started. That thread deals with mostly WW2 and this one is supposed to be for the whole history of flight but if the mods want to close this one because it duplicates the other, it is fine by me. In the meantime, I would vote possibly for Lockheed. They had a series of AC such as Grama and Sirius and then Electra, that pushed the envelope in the 20s and 30s. Then the Hudson, P38, Constellation, our first successful jet fighter, P80, F104 and SR71, C130. Did they build the spy plane gary Powers was shot down in? Pretty impressive.
     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Boeing.

    B17, B29, B47, B52, 707, 727, 737, 747, 777 and soon the 787.

    Now who can top that?
     
  6. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Don't forget the Boeing Bipes and the airliner that competed with the DC3 and the Stratoliner and the Clipper.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I wouldnt exactly say those were ground breaking designs.

    The B17, B29, B47, 707, and 747's definatly set the standards and advanced aeronautics in one way or another.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Electra, Hudson, P-38, F-80, F-104, U-2, SR-71, C-130, P-3, C-5, F-117A and now F-22 and F-35
     
  9. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Hear, hear!

    And don't forget the Vega and the Constellation, probably the most beautiful airliner ever built!
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Great aircraft, but aside from the P80, did they really chnage aviation tot he degree the Boeing products did? The U2, SR71 and F117 are limited edition designs that were not in mass production. Although it advanced aviation technology, it didnt change history to the degree the Boeings did.

    The C130 is just an improvment on the C123 and C119.

    The P3 is just an improvement of the PB4Y and PV2.

    F104 accomplished just exactly what?

    The P38 pushed the art of the interceptors, but was it ground breaking?

    The C5 besides being big, also was just an improvment of existing designs.



    B17: First long range heavy bomber in the world which pushed the state of the art for the time and made America the undisputed leader in large multi-engined aircraft.
    B29: A generational improvement of the B17, and the first to be designed, financed and built to a whole new way of doing business.
    B47: All jets (in pods) and swept wing gave Boeing the leg up on everyone and this led directly to the 707.
    707: I dont have to say much about this as its already recognized as among the most important jets in history.
    737: Best selling jet in history. Brought commercial jets to the smaller airports.
    747: Again, a legendary jet that redefined international air transport.
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yes and in some cases more.
    So?
    Maybe the military aircraft, 707 and 747. All the rest were very good commercial aircraft, quite conventional in construction but nothing ground breaking with regards to new construction technology or systems
    That a laugh - have you ever seen the pilots handbooks for all 3 aircraft and compare the difference in performance. Don't let a C-130 FE hear you say that, he'll smak you with his helmet bag (of course the helmet would be in it!)
    Wrong again - have you ever been inside all 3 or looked at their systems and performance?
    Starfighters F-104 Demo Team - Aircraft Records

    Let alone it was the main strike and interceptor aircraft for most of NATO from the 60s into the 1980s
    Absolutely
    Name one, oh wait, the 747x which it beat out twice for USAF contracts.


    Agree with all

    True but nothing special and now being replaced in masses by the a320

    And I could agree with that
     
  12. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    The B-17 didn't push the envelope in bomber development as much as the Martin B-10. The B-10 had closed cockpits, rotating gun turrets, and good speed in an all-metal monoplane design. It was really the innovation that led to the B-17.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Good points
     
  14. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    If the Boeing company had won the SST competition and it had been produced I would be similarly inclined to lean to Boeing. If large scale production and acceptance in the commercial marketplace it is also an important consideration.

    My fundamental choices are:

    Lockheed - many, many years of leading edge/bleeding edge advancement for US Airpower represented by P-80 during WWII, F-104 over century series fighters in the 50's, U-2, then YF-12/SR-71 as the most technically challenging aircraft the US ever built until the F-117 and the F-22 and F-35. They designed and built the finest and most versatile transport aircraft ever (including the Douglas airplanes) in the C-130

    Lockheed never built a heavy bomber or successful commercial jet liner, but when they did build the Cheyenne, it was the most advanced helicopter in terms of performance. Lockheed did build very nice turbo prop a/c for both maritime use as well as intermediate commercial airliners

    Boeing never produced an air superiority fighter, or Recon, or Stealth bomber/fighter, or helicopter until they bought Vertol - or even designed and built a supersonic ship of any type and introduced it into production.

    If the time span was through 1970 I would have leaned toward NAA as competitive to Lockheed with stuff ranging from P-51, At-6, F86, F-100, Aero Commander, B-70 and X-15 - all competitive with Lockheed on leading edge aero and technology integration.

    Ditto Consolidated/Convair/General Dynamics but they peaked in their production and design capability with B-58, F-111 and F-16 and lost the recent Stealth Fighter comp to F-22.

    Messerschmidt and Fock Wulfe and Dornier and Junkers rank with all of them during WWII.

    I didn't consider Douglas or Grumman or Norththup because they didn't stand out quite enough in depth and breadth (for me).

    So, Lockheed works for me with Boeing and NAA as equals until 1970's while Lockheed continued to innovate to solve tougher technology challenges.

    Boeing by far has made the most money
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think you nailed it Bill....

    As far as the money - I would believe that there was some money that went Lockheed's way though DARPA programs that was really reported in earnings. Comments?
     
  16. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Didn't Sopwith merge into Hawker. Sopwith had the one and one half strutter, the Tripe, the Camel and Salamander. Pretty advanced for their day and then Hawker carried on. I am not as familiar with the Hawker story as with some of the US companies but perhaps a Brit can help out.
     
  17. TheMustangRider

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    When it comes to individuals, after the Wright brothers I pick Frank Whittle and Hans Joachim Von Ohain who laid the foundation for engine technology in the late 20's and early 30's. When it comes to manufacturers Messerschmitt deserves its place in history for developing revolutionary designs during the last stages of WWII and Lockheed for its amazing work in radicals designs and new technologies since WWII to the present day.
     
  18. bigZ

    bigZ Member

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    Some valid points for best aircraft manufacture most successful, recently most innovative. But am going for BAE on heritage grounds.

    Nearly every British aircraft company is part of their history.

    Sopwith, Hawker, Vickers, Supermarine, de Havilland Aircraft etc. etc.

    Ok Britain has some low points during its aviation history. But after the Wright brothers America too lost its lead and had nothing of note until after WWI.
     
  19. TheMustangRider

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    In my last post I forgot a crucial word: they laid the foundation for jet engine technolgy =)
     
  20. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    I can help there Renrich. You might be amused to learn that it wasn't a merger, but a tax dodge.

    After WW1 the Govt chased the manufacturers who had benefitted massively from tax free war profits for back taxes. In Sopwiths case these were abolutely huge (the price of success?) and so the company was 'shut down' as insolvent and a 'new' company was formed. Tom Sopwith was still the boss, and remained so right up to the creation of the Harrier, but the new company 'H G Hawker Engineering' took the name of Sopwiths chief test pilot Harry Hawker, years later becoming Hawker Aircraft Ltd.

    I think they are a valid nomination too as from the Sopwith Pup to the Harrier GR9 they have a fine unbroken line (with an element of the F-35 in there too)of innovative aircraft in RAF front line service.
     
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