Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft
Chapter 6: Design Maturity, 1945-80
[137] In the years since the end of World War II, turbojet- and turbofan-powered aircraft have come to dominate an increasingly large segment of aeronautical activity. The propeller-driven aircraft, however, remains an important part of aviation, both in this country and in various other parts of the world. The new propeller-driven aircraft that have appeared since 1945 differ little in configuration from those seen in the years immediately before and during World War II, nor has the level of aerodynamic refinement exceeded that of the earlier aircraft. The turboprop propulsion system is probably the most significant technical advancement to be incorporated in propeller-driven aircraft. In the realm of reciprocating engines, the supercharger has come into widespread use, both in commercial transport aircraft and in contemporary general aviation aircraft. The supercharger, together with the advent of cabin pressurization, has resulted in highly efficient cruising flight at high altitudes. High-altitude operation also offers the passengers freedom from the discomfort of rough air to a degree that was not possible in unpressurized aircraft.
A few examples of propeller-driven transports of the post-World War II period are described and discussed here, as are a number of contemporary general aviation aircraft.