Douglas DC-8

Last updated
Douglas DC-8 NASA (cropped).jpg
The DC-8 is a low-wing, quadjet airliner, here re-engined with CFM56s. This DC-8 pictured is owned by NASA.
Role Narrow-body airliner
National originUnited States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company (1958–1967)
McDonnell Douglas (1967–1972)
First flightMay 30, 1958
IntroductionSeptember 18, 1959, with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines
StatusIn limited service as non-passenger aircraft
Primary users United Airlines (historical)
UPS Airlines (historical)
Delta Air Lines (historical)
Trans Air Cargo Service
Number built556

The Douglas DC-8 (sometimes McDonnell Douglas DC-8) is a narrow-body airliner built by the American Douglas Aircraft Company. After losing the May 1954 USAF tanker requirement to the Boeing KC-135, Douglas announced in July 1955 its derived jetliner project. In October 1955, Pan Am made the first order along with the competing Boeing 707, and many other airlines followed. The first DC-8 was rolled out in Long Beach Airport on 9 April 1958 and flew for the first time on 30 May. FAA certification was achieved in August 1959 and the DC-8 entered service with Delta Air Lines on September 18.


The six-abreast, low wing airliner was a four-engined jet aircraft, the initial variants are 151 ft (46 m) long. The DC-8-10 was powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojets and had a 273,000 lb (124 t) MTOW, the DC-8-20 had more powerful JT4A turbojets for a 276,000 lb (125 t) MTOW. The intercontinental models had more fuel capacity and up to 315,000 lb (143 t) MTOW, powered JT4As for the Series 30 and by Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans for the Series 40. The Pratt & Whitney JT3D powered the later DC-8-50 and freighters versions reached a MTOW of 325,000 lb (147 t).

The improved Series 60 was announced in April 1965. The DC-8-61 was stretched by 36 ft (11 m) for 180–220 seats in mixed-class and a MTOW of 325,000 lb (147 t). It first flew on March 14, 1966, was certified on September 2, 1966, and entered service with United Airlines in February 1967. The long-range DC-8-62 followed in April 1967, stretched by 7 ft (2.1 m), could seat up to 189 passengers over 5,200 nmi (9,600 km) with a larger wing for a MTOW up to 350,000 lb (159 t). The DC-8-63 had the long fuselage and the enlarged wing, freighters MTOW reached 355,000 lb (161 t).

The DC-8 was produced until 1972 with 556 aircraft built. It was superseded by larger wide-body airliners including Douglas' DC-10. In 1975, the Series 70 retrofit was proposed with the quieter and more fuel-efficient CFM56 turbofan. Some re-engined freighters are still in use.



After World War II Douglas had a commanding position in the commercial aviation market. Boeing had pointed the way to the modern all-metal airliner in 1933 with its Model 247, but Douglas, more than any other company, made commercial air travel a reality. Douglas produced a succession of piston-engined aircraft (DC-2, DC-3, DC-4, DC-5, DC-6, and DC-7) through the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. When de Havilland flew the first jet airliner, the Comet, in 1949, Douglas felt no need to rush into anything new.

De Havilland's pioneering Comet entered airline service in 1952. Initially, it was a success, but it was grounded in 1954 after two fatal accidents which were subsequently attributed to rapid metal fatigue failure of the pressure cabin. The aircraft industry as a whole gained considerable benefit from what was learned and resulted in considerable attention to detail design in the DC-8 pressure cabin. [1] In 1952 Douglas remained the most successful of the commercial aircraft manufacturers. They had almost 300 orders on hand for the piston-engined DC-6 and its successor, the DC-7, which had yet to fly. The Comet disasters, and the airlines' subsequent lack of interest in jets, seemed to show the wisdom of their staying with propeller-driven aircraft.[ citation needed ]


Boeing took the bold step of starting to plan a pure-jet airliner as early as 1949. Boeing's military arm had gained experience with large, long-range jets through the B-47 Stratojet (first flight 1947) and the B-52 Stratofortress (1952). With thousands of jet bombers on order or in service, Boeing had developed a close relationship with the US Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC). Boeing also supplied the SAC's refueling aircraft, the piston-engined KC-97 Stratofreighters, but these were too slow and low flying to easily work with the new jet bombers. The B-52, in particular, had to descend from its cruising altitude and then slow almost to stall speed to work with the KC-97. [2]

