Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco

Aviation (2011, December 12). Piston
Engine Aircraft vs. Turboprop Engine Aircraft. Retrieved January 20, 2018,

Geels, F. (2006). Co-evolutionary and
multi-level dynamics in transitions: The transformation of aviation systems and
the shift from propeller to turbojet (1930–1970). Technovation, 26(9), 999-1016.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

G. B. (2001, August 28). The History of the Aerospace Industry. Retrieved January 20, 2018,
















            To conclude, the aviation industry has come a long way
from its early days and many of the innovations made before and after World War
II are still being used today in one form or another. It would be difficult to suggest
what alternate paths or what better sectors to focus time and money to better get
to the level aviation is at now without stating the obvious. So, there isn’t any
real change to processes that lead to this, technology has evolved naturally through
supply and demand and will continue to evolve if there is a need and a way.

            “The wide
body aircraft represented a jump in passenger numbers (450–500 passengers) and
speed (640 mph). The combination of fuel-efficient turbofans and scale
economies allowed a 30% reduction in operating cost per seat mile (Hopps,
1978). With lower tariffs and powerful, long-distance aircraft, aviation truly
became a mass phenomenon in the 1970s.” (Geels, 2005, para. 4.4)

factor pushing technological advancement are the power plays between differing
countries and business companies for places in missile production, civil
aircraft production, and the airline passenger market; such plays pushed the turbo
engine further into the realm of civil aviation. (Geels, 2005, para. 4.3.1) By
1970, four engine prop airliners were already being phased out for turbojet
airliners for long range flight. Prop craft were also replaced for shorter
distances thanks to the downscaled airliners like the French Caravelle and the
Boeing 727. Through all this much change had to occur such as retraining pilots,
longer run ways, and ATC adjustments to the different type of aircraft and
airspeeds seen on their radars, especially since they’ve still relied on
calculating positions of craft by hand (Geels, 2005. Para 4.4). What ended up
sealing the dominance of turbojet powered craft over piston powered craft was
the Boing 747, as explained by Geels in his report:

the bedrock of cheaply sold post war military aircraft, smaller airline startups
clashed with established airlines with ultralow airline fares, which forced
that latter to seek proven technology that drove the America’s bombers for its
longer range and adapt it for comfort. It was from there on that in “1945,
airline companies created a cartel organization, the International Air
Transport Association (IATA), to limit competition and keep international fares
artificially high.” (Geels, 2005, para. 4.2.3) In the 1950’s America’s domestic
airline industry was growing rapidly as airline passengers exceeded train
passengers and those of ship. This demand led to designs like that of the
turboprop powered Super Constellation and DC-7 that could provide non-stop
transatlantic services as well as cheaper tourist class tickets. It also led to
more crowded skies and incidents such as the one in 1956 in which two airliners
collided and lost 156 lives thanks to lack of long range radar to keep track of
surrounding airspace (Geels, 2005, para. 4.3.1). This led to the rapidly
expanding sector of electrical avionics.

            To examine the events of aviation after the Second World
War, one can consider F. W. Geels work titled Co-evolutionary and multi-level dynamics in transitions: The
transformation of aviation systems and the shift from propeller to turbojet
(1930–1970). Written for Technovation,
Freeman discusses co-evolution and its levels consisting of niche, regime, and
landscape levels and its relationship to all facets of civilization, to include
the aviation industry. To explain the concept, he used the transition from
propeller driven engines to turbojets post war as an example; one of the cases
he cites involve Frank Whittle of Britain, Hans von Ohain and Herbert Wagner of
Germany, all who’ve examined the improvements in airframe systems and concluded
that propellers will be the hurdle that’ll block entrance into sonic speeds
(Geels, 2005, para 4.1.3). Being at the niche level, it was initially
difficulty in finding willing partners in the aviation world, but the
transition began to take shape with the outbreak and end of war. In what was
merely a niche in the late 1930’s began to drive aviation in the mid-1940’s as
the United States commercial aviation soared.

It was with this boon
that the entrepreneurs created the first monoplanes with radial air-cooled
engines and enclosed fuselages, the first air transport businesses, airmail,
and all metal aircraft. How craft were to be used began to dictate designs
whether they be for military, civilian, or economic purpose and these began to
be spread throughout the world from state to empire to colony. During the years
of World War II, a massive amount of aircraft were produced by the main players
such as the United States, who’ve “…built 300,718 military aircraft, including
95,272 in 1944 alone. In the previous six-year period, American firms built
only 19,587 aircraft… In 1943, the aviation industry was America’s largest
producer and employer — with 1,345,600 people” (Bugos, Para. 11). To help
produce the new technology mentioned at the beginning, other manufacturing
businesses were subcontracted to help meet demand under distributive
manufacturing and new concepts such as the so-called learning curve were
created to predict when the appearance of cost reductions. According to Burgos,
the United States firmly believed in the concept of air power in concept and
technology and would lead the world for the next half century in concept and
technology, all concepts except the one that helped placed it as a world power,
“Mass production… slipped from that agenda. On VJ Day the American military
cancelled all orders… and assembly lines ground to a halt. Total sales by
American aircraft firms were $16 billion in 1944; by 1947 they were only $1.2
billion. Production never again reached World War II levels….” (Bugos, Para.

