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Era: Jet Age

Pan Am Boeing 707 in silhouetteJets were coming, the world knew. The huge and complicated piston engines powering 1950's airliners were nearing their limit of technical sophistication. But they still seemed a safe investment as the 1960's neared -- except to Pan Am's Juan Trippe. With single-minded purpose, he convinced America's biggest aircraft manufacturing rivals, Douglas and Boeing, to radically push the envelope of commercial air travel. Almost exactly 31 years after Pan Am's first 90-mile flight to Havana, the first Boeing B-707 jet was on its way from New York to Paris. There was no going back, not for Pan American or for the rest of the world.