Believing that a requirement for a jet-powered tanker was a certainty, Boeing started work on a new jet aircraft for this role that could be adapted into an airliner. As an airliner, it would have similar seating capacity to the Comet, but its swept wing would give it higher cruising speed and better range. First presented in 1950 as the Model 473-60C, Boeing failed to generate any interest at the airlines. Boeing remained convinced that the project was worthwhile, and decided to press ahead with a prototype, the Boeing 367-80 ("Dash-80"). After spending $16 million of their own money on construction, the Dash-80 rolled out on May 15, 1954, and flew the next month. Boeing's plans became obvious, despite the misleading older model number.[ citation needed ]

Early design phase

The DC-8 is a low-wing jetliner with a swept wing and four engines DC-8 3-view.jpg
The DC-8 is a low-wing jetliner with a swept wing and four engines

Douglas secretly began jet transport project definition studies in mid-1952. By mid-1953 these had developed into a form similar to the final DC-8; an 80-seat, low-wing aircraft with four Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet engines, 30° wing sweep, and an internal cabin diameter of 11 feet (3.35 m) to allow five-abreast seating. Maximum weight was to be 190,000 lb (86 metric tons), and range was estimated to be about 3,000–4,000 miles (4,800–6,400 km).[ citation needed ]

Douglas remained lukewarm about the jet airliner project but believed that the Air Force tanker contract would go to two companies for two different aircraft, as several USAF transport contracts in the past had done. In May 1954, the USAF circulated its requirement for 800 jet tankers to Boeing, Douglas, Convair, Fairchild, Lockheed, and Martin. Boeing was just two months away from having its prototype in the air. Just four months after issuing the tanker requirement, the USAF ordered the first 29 KC-135s from Boeing. Besides Boeing's ability to provide a jet tanker promptly, the flying-boom air-to-air refueling system was also a Boeing product from the KC-97.[ citation needed ]

Six-abreast economy cabin, 1973 JAL DC-8 Interior (8336372497).jpg
Six-abreast economy cabin, 1973

Donald Douglas was shocked by the rapidity of the decision which, he said, had been made before the competing companies even had time to complete their bids. He protested to Washington, but without success. Having started on the DC-8 project, Douglas decided that it was better to press on than give up. Consultations with the airlines resulted in several changes: the fuselage was widened by 15 inches (38 cm) to allow six-abreast seating. This led to larger wings and tail surfaces and a longer fuselage.[ citation needed ] The DC-8 was announced in July 1955. Four versions were offered to begin with, all with the same 150-foot-6-inch (45.87 m) long airframe with a 141-foot-1-inch (43.00 m) wingspan, but varying in engines and fuel capacity, and with maximum weights of about 240,000–260,000 lb (109–118 metric tons). Douglas steadfastly refused to offer different fuselage sizes. The maiden flight was planned for December 1957, with entry into revenue service in 1959. Well aware that they were lagging behind Boeing, Douglas began a major marketing push.[ citation needed ]

First orders

Douglas' previous thinking about the airliner market seemed to be coming true; the transition to turbine power looked likely to be to turboprops rather than turbojets. The pioneering 40–60-seat Vickers Viscount was in service and proving popular with passengers and airlines: it was faster, quieter, and more comfortable than piston-engined types. Another British rival was the 90-seat Bristol Britannia, and Douglas's main rival in the large airliner market, Lockheed, had committed to the short to medium range 80–100-seat turboprop Electra, with a launch order from American Airlines for 35 and other orders flowing in. Meanwhile, the Comet remained grounded, the French 90-passenger twin jet Sud Aviation Caravelle prototype had just flown for the first time, and the 707 was not expected to be available until late 1958. The major airlines were reluctant to commit themselves to the huge financial and technical challenges of jet aircraft. However, no one could afford not to buy jets if their competitors did.[ citation needed ]

There the matter rested until October 1955, when Pan American World Airways placed simultaneous orders with Boeing for 20 707s and Douglas for 25 DC-8s. To buy one expensive and untried jet-powered aircraft type was brave: to buy both was, at the time, unheard of. In the closing months of 1955, other airlines rushed to follow suit: Air France, American Airlines, Braniff International Airways, Continental Airlines, and Sabena ordered 707s; United Airlines, National Airlines, KLM, Eastern Air Lines, Japan Air Lines, and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) chose the DC-8. In 1956, Air India, BOAC, Lufthansa, Qantas, and TWA added over 50 to the 707 order book, while Douglas sold 22 DC-8s to Delta, Swissair, TAI, Trans Canada, and UAT. By the start of 1958, Douglas had sold 133 DC-8s compared to Boeing's 150 707s.[ citation needed ]

Production and testing

An early DC-8-10 in Douglas colors, 1959. The DC-8 first flew on May 30, 1958, and was certified in August 1959. Douglas DC-8-11, Douglas Aircraft Company JP6839055.jpg
An early DC-8-10 in Douglas colors, 1959. The DC-8 first flew on May 30, 1958, and was certified in August 1959.

