Design Knowledge Intermediary
Airliner No. 4

Airliner No 4, 1929
Never manufactured

Norman Bel Geddes


Having designed everything from household appliances to transcontinental trains, Bel Geddes turned his sights to the skies, creating in 1929 one of the most ambitious commercial airliner concepts ever put to paper: A nine-story flying amphibious behemoth dubbed simply "Airliner #4." Inspired by the Dornier DO-X flying boat, the aircraft -- designed in partnership with Dr. Otto Koller -- would sleep 606 passengers in cruise liner-like comfort. With a wingspan of 525 feet, the plane would have been twice the size of a modern-day Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet.

Bel Geddes' plans were the fly his plane between Chicago and London via the St. Lawrence Seaway with refueling done in flight over Canada. Although he was purportedly in negotiations in a syndicate of Chicago businessmen to fund the project, it never materialized.