Boeing History: The Model 80

Boeing Model 80

In 1928, Boeing introduced America’s first airliner designed specifically for passenger comfort and convenience. The Model 80’s fuselage was made of welded-steel tubing covered with fabric, and its wooden wingtips were removable so the airplane could fit into the primitive hangars along its route.

Despite complaints by pilots accustomed to flying in an open cockpit,
the size of the Model 80 required a separate, enclosed flightdeck. The
Model 80 carried passengers in a spacious cabin appointed with leather
upholstery, reading lamps, forced-air ventilation, and hot and cold
running water. The first version carried 12 people, and it was followed
by the larger, 18-passenger Model 80A, which made its first flight,
Sept. 12, 1929. Ten Model 80As flew for the Boeing airlines.

Church, a registered nurse, convinced Boeing managers that women could
work as stewards, so nurses serving aboard the Model 80A became
aviation’s first female flight attendants. They earned $125 for flying
100 hours a month.


First flight: July 27, 1928
Model number: 80A
Classification: Commercial transport
Span: 80 feet
Length: 56 feet 6 inches
Gross weight: 17,500 pounds
Top speed: 138 mph
Cruising speed: 125 mph
Range: 460 miles
Ceiling: 14,000 feet
Power: Three 525-horsepower P&W Hornet engines
Accommodation: 3 crew, 18 passengers, 898 pounds of cargo