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Old 08-17-2022, 12:02 AM
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Default Airliner with rocket-assisted takeoff

Discussion on another forum about square windows being one of the causes of losses of the de Haviland Comet airliner caused me to read about the plane.

The Comet pioneered a number of new design choices, many of which had since become accepted and commonplace.

One that did not prove out was the use of rocket motors for takeoff during hot and high altitude conditions. It was later determined to not be necessary but fittings for the motors remained on production aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Comet


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Old 08-17-2022, 01:32 AM
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I sometimes wonder if Boeing wouldn't have had to learn that lesson about square windows in a cyclically pressurized aluminum structure if the 307 Stratoliners had been in airline service for a longer time before they were commandeered by the US Army Air Corps and used as transports in WWII, with their pressurization equipment removed.

Instead it happened to de Havilland, after the war....

This is the last Boeing 307, at the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles airport.
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Old 08-17-2022, 01:46 AM
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Great point...


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Old 08-17-2022, 04:46 PM
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Boeing actually certified a rocket assisted takeoff option for the 727 using JATO bottles. It was specifically targeted for a Mexican airline so they could operate out of Mexico City on a hot day with a full load. There were some electronics that monitored the three engines - if one of engines failed it would automatically fire off the JATO bottles (IIRC correctly they were mounted in the wheel wells).
I don't think it ever had to be activated in anger, but there are photos out there of it being flight tested. Later improvements in the JT8D engines meant they had enough margin that the JATO option could be removed.
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