Antiques & The Arts
Modern Planes Vs. Old Planes

Modern Planes Vs. Old Planes

Travel by airplane is by far the fastest,
but not the most comfortable way to go. It wasn’t always like this, though. Getting to lie down in a spacious bed-seat? Check. Full hot meals, bars, and even pianos on board? Also check. So what else has changed in the past 100 years
of human flight? The first airplane ever was the Wright Flyer
made by the Wright brothers in 1903. It made just a few short flights, but those
changed history forever. Years passed, and more diverse airplanes appeared. But the first commercial airplane in history
was the Model 14 Benoist airboat: it took passengers from St. Petersburg to Tampa in
Florida, making the journey a dozen times shorter than by train or steamboat. It was a rather small biplane, and no more
than a toy compared to today’s huge airliners, but back in 1914, it was a great commercial
success. But the true golden era of commercial flights
began in the 1950s. Let’s first take a look at one of the most
typical airliners of the time: Douglas DC 6. It was a piston-powered aircraft with four
propellers that allowed the cruising speed of about 300 mph. With the size of it — 100 ft long and almost
10 ft wide — it’s a bit surprising that it only accommodated 48 passengers. For comparison, modern Airbus A320 is just
20 ft longer and 2 ft wider, but easily fits 150 passengers on board. Like sardines. Hey, the difference is all inside. Like all of its contemporaries, Douglas DC-6
was pretty much luxurious. The seats were big and comfortable, with plenty
of leg room. They also had seat backs that could go all
the way down, so you could take a hearty nap if you wanted to. Economy class didn’t emerge until mid-1950s,
but even then the meals on board would beat today’s “chicken-or-fish” a hundred
times over. There was a real menu and you could order
whatever you wanted, be it a rib-eye steak or smoked salmon. Served on real plates! Speaking of which, flight attendants were
more of serving staff than anything else. Similar to modern personnel, but called stewardesses
back then, they had a strict dress code, but their main task was not to ensure safety but
to entertain and serve the passengers. No wonder — flying was still relatively
new back then, and it wasn’t cheap: the average price of a domestic ticket would cost
you a month’s wages, and a Trans-Atlantic flight was a luxury for the richest. Passengers would dress up for the flight as
if they were attending a social event — and in a sense, they were. Socializing was, in fact, the only entertainment
on board apart from reading books or newspapers, and unlimited food and drinks were included
in the price. There was no restraint of movement either;
even little kids could run and play all over the cabin. Sounds much better than sitting in a cramped
space and not having enough room to stretch your legs. But today’s airplanes have much more to
offer in terms of entertainment: personal screens with lots of movies, TV shows, and
even games, magazines to read, and of course, on-board shopping. Some airlines have special entertainment apps
you can download on your phone or tablet and connect to using inflight Wi-Fi. Flying itself in the 1950s was not the most
pleasant of things, either. Like I mentioned earlier, airplanes had piston-powered
engines, just like cars, so their speed and altitude were limited. The same Douglas DC-6 could only reach the
maximum speed of 360 mph and its ceiling was 20,000 ft. Modern jet airplanes usually fly
at about 480 mph, climbing as high as 39,000 ft above ground. Low altitudes of the old airplanes meant stronger
and more frequent turbulence. If it were today, you’d probably get scared,
especially if the airplane dropped a few hundred feet, but you’d come to no harm at all with
your seatbelt on. Back in the day, though, fastening your seatbelt
wasn’t mandatory even at takeoff, not to mention during the flight. So when an airplane hit a patch of turbulence,
its passengers would more often than not be caught off guard. The shaking was so powerful at times that
people would be thrown around the cabin like ragdolls, which lead to injuries. The engines were also awfully loud: the propellers
and engines roared together to create enough lift and push the aircraft forward. Ever ridden in a car at its top speed with
an open window? The sound its engine makes can be ear-splitting,
and that’s exactly what happened with aircraft piston engines: the noise was as loud as a
car’s and then some. Another distinctive feature of the old airplanes
were square windows. We’re all used to them being rounded at
the corners, but earlier piston-powered planes didn’t need those smooth lines. They flew lower and slower than jets, and
that made all the difference. When the first jet-powered airliners appeared,
though, this caused a lot of accidents. Square windows are okay at relatively slow
speed and low altitude, but when both these values grow significantly, they simply break. The difference in pressures inside the cabin
and outside was high, and it hit the windows, the least protected part of the plane, hard. They were, of course, properly reinforced,
but the engineers missed one crucial detail: the corners turned out to be the weakest parts
of the windows. The pressure built upon them, and the fuselage
around cracked, sometimes breaking the window and depressurizing the whole plane as a result. So the problem was eventually solved by making
the windows rounded. Even seat design has changed a lot towards
safety. Although today’s seats are so close together
that you have to keep your elbows to your sides most of the time, loads of space you’d
get in the 1950s airplanes wouldn’t have saved your life in an emergency. In modern aircraft, seat backs are made so
that you don’t injure your head if a particularly strong shake rumbles through the plane. Seats themselves now absorb more energy and
remain firmly in place during an impact. In the past, an accident could’ve torn the
seats from the floor, so you basically traded safety for comfort. I’d stick to safety, thank you very much. Speaking of that, you know takeoff and landing
are the most dangerous parts of the flight, right? Modern jetliners can tackle almost any distance
in one go, so if there’s a direct flight to your destination, you’ll only have one
takeoff and one landing. In older planes, long-haul flights often required
them to make stops on the way for refueling and maintenance. Take Qantas, for instance: in 1947, the Australian
airline introduced a route from Sydney to London. Today, it takes about 22 hours and one refueling
stop, or there’s even a non-stop 17-hour flight from Perth. Back then, the flight was much more leisurely:
four days with six stops, two of them overnight. Would you rather fly in comfort for several
days or get wherever you’re going faster with fewer amenities? Let me know down in the comments! Airplanes weren’t the only means of air
travel, though. Don’t forget about airships! Those were slow, huge, and often dangerous. The first airship appeared as early as 1852,
was propelled by a steam engine, and traveled at a speed of 5 mph. And the real age of airships came in the early
20th century, when the German Zeppelin Company made their rigid passenger-carrying dirigibles. Compared to the most prominent airship of
the time, even Airbus A380, the superjumbo jet that dwarfs other airplanes in size, is
like a fly to an elephant. It’s 240 ft long and 24 ft wide, with two
decks that take 79 ft in height. Seems big, but the Hindenburg, the 1936 airship
of the Zeppelin Company, is absolutely enormous next to it. Its length was 804 ft, with the width of 135
ft. Hindenburg could take as many as 72 passengers and 50 crew members across the skies at a
relaxing speed of 76 mph. Airships couldn’t rival airplanes in speed
or passenger capacity, but they were comfortable and luxurious. They could’ve become a tourist thing kinda
like cruise ships, if not for the 1937 disaster of that same Hindenburg over New Jersey. Filled with hydrogen. Combustible. Went boom. Bad news. The terrible accident was the alarm that halted
production of passenger airships for many decades. Today, though, there’s plenty of talk about
the return of the giant dirigibles. In about 5 years, for example, the first airship
will take a hundred passengers on a North Pole expedition. It uses helium. Not combustible. No boom. Good news. And although it won’t be so much an expedition,
but rather a luxury cruise for the wealthy (the tickets cost $80,000), the new airship
still marks the rebirth of the great flying palaces. Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other videos I think you’ll
enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and stay
on the Bright Side of life!

