Airlineratings.com is opening its stunning photo archives to reveal dramatic images of the world’s most rugged airliner – the Douglas DC-8.
This collection is of the standard DC-8 for North American customers in the US and Canada such as National Airlines (above).
The DC-8 was in head to head competition with Boeing’s 707 with the latter outselling the DC-8 by about 2 to 1 due to earlier delivery and a price advantage courtesy of a massive USAF jet transport tanker order.
Another pivotal issue was the Douglas’s reluctance – at first – to stretch its DC-8 to match Boeing’s 320 series 707s. Boeing would also shrink the 707 to create the 720.
So airlines like Pan Am (picture below) which ordered 25 DC-8s and 20 707s to start, dropped the “8” and went on to order about 100 707s. At the time Pan Am was the world’s leading international airline and what it did influenced many airlines.
The other major issue for the “8” was its initial range deficiency below guarantees and it took some time to rectify.
But because, in part, the plane was so rugged it could easily be stretched and the lengthened versions – the Super 60 series – would make a fortune for both airlines and later cargo operators for decades.
We will feature the Super 60s later this week.
Northwest was an early customer of the DC-8 but switched to the 707 because of the range issues with the “8”.
Eastern Airlines was a large customer for the “8”.
Delta Air Lines was another big customer for the “8”.
TIA was a charter operator that ordered the “8”.
Canadian Pacific ordered Rolls-Royce-powered DC-8s, the series 40.
Like its competition, above, Trans Canada Airlines, now Air Canada operated the series 40.
Airlift was another US-based charter operator.
United Airlines was the largest operator of the DC-8, this one being a pure freighter.
Capitol International Airlines was a charter operator.