The 757-series airliner began as a 1970s Boeing endeavor to replace their aging 727 three-engined "trijet" airliner model. The move was part of a 1978 Boeing initiative to develop a new generation of airliners utilizing the latest in aviation technologies and resulted in the prospect of two new designs - the narrow-body Model 757 and wide-body Model 767 series. For the 757 design, Boeing elected to go the more conventional route and develop and airframe around the use of just two engines. The fuselage cross-section itself was based on the Model 727 however it was notably lengthened and optimized for the role of short-to-medium ranged flights. The fuselage would be capped by an all-new nose design and the cockpit would feature the latest in state-of-the-art flight instrumentation and technology. Additionally, an entirely new wing assembly was designed and to these assemblies would be fitted a pair of high bypass, fuel efficient turbofan engines - offering some 45% fuel savings compared to other airliner types elsewhere. Room for 150 to 239 passengers was envisioned and overall design of the aircraft was aided by computer drafting.
Boeing began development of the new airliner in 1978 and brought along the similar 767-series at the same time. Both would largely depend on the same technologies, design and construction methods in their manufacture. Their similarities were such that a pilot needed only to secure a rating in one that could clear him for flying the other. The Model 767 differed mainly from the 757 by its use of larger wings featuring increased sweep and a wider fuselage body. The main sections of tail, engines nacelles and undercarriage were consistent between the two designs. Of the two airframes, the 767 prototype actually achieved flight first with the 757 prototype following just a few short months later, this on February 19th, 1982. After passing its evaluation phase, the 757 was formally accepted into production by Boeing with the first model in the series being designated as the "757-200" (plans for a shorter-fuselage Model 757-100 were ultimately dropped when customer interest centered more on the 757-200 product, leaving the 757-200 as the "base" 757 model). Service of the type began in January of 1983. Initial Model 757 production examples were offered to awaiting customers with either the Rolls-Royce RB211-535 or General Electric CF6-32C1 turbofan engines. General Electric eventually dropped the CF6-32 series engines from their product line and opened the door for Pratt & Whitney to showcase their PW2037 turbofan into the Model 757 mix.
Externally, design of the 757 series was characterized by its long, slender fuselage. The cockpit was held well-forward in the design with the upper nose assembly sloping noticeably downwards. At the tail end, the fuselage sloped noticeably upwards. The wings were low-set monoplane installations with sweep along the leading and trailing edges. The large turbofan engines were housed in cylindrical nacelles and slung under each wing outboard of the main landing gear legs. The tail was conventional and made up of a tail vertical tail fin and a pair of horizontal tailplanes canted upwards. The undercarriage was fully retractable and consisted of a two-wheeled nose landing gear leg and a pair of four-wheeled main landing gear legs. The nose leg retracted forward while the main legs retracted inwards towards the fuselage centerline.
The 757 series consisted of other notable variants including the 757-200PF, the 757-200M "Combi" and the 757-300. The 757-200PF (PF = "Package Freighter") was a dedicated air freighter while the 757-200M was a conversion model to fit the passenger airliner or air freighter roles as needed by its operators. These two versions were constructed with a large main deck cargo door to facilitate loading and unloading of freight goods. The Model 757-300, first flying in August of 1998, raised total passenger seating to 240 persons in a stretched fuselage with reinforced wings and landing gear as well as an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) (270,000lbs). Deliveries of this model began in 1999. Total passenger quantity eventually reached 289.
The 757-series proved a financial success story for The Boeing Company to the point that over 1,000 airframes were ultimately ordered and subsequently produced for a variety of local and foreign operators. The type also went on to see some limited service in the militaries of several nations including the USAF which designated the type as the "C-32" and utilized them for VIP transportation of US Congress and presidential cabinet members (including the Vice President as "Air Force Two"). These were ordered in 1996 to help replace the aging 707 line (designated as the "VC-137" in USAF service) and fitted with Pratt & Whitney PW2040 series turbofan engines, an "air stair", improved communications suites and additional internal fuel stores for increased ranges. Deliveries were made in early 1998 to the 89th Airlift Wing out of Andrews Air Force Base. Argentina and Mexico eventually ordered the 757 for their own use, these also as VIP transports. Saudi Royal Flight procured the 757 for passenger airline travel.
Status Active, In-Service
Production 1,050 Units
Boeing Aircraft Company - USA
Argentina; Mexico; New Zealand; Saudi Arabia; United Kingdom; United States
- Commercial Market
- VIP Transport
155.25 ft (47.32 m)
124.84 ft (38.05 m)
44.49 ft (13.56 m)
127,515 lb (57,840 kg)
255,031 lb (115,680 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Boeing 757-200 production model)
2 x Rolls-Royce RB211-535E4 OR Pratt & Whitney PW2037 / PW2040 / PW2043 turbofan engines developing 36,600 to 43,500lbf each.
528 mph (850 kph; 459 kts)
41,995 feet (12,800 m; 7.95 miles)
4,525 miles (7,282 km; 3,932 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Boeing 757-200 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Boeing 757-200 production model)
757-200 - Definitive Production 757; 228 to 234 passengers in single-class cabin.
757-200PF - Cargo variant of the 757-200 passenger model; beginning service in 1987; sans cabin windows; forward left-side cargo door.
757-200SF "Special Freighter" - Left forward fuselage cargo door; sans passenger cabin windows.
757-200M - Royal Nepal Airlines high-altitude passenger/freighter conversion model; appearing in 1986; removeable seats for cargo storage; single example produced for service in 1988.
757-300 - Lengthened version of the 757-200 base production variant; 280-289 passenger seating in single-class cabin; reduced operational range; 55 examples produced.
C-32A - USAF VIP passenger transport based on the 757-200 model; "Air Force 2" for the Vice President of the United States.
C-32B - USAF US State Department passenger transport.
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.