Donald Douglas proposed to build and test the DC-8 at Santa Monica Airport, which had been the birthplace of the DC-3 and home to a Douglas plant that employed 44,000 workers during World War II. To accommodate the new jet, Douglas asked the city of Santa Monica, California to lengthen the airport's 5,000-foot runway. Following complaints by neighboring residents, the city refused, so Douglas moved its airliner production line to Long Beach Airport. [3] The first DC-8 N8008D was rolled out of the new Long Beach factory on 9 April 1958 and flew for the first time, in Series 10 form, on 30 May for two hours seven minutes with the crew being led by A.G. Heimerdinger. [4]

Later that year an enlarged version of the Comet finally returned to service, but too late to take a substantial portion of the market: de Havilland had just 25 orders. In August Boeing had begun delivering 707s to Pan Am. Douglas made a massive effort to close the gap with Boeing, using no fewer than ten aircraft for flight testing to achieve FAA certification for the first of the many DC-8 variants in August 1959. Much needed to be done: the original air brakes on the lower rear fuselage were found ineffective and were deleted as engine thrust reversers had become available; unique leading-edge slots were added to improve low-speed lift; the prototype was 25 kn (46 km/h) short of its promised cruising speed and a new, slightly larger wingtip had to be developed to reduce drag. Also, a recontoured wing leading edge was later developed to extend the chord 4% and reduce drag at high Mach numbers. [5]

On August 21, 1961, a Douglas DC-8 broke the sound barrier at Mach 1.012 (660 mph/1,062 km/h) while in a controlled dive through 41,000 feet (12,497 m) and maintained that speed for 16 seconds. The flight was to collect data on a new leading-edge design for the wing, and while doing so, the DC-8 became the first civilian jet – and the first jet airliner – to make a supersonic flight. [6] The aircraft was DC-8-43 registered CF-CPG later delivered to Canadian Pacific Air Lines. The aircraft, crewed by Captain William Magruder, First Officer Paul Patten, Flight Engineer Joseph Tomich and Flight Test Engineer Richard Edwards, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California, and was accompanied to altitude by an F-104 Starfighter supersonic chase aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager. [7]

Entry into service

The DC-8 entered service with Delta Air Lines on September 18, 1959. Douglas DC-8-51 N821E DL MIA 07.02.71 edited-5.jpg
The DC-8 entered service with Delta Air Lines on September 18, 1959.

On September 18, 1959, the DC-8 entered service with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. [8] According to the Delta Air Lines website, the air carrier was the first to operate the DC-8 in scheduled passenger service. [9] By March 1960, Douglas had reached their planned production rate of eight DC-8s a month. Despite a large number of DC-8 early models available, all used the same basic airframe, differing only in engines, weights and details; in contrast, Boeing's rival B707 range offered several fuselage lengths and two wingspans: the original 144-foot (44 m) 707-120, a 135-foot (41 m) version that sacrificed space to gain longer range, and the stretched 707-320, which at 153 feet (47 m) overall had 10 feet (3.0 m) more cabin space than the DC-8. Douglas' refusal to offer different fuselage sizes made it less adaptable and forced Delta and United to look elsewhere for short to medium range types. Delta ordered Convair 880s, and United chose the newly developed short-fuselage 707-020. United prevailed on Boeing to rename the new variant the "Boeing 720" in case the public thought they were dissatisfied with the DC-8. Pan Am never reordered the DC-8 and Douglas gradually lost market share to Boeing. In 1962 DC-8 sales dropped to just 26, followed by 21 in 1963 and 14 in 1964; many were for the Jet Trader rather than the more prestigious passenger versions. In 1967, Douglas merged with the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, becoming McDonnell Douglas. [10]

Further developments

Announced in April 1965, the DC-8 Super 61 was stretched by 36.7 ft (11.2 m). Douglas DC-8-60 Prototype.jpg
Announced in April 1965, the DC-8 Super 61 was stretched by 36.7 ft (11.2 m).
From the late 1970s, the Super 70s were re-engined with larger, more efficient CFM56s. N817NA Douglas DC-8 NASA (7175889271).jpg
From the late 1970s, the Super 70s were re-engined with larger, more efficient CFM56s.

