HISTORIC AMERICAN AIRLINES AIRCRAFT MODELS
The Ford Tri-Motor represents an early step toward the "modern airliner." Its unusual corrugated metal skin gave it strength and three engines gave the aircraft a degree of safety not found in earlier passenger aircraft. The Ford Tri-Motor was used by American Airways on its southern transcontinental route.
The Curtiss Condor was an U. S. Army Air Corps bomber turned airliner. Though slow, the Condor was the most luxurious airliner of its time. American used both day and sleeper versions of the Condor. The sleeper configuration even included a "honeymoon suite."
The Douglas DC-3 revolutionized the air transportation industry when American Airlines introduced it in 1936. Built at the request of American's president C.R. Smith, the DC-3 was the first airliner able to operate at a profit carrying only passengers. The DC-3 was the primary aircraft of all major airlines in the United States during the late 1930s and early 1940s.
In the years immediately following World War II, American Airlines searched for an aircraft to replace the Douglas DC-3. The twin-engine, forty place CV-240 (hence the "240" - 2 engines, 40 passengers), fit the bill. Designed to American's specifications, the CV-240 included such features as integral air stairs, which reduced the amount of ground equipment needed to service the aircraft.
The Douglas DC-6 was American's answer to the Lockheed Constellations of TWA. The DC-6 proved to be an outstanding aircraft and was the backbone of the American fleet in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The DC-6 was the last piston powered aircraft American used; both passenger and cargo versions of the DC-6 served into the early 1960s.
In January 1959, American Airlines entered the jet age by introducing non-stop, jet-powered transcontinental service with the Boeing 707. The sleek four-engine aircraft represented as dramatic an advance in aircraft technology as the Douglas DC-3 had more than twenty-five years earlier. The 707 was a huge success for American and cut coast-to-coast travel time from eight hours to just over five.
Lockheed L-188 Electra II
While the Boeing 707 brought the jet age to large cities, the turbo-prop L-188 Electra II brought jet power to smaller stations. Introduced just months after the larger Boeing, the Electra II was utilized on American's short and medium-haul routes including flights from Love Field. The basic Electra II design was eventually adapted by the U.S. Navy as the P-3 and EP-3 patrol aircraft.
American Airlines first introduced the Boeing 727 in April 1964. It was the first three-engine aircraft American used since the Ford Tri-Motor of the 1930s. Because the 727 is capable of operating from smaller airports such as LaGuardia and Washington-Reagan, American Airlines has operated at least one model of the 727 for nearly forty years.
The massive Boeing 747 was the world's first jumbo jet. American Airlines first introduced the 747 in March 1970. While American used the 747 to carry passengers for only a few years, it served as an all-cargo aircraft for longer. This oversized aircraft was capable of carrying oversized cargo such as one of San Francisco's famous streetcars.
In March 1966, American Airlines issued a request to Douglas for a "Jumbo Twin" airliner. After studying American's request, the McDonnell Douglas company responded with a suggestion that American's large twin be enlarged further to a much more capable three-engine design. American agreed and the DC-10 was born. American Airlines was the first U.S. airline (beating United) to operate the DC-10. This wide-body airliner entered American's fleet in 1971 and was used on American's long haul routes. Well-liked by its crews, the last American Airlines' DC-10 was retired on November 22, 2000.
McDonnell Douglas MD-80
The MD-80 is the backbone of the American Airlines fleet. American flies more than 270 MD-80 series aircraft and is the world's largest operator of the type. The first American MD-80 was delivered on May 12, 1983. The introduction of the MD-80 in the mid-1980s allowed American to rapidly expand its route system and fleet. In 1984, American operated a fleet of 244 aircraft by 1997 that number had grown to 649 aircraft, 250 of which were MD-80s.
American Airlines added the Boeing 757 to its fleet in 1989. The 757 shares the same fuselage width as the earlier Boeing 707 and in many ways the 757 is really a much more efficient, twin-engine 707. Seating 176 passengers in a two-class configuration, American's 757s are used mostly on medium-haul or high-density routes. Behind the MD-80, the 757 is the second most numerous aircraft in American's fleet (American operates 102 Boeing 757s).
Also known as the "21 Century Jet," the Boeing 777 is the queen of the American Airlines fleet. Capable of operating non-stop from DFW to London or Tokyo, the 777 has replaced both the DC-10 and MD-11 as American's premier long-haul aircraft. Flown in a three-class configuration, American Airlines' 777 offer passengers such amenities as individual video screens and full-flat reclining seats in first class.
The 737 first took to the skies in 1965. Boeing has continued to improve the basic 737 design and today the 737 is the most commonly used airliner in the world. American Airlines operates one of the largest and newest versions of the 737, the -800 model. American's 737-800 aircraft are equipped with today's most advanced avionics including a Heads-Up-Display (HUD) for both pilot and co-pilot, making these aircraft some of the safest in the world.
Our CRJ-700 jet offers a smooth, quiet ride and features rich leather seating with adjustable headrests in a two-by-two seating arrangement. Designed to American Eagle's exact specifications, these jets offer air travel on longer flights and more heavily traveled routes between key cities in the American Eagle network. In 2010 Eagle configured our CRJ-700s with a First Class cabin and service. American Eagle offers customers the same level of outstanding service they experience in an American Airlines First Class cabin when flying this state-of-the art aircraft.
This sleek twin-engine regional airliner has opened new possibilities for American Eagle. The performance of the pure jet-powered RJ-145 is unmatched by any turbo-prop, allowing it to fly higher, faster, farther and quieter than its propeller driven competition. The RJ-145 range has allowed Eagle to introduce much longer point-to-point routes than were practical with either the Saab 340 or the ATR-72 for example, DFW to Milwaukee.
American introduced the twin-aisle Boeing 767 family of jets into its fleet in 1982 with the B767-200. Then came the Boeing 767-200 Extended Range 9ER) in 1985 and the Boeing 767-300ER in 1988. American today flies the B767-200 on its transcontinental markets and the B767-300ER to Europe and Latin America.
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
The McDonnell Douglas MD-11, with a range of more than 6,000 miles, entered American's fleet in 1991 as its long-haul international aircraft to supplement and replace the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. A good passenger/cargo airplane, the MD-11 was retired from the fleet in 2001.
This small 87-seat aircraft was purchased by American for use in its short-haul domestic markets and can be considered the precursor to the Regional Jet. It was built by Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker. It was in the AA fleet from 1992 through 2004.
Updated September 2012