The Boeing 707 prototype, America's first jet transport, last week proved that large jet transports can take off and land on soft unpaved fields -- if they have the right kind of landing gear.
LS Dash 80 taxiing in sand
MS Wheels in sand
CU Wheels imbedded in sand
MS Crew talking
MS Technician measuring sand hardness
MLS Dash 80 taxies out of sand
CU Project engineer on microphone
CU Landing roll
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Background: The Boeing 707 prototype, America's first jet transport, last week proved that large jet transports can take off and land on soft unpaved fields -- if they have the right kind of landing gear. Amid clouds of borax dust, the big jet tried out the 20-wheel Boeing landing gear in takeoffs, landing and taxi-runs on Harper Dry Lake near Barstow, California. Such landing gear as this would permit future military transports such as the CX-HLS design now being studied by Boeing to land and take off on lightly prepared fields near combat areas. The special landing gear has twice the number of wheels as today's large jet transports and is equipped with low pressure tires. It distributes the airplanes's weight over the ground like a duck's feet. During the recent three-day test, the 90-ton airplane did not bog down once, even on surface so soft it would barely support a passenger car.