In April 1965, Douglas announced belated fuselage stretches for the DC-8 with three new models known as the Super Sixties. The DC-8 program had been in danger of closing with fewer than 300 aircraft sold, but the Super Sixties brought fresh life to it. By the time production ceased in 1972, 262 of the stretched DC-8s had been made. With the ability to seat 269 passengers, the DC-8 Series 61 and 63 had the largest passenger-carrying capacity available. That remained so until the Boeing 747 arrived in 1970.[ citation needed ] The DC-8-62 featured a shorter fuselage when compared with the Series 61 and 63 but was capable of nonstop long-range operations.

All the earlier jetliners were noisy by modern standards. Increasing traffic densities and changing public attitudes led to complaints about aircraft noise and moves to introduce restrictions. As early as 1966 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey expressed concern about the noise to be expected from the then still-unbuilt DC-8-61, and operators had to agree to operate it from New York at lower weights to reduce noise. By the early 1970s, legislation for aircraft noise standards was being introduced in many countries, and the 60 Series DC-8s were particularly at risk of being banned from major airports.[ citation needed ]

In the early 1970s, several airlines approached McDonnell Douglas for noise reduction modifications to the DC-8 but nothing was done. Third parties had developed aftermarket hushkits but there was no real move to keep the DC-8 in service. Finally, in 1975, General Electric began discussions with major airlines to fit the new and vastly quieter Franco-American CFM56 engine to both DC-8s and 707s. MDC remained reluctant but eventually came on board in the late 1970s and helped develop the Series 70. [11]

The Super Seventies were a great success: roughly 70% quieter than the 60 Series and, at the time of their introduction, the world's quietest four-engined airliner. As well as being quieter and more powerful, the CFM56 was up to 23% more fuel-efficient than the JT3D, which reduced operating costs and extended the range. [11]

By 2002, of the 1,032 Boeing 707s and 720s manufactured for commercial use, just 80 remained in service – though many of those 707s were converted for USAF use, either in service or for spare parts. Of the 556 DC-8s made, around 200 were still in commercial service in 2002, including about 25 50-Series, 82 of the stretched 60-Series, and 96 out of the 110 re-engined 70-Series. Most of the surviving DC-8s are now used as freighters. In May 2009, 97 DC-8s were in service following UPS's decision to retire their remaining fleet of 44. [12] In January 2013, an estimated 36 DC-8s were in use worldwide. [13] As a result of aging, increasing operating costs and strict noise and emissions regulations, the number of active DC-8s continues to decline.


Series 10

United Airlines DC-8-11, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojets. All -10 series aircraft were converted to other standards. Douglas DC-8-11 N8002U (7859010756).jpg
United Airlines DC-8-11, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojets. All -10 series aircraft were converted to other standards.

For domestic use, powered by 13,500 lb (60.5 kN) Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 turbojets with water injection. The initial DC-8-11 model had the original wingtips used on the prototype, and all were upgraded to DC-8-12 standard. The DC-8-12 featured the new low-drag wingtips and leading-edge slots, 80 inches long between the engines on each wing and 34 inches long inboard of the inner engines. These unique devices were covered by doors on the upper and lower wing surfaces that opened for low-speed flight and closed for cruise. The maximum weight increased from 265,000 to 273,000 pounds (120,200 to 123,800 kg). This model was originally named "DC-8A" until the series 30 was introduced. [14] [ page needed ] 30 DC-8-10s were built: 23 for United and 6 for Delta, plus the prototype. By the mid sixties United had converted 16 of its 21 surviving aircraft to DC-8-20 standard and the other 5 to -50s. Delta converted its 6 to DC-8-50s. (The prototype was itself also converted to a DC-8-50.) [15]

Series 20

Air Spain DC-8-21, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT4A turbojets, like the heavier Series 30 Air Spain Douglas DC-8-21EC-BXR.jpg
Air Spain DC-8-21, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT4A turbojets, like the heavier Series 30

