The history of aviation is full of stories – romance and danger, risks and successes. It is a testament to achieving what had once seemed impossible.
But before the industry could truly take off, it needed a proper foundation.
Frederick Rentschler had an early vision for that foundation, saying “the best airplane could only be designed around the best engine.”
CPTV’s original documentary, The Keys to the Sky tells how Rentschler and the people of Pratt & Whitney helped to create the modern aviation industry while building the best aircraft engines in the world.
On Pratt & Whitney’s 90th anniversary, the program explores the company through both a historical and modern-day lens, learning about its past through historical archives and experts, and its present through current and former employees.
It examines the company’s origins and Rentschler’s revolutionary “Wasp,” the air-cooled radial engine that was immediately adopted for use by the US military.
It tells the story of how commercial airlines, using Pratt & Whitney engines, began to make the world a smaller place as passengers could reach places they never had before.
Using historical records, photographs and footage, it features the important milestones that made the company, now part of United Technologies, what it is today. They include:
- Charles Lindbergh’s record-breaking flight from New York to Los Angeles and Amelia Earhart’s solo Transatlantic flight, each in a Wasp powered plane.
- The company’s dramatic expansion during WW II
- Its shift to jet engine production
- The new Geared Turbofan engine that aviation experts describe as, “game-changing technology.”
Woven throughout this history, the program also introduces us to the men and women who continue to be part of Pratt & Whitney’s legacy of innovation.