 National governments funded testing
laboratories — like the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics established
in May 1915 in the United States — that also disseminated scientific
information of explicit use to industry. Universities began to offer
engineering degrees specific to aircraft. American aircraft designers formed a
patent pool in July 1917 … whereby all aircraft firms cross-licensed key
patents and paid into the pool without fear of infringement suits. (Bugos,
Para. 5)

            According to Glenn E. Bugos, in his work The History of the Aerospace Industry,
the aviation industry post World War I had its infrastructure laid out before
them. Bugos’s work further explains:

            The difference in general, such as the price tag, needed
maintenance, and sheer performance, between piston and turboprop is great as one
can expect. Shoreline Aviation explains, piston engines are far less complex
than the turboprop that exceeded them by using far fewer moving parts and also don’t
require the engineering feats that control the high temperatures and forces
unique to turboprops and turbojets, resulting in its higher prices. The buck
doesn’t stop at upfront cost as although the maintenance of piston engines is
much simpler and its operation very reliable thanks to its fewer moving parts, it
still loses out to the turboprop in terms of reliability; the operation of the
latter is designed to be smooth and vibration free which resulting in not only better
reliability but longer hours of use. One can log about 3,000 hours with typical
turboprop engines before it requires maintenance while the typical piston
powered prop last about 2,000 hours before needing maintenance (Shoreline
Aviation, 2011). Shoreline Aviation further explains that performance of the
turboprop can allow it to be used in altitudes at 20,000 to 30,000 feet while
the piston powered props are restricted to heights of 12,000 feet. Let’s not
forget the speed difference of the two, the typical turboprops can average
between 250 ktas (true airspeed in knots) to 300 ktas while the piston manages
200 ktas and under. Advanced technology such as the turboprop, coupled with the
high upkeep, price and restructuring of established industry, ended up being
chosen over the cheaper yet well tested piston engines in the years following
World War II and the beginning of the so-called Cold War in which the aviation
industry only flourished, as it did after World War I.

            To put into perspective on the technological and
methodical difference before and after this war, one can consider the innovation
that is the turboprop and compare it to the piston engine that came before.
Explained by in an educational blog post by Shoreline Aviation, a worldwide air
charter based in Marshfield Municipal Airport, Massachusetts, piston propeller
aircraft used technology like those found in coal powered train engines which
utilized pistons fitted inside a cylinder and connected with a crankshaft
(Shoreline Aviation, 2011). Fuel is introduced inside the cylinder and ignited,
pushing the piston out of the cylinder and forcing the crankshaft to turn.
After a full rotation is made the piston is moved back into the cylinder and
the process repeats, the turning force is used for the propeller to power the
aircraft forward. The turbojet on the other hand, whose early ancestors were
windmills, used a rotor with angled blades that turned with the power of
ignited fuels (Shoreline Aviation, 2011). Basically, it consisted of a front
air inlet, a compressor, and a combustor. 
The compressor draws air inside the engine with rotating fans and forces
it into the combustor, resulting in high pressure in which fuel is introduced
and ignited. This provides the energy to force the turbine in the engine to
move and, being attached with the compressor, sustain the cycle explained
above. All of this results in a jet stream pushing the engine forward which
propels the jet aircraft forward. This same technology is not limited to
aircraft such as airliner but also used in missile systems, propeller powered
planes, and even helicopters (Shoreline Aviation, 2011).

            The start and end of World War II was a tumultuous time
for aviation, even before the war many nations world round had already ramped
up aircraft production as well as built up many airfields to hold them. A great
number of pilots were being trained and innovations have been utilized ever
since the so-called Great War had ended, specifically cabin pressurization,
retractable landing gears, and effective navigational equipment that far exceed
what came before. Such was the focus on this spectrum for both military and
commercial interest that quality came before quantity a few nations such as
Germany and Great Britain. It comes to no surprise that when the war erupted
that many of the elements of air power, industry and supply lines for example,
were struck first (Bugos, Para. 10). As war pressed on and victory to those
with the most aircraft became increasingly less likely, thus in the war’s
latter years the powers in play attempted to advance new technology in a bid
for an edge which birthed technology such as the strategic missiles, all
weather navigation, and jet engines (Bugos, Para. 10). So, it comes to no
surprise that when the dust settled in 1945 that this technology be utilized
for economic use over what was found reliable beforehand.











Embry-Riddle ASCI 202

Aaron Abelard Medina

Case Analysis-Aircraft Performance and Industry Before
and After World War II






Post Author: admin


I'm Dora!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out