Higher-powered 15,800 lb (70.8 kN) thrust Pratt & Whitney JT4A-3 turbojets (without water injection) allowed a weight increase to 276,000 pounds (125,190 kg). 33 DC-8-20s were built plus 16 converted DC-8-10s. [15] This model was originally named "DC-8B" but was renamed when the series 30 was introduced. [14] [ page needed ]

Series 30

For intercontinental routes, the three Series 30 variants combined JT4A engines with a one-third increase in fuel capacity and strengthened fuselage and landing gear. The DC-8-31 was certified in March 1960 with 16,800 lb (75.2 kN) JT4A-9 engines for 300,000-pound (136,080 kg) maximum takeoff weight. The DC-8-32 was similar but allowed 310,000-pound (140,600 kg) weight. The DC-8-33 of November 1960 substituted 17,500 lb (78.4 kN) JT4A-11 turbojets, a modification to the flap linkage to allow a 1.5° setting for more efficient cruise, stronger landing gear, and 315,000-pound (142,880 kg) maximum weight. Many -31 and -32 DC-8s were upgraded to this standard. A total of 57 DC-8-30s were produced (five of which were later upgraded to DC-8-50 standard). [15]

Series 40

-42 of Trans-Canada Air Lines, powered by Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans Douglas DC-8-42 CF-TJE TCA LAP 23.06.62 edited-2.jpg
-42 of Trans-Canada Air Lines, powered by Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans

The DC-8-40 was essentially the -30 but with 17,500 lb (78.4 kN) Rolls-Royce Conway 509 turbofan engines for better efficiency, less noise and less smoke. The Conway was an improvement over the turbojets that preceded it, but the Series 40 sold poorly because of the traditional reluctance of U.S. airlines to buy a foreign product and because the still-more-advanced Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofan was due in early 1961. The DC-8-41 and DC-8-42 had weights of 300,000 and 310,000 pounds (140,000 and 140,000 kg) respectively, the 315,000-pound (142,880 kg) DC-8-43 had the 1.5° flap setting of the -33 and introduced a 4% leading-edge wing extension to reduce drag and increase fuel capacity slightly – the new wing improved range by 8%, lifting capacity by 6,600 lb (3 metric tons), and cruising speed by better than 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). It was used on all later DC-8s. The first DC-8-40 was delivered in 1960; 32 were built (of which three would eventually be converted to DC-8-50s). [15]

Series 50

A KLM DC-8-55 powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofans Douglas DC-8-55CF Jet Trader, KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines AN1811637.jpg
A KLM DC-8-55 powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofans
The unique EC-24A electronic warfare trainer of the US Navy USN DC-8 C-24 EC-24 (8435059326).jpg
The unique EC-24A electronic warfare trainer of the US Navy

The definitive short-fuselage DC-8 came with the same engine that powered the vast majority of 707s, the JT3D. Twenty earlier DC-8s were converted to this standard. All but the -55 were certified in 1961. The DC-8-51, DC-8-52 and DC-8-53 all had 17,000 lb (76.1 kN) JT3D-1 or 18,000 lb (80.6 kN) JT3D-3B engines, varying mainly in their weights: 276,000 pounds (125,200 kg), 300,000 pounds (136,100 kg) and 315,000 pounds (142,900 kg) respectively. The DC-8-55 arrived in June 1964, retaining the JT3D-3B engines but with strengthened structure from the freighter versions and 325,000-pound (147,420 kg) maximum weight. 142 DC-8-50s were built plus the 20 converted from Series 10/30/40. [15]

Super 60 Series

The 187 ft 4 in (57.10 m) long DC-8-61 was introduced by United Airlines in February 1967. United DC-8 N8099U descents using its thrust reversers.jpg
The 187 ft 4 in (57.10 m) long DC-8-61 was introduced by United Airlines in February 1967.
The extended-range 157 ft 5 in (47.98 m) long DC-8-62 followed suit in April 1967. Swissair McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62 HB-IDI "Solothurn" (26834758996).jpg
The extended-range 157 ft 5 in (47.98 m) long DC-8-62 followed suit in April 1967.

Super 70 Series

Refitted with CFM56 turbofans, the Super 70s were certified in 1982. Douglas DC-8-71, Delta Air Lines AN0497676.jpg
Refitted with CFM56 turbofans, the Super 70s were certified in 1982.

