It was a promotional stunt that in today’s dollars used a $144 million investment by Boeing.
And it was done without the knowledge of Bill Allen, then president of the company, who was watching. And fuming.
He was not a happy man. The firm’s future was on the line. No time for tricks.
But 60 years ago, on Aug. 7, 1955, Boeing’s chief of flight testing, the legendary Alvin “Tex” Johnston, pulled an impressive stunt in the prototype of the Boeing 707.