63 comments on “Modern Planes Vs. Old Planes

  1. The thing that made me click to this said that the first jets were faster than today's… (what?) I clicked anyway…and? nothing about that mis-information for obvious reasons… 🙁
    Back in the 60's and 70's jet planes did not fly any faster than today. Then and now they flew and still fly at about Mach 82 or 85. They can't fly any faster because at those speeds you are approaching the speed of sound (Mach)
    The Wright brothers' airplane was not the first airplane…it was the first engine powered airplane to fly even though there is some evidence that there were one or two more planes that did the same thing at about the same time, one in France and even one here in the US.
    In commercial aviation a "direct" flight does not mean that it does not make stops. A "direct flight" is one where you do not change airplanes even though it may may stops. A flight that does not make stops is called a "non-stop" flight.

  2. I remember way back when you could smoke on airplanes. But then again I can remember when gasoline was 59 cents a gallon.

  3. 6:46 yeah safety right but its the seat that's safe have nothing to do with the space like you mentioned. So should this brightside people be considered idiots?

  4. I guess that in today's world I'd rather get where I'm going faster. Surely a four day trip would have lots of extra costs. Plus whilst you're on route you're basically at the mercy of your airline's advertisings of whatever with no escape. Then again it sounds kinda nice, the slower travel times of the past seem representative of a less rushed lifestyle. People never want to wait for anything, and generally won't unless they have to.

  5. Beautiful aeroplane this DC6. Poor british engineering ignoring stresses created on the fuselage skin and stress concentations at sharp corners should not be generilised. It was their mistake and not ours.

  6. The best things about today's aircraft are being extremely safe, reliable and truly sophisticated. Yes, a 17 hour flight from Perth to Heathrow might be long but still far away from "unbearable".
    So, I'd say you still can get still fly 1950 style today, but of course you have to dig deeper in your pocket and fly business class like a true king/queen and not to mention those first class experiences in some Gulf or Southeast Asian airlines.

  7. Don't watch this video! It is false advertising! The image says this is about planes in 1974 flying faster than they do now; but that is not even discussed in this video. Beside, why does Youtube push "Bright side" videos? I am not subscribed, but they keep coming up. I clicked on one because it says something interesting, but it turns out to be about something else; but now youtube has an excuse to put more of theyr videos in its recommendations for me.

    I don't want to see Bright Side videos; nor TED talks. Stop pushing garbage my way!!!

  8. Well, wing shaped fuselage is on its way, and they could have bigger personal space than these, current, tight seats. I wish they make wing shaped go a bit slower and cheaper, of cause, but make inside space bigger.

  9. I flew transatlantic a lot in the '90s. Most of those flights were on L-1011 aircraft. They displayed airspeed, altitude and a moving map in the cabin whenever they weren't showing a movie. It was not uncommon to see an airspeed of 600 mph and ground speeds well over 700 with a tailwind. The reason for the reduction in speeds in the 21st century is all about saving fuel. They can still fly at mach .85 if they really want to.

  10. and how much did the airfares cost? I know in the 1970s my father worked in the airline industry and going to Hawaii was well over 1200.00 then…now its about the same or cheaper

  11. I don't get it "Today, planes fly slower than they used to" – no such claim is supported in the video and that's why I played in the first place.

  12. Old technology form old planes it only making new technologies and planes to make it better as well the new engine’s and aerodynamic body.

  13. From what I've heard the Hindenburg could have had helium inside it instead of hydrogen but the Germans were deprived of the more inert gas for some political reasons

  14. Pilots of old planes made over $100,00/yr. New plane pilots make about $25,000/yr. We should be allowed to tip the pilot.

  15. People seem to forget that flying was pretty much only for the rich back then. Sure, economy class sucks but at least it allows for cheaper flights.

  16. So much nonsense.
    Some modern aircraft fly much higher than 39,000 ft.
    The danger of square windows has nothing what Soto do with speed. It’s just altitude.

  17. The mistake with the wingspan being 10 ft wide was mistaken with the fuselage width… mistakes happen.

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