Which aircraft was the first one to fly pressurized?

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High altitude breathing apparatus, 1918 (source)

I mean an aircraft which didn't require to don an oxygen mask above a certain altitude, excluding very high altitude where a mask is still required due to quick loss of consciousness after a depressurization event.


1 Answer 1


The history section of the cabin pressurization Wikipedia article names a few based on the feat:

The aircraft that pioneered pressurized cabin systems include:

  • Packard-Le Père LUSAC-11, (1920, a modified French design, not actually pressurized but with an enclosed, oxygen enriched cockpit)
  • Engineering Division USD-9A, a modified Airco DH.9A (1921 - the first aircraft to fly with the addition of a pressurized cockpit module)
  • Junkers Ju 49 (1931 - a German experimental aircraft purpose-built to test the concept of cabin pressurization)
  • Farman F.1000 (1932 - a French record breaking pressurized cockpit, experimental aircraft)
  • Chizhevski BOK-1 (1936 - a Russian experimental aircraft)
  • Lockheed XC-35 (1937 - an American pressurized aircraft. Rather than a pressure capsule enclosing the cockpit, the monocoque fuselage skin was the pressure vessel.)
  • Renard R.35 (1938 - the first pressurized piston airliner, which crashed on first flight)
  • Boeing 307 (1938 - the first pressurized airliner to enter commercial service)
  • Lockheed Constellation (1943 - the first pressurized airliner in wide service)
  • Avro Tudor (1946 - first British pressurized airliner)
  • de Havilland Comet (British, Comet 1 1949 - the first jetliner, Comet 4 1958 - resolving the Comet 1 problems)
  • Tupolev Tu-144 and Concorde (1968 USSR and 1969 Anglo-French respectively - first to operate at very high altitude)
  • SyberJet SJ30 (2005) First civilian business jet to certify 12.0 psi pressurization system allowing for a sea level cabin at 41,000 ft (12,000 m).

If it is the whole plane and not just the cockpit, then we're looking at the Lockheed XC-35, or the Junkers Ju 49 (whose purpose was to investigate the techniques of cabin pressurization).

For the first in service, then it's the Boeing 307 Stratoliner.

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XC-35 (top) and the modified enclosed cockpit of the USD-9A.

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    Dec 27, 2017 at 18:06

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