Coming up in July 2016, Boeing, the giant in the airline production business, will be celebrating their centennial. Part of the planned recognition included a five part documentary series The Age of Aerospace, which premiered on The Science Channel on February 1, 2016 in the 8 PM time slot. Sponsored by The Discovery Channel and Boeing, this TV miniseries covered all the details in aviation history from the first flight with the Wright Brothers to the future of airliners. This educational series features people from all walks of the aviation industry, including Boeing representatives, reporters, historians, NASA and many more. Aviation buffs and viewers with a passion for history will delight in the fascinating tales conveyed throughout the series.
Episode One – What Can’t We Do? – Features the rise of Bill Boeing, an aviation businessman and the founder of Boeing Airlines. As a young man, Boeing was captivated by the Wright Brothers and marveled along with the rest of the world at the miracle and magic of the airplane. While many others viewed the airplane as entertainment, Boeing saw an opportunity: to take this invention and turn it in an industry. This episode takes the viewers through the start of the airline building industry and the success of Boeing’s company.
Episode Two – Miracle Planes -This interesting look at the rise of the Boeing B-29, the Mustang P-51 and B-17 and the active role these airplanes took during wartime. Airplanes played a crucial role in the overall Allied victory of the Second World War. Tom D. Crouch, the Senior Curator at The National Air and Space Museum said, “The Germans had been investing in the notion of super weapons including the most advanced airplanes, designs and research.” The United States needed to catch up in order to secure their victory. These plans ensured that.
Episode Three – Shrinking the Earth – begs the question how to turn airplanes from an invention, through wartime, and in the everyday lives of people. How could they be utilized for transportation? Three airplanes are the main focus of this episode- the B-47 Bomber, The Boeing 707 and the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. This episode discusses these planes in great detail and the rise of the commercial airline industry.
Episode Four – The Vastness of Space – with great success in the skies, engineers and others began the thought and process of space exploration. The focus of this episode was on the race to the moon, the Apollo 8 project (the first orbit around the moon), the lunar landing of Apollo 11, the International Space Station and the future of space travel.
Episode Five – The Dreamliner – We’ve come so far in all facets of airline travel, now we look ahead to modern and future technologies and how those are changing the scope of airline travel. Here, the viewer has a first hand opportunity to look at the latest design and development of the Boeing 787, a marvel soon to be in the sky after suffering a few bumps in the road.
#AgeAerospace was written and directed by Mark Obenhaus and Executive Producers include Tom Yellen and Obenhaus. The Documentary Group produced it. The one hour episodes may be viewed in their entirety for free on the website, theageofaerospace.com. This website not only features the entire series, but a PBS sponsored interactive library for those who are interested. The library features air shows, the first airline stewardesses, the evolution of the airplane, detailed engineering feats, present and future satellite technology and aerial warfare during World War II. Viewers rated the series an 8.3/10 on the IMBd website.
The series is not yet available on DVD but is expected to be released within the year. Although this series is complete, with advances happening in the building and design of future aircraft, there is a strong probability that documentary shows of this kind will be produced in the coming years.