The DC-8-71, DC-8-72, and DC-8-73 were straightforward conversions of the -61, -62 and -63 primarily involving the replacement of the JT3D engines with more fuel-efficient 22,000 lb (98.5 kN) CFM56-2 high-bypass turbofans with new nacelles and pylons built by Grumman Aerospace and fairing of the air intakes below the nose. The DC-8-71 achieved the same end but required more modification because the -61 did not have the improved wings and relocated engines of the -62 and -63. Maximum takeoff weights remained the same, but there was a slight reduction in payload because of the heavier engines. All three models were certified in 1982 and a total of 110 60-Series DC-8s were converted [15] by the time the program ended in 1988. DC-8-70 conversions were overseen by Cammacorp with CFMI, McDonnell Douglas, and Grumman Aerospace as partners. Cammacorp was disbanded after the last aircraft was converted. [11]


As of January 2020, four DC-8s remain in commercial service, with three operating for Trans Air Cargo Service and one with CFS Air Cargo. [21] Based in Lima, Peru, Skybus Cargo Charters lists three DC-8-70s in its fleet. Its Air operator's certificate was issued in August 2016. [22] Disaster relief organization Samaritan's Purse operates a DC-8-72. [23] NASA operates one DC-8 for research including archaeology, ecology, geography, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, volcanology, atmospheric chemistry, cryospheric science, soil science, and biology projects. [24]

Accidents and incidents

As of October 2015, the DC-8 had been involved in 146 incidents, [25] including 83 hull-loss accidents, [26] with 2,256 fatalities. [27] The DC-8 has also been involved in 46 hijackings with 2 fatalities. [28] The deadliest incident involving the DC-8 was Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 which crashed on July 11, 1991 with 261 fatalities. [29]

Aircraft on display

The following museums have DC-8s on display or in storage:


DC-8-10/20/30/40/50, [37] DC-8-43/55/61/62/63/71/72/73 [38]
Passengers177-40/43: 177, -50/55: 189259189
Max. cargo1,390 cu ft (39 m3)2,500 cu ft (71 m3)1,615 cu ft (45.7 m3)
Wingspan142.4 ft (43.4 m)148.4 ft (45.2 m)
Length150.7 ft (45.9 m)187.4 ft (57.1 m)157.5 ft (48.0 m)
Fuselageoutside width: 147 in (373.4 cm), inside width: 138.25 in (351.2 cm)
Max. Takeoff
Weight (MTOW)
-10: 273,000 lb (123.8 t)
-20: 276,000 lb (125.2 t)
30: 315,000 lb (142.9 t)
315,000 lb (142.9 t)
-55: 325,000 lb (147.4 t)
325,000 lb (147.4 t)
-F: 328,000 lb (148.8 t)
355,000 lb (161.0 t)350,000 lb (158.8 t)
-72F: 335,000 lb (152.0 t)
-10: 46,103 lb (20.9 t)
-20: 43,624 lb (19.8 t)
-30: 51,870 lb (23.5 t)
52,000 lb (23.6 t)
-43: 41,691 lb (18.9 t)
-61: 71,899 lb (32.6 t)
-71: 60,300 lb (27.4 t)
-63: 71,262 lb (32.3 t)
-73: 64,800 lb (29.4 t)
-62: 51,745 lb (23.5 t)
-72: 41,800 lb (19.0 t)
Operating empty
weight (OEW)
-10: 119,797 lb (54.3 t)
-20: 123,876 lb (56.2 t)
-30: 126,330 lb (57.3 t)
-40/50: 124,800 lb (56.6 t)
-43: 136,509 lb (61.9 t)
-55: 138,266 lb (62.7 t)
-61: 152,101 lb (69.0 t)
-71: 163,700 lb (74.3 t)
-63: 158,738 lb (72.0 t)
-73: 166,200 lb (75.4 t)
-62: 143,255 lb (65.0 t)
-72: 153,200 lb (69.5 t)
Max. fuel23,393 US gal (88.6 m3), -10/20: 17,550 US gal (66.4 m3)24,275 US gal (91.9 m3)
Engines [lower-alpha 1] -10: P&W JT3C
-20/30: P&W JT4A
-40/43: RCo.12
-50/55: P&W JT3D-3B
Super 61/62: P&W JT3D-3B, Super 63: P&W JT3D-7
Super 70: CFM56-2
Cruise speedMach 0.82 (483 kn; 895 km/h)
Range [lower-alpha 2] -10: 3,760 nmi (6,960 km)
-20: 4,050 nmi (7,500 km)
-30: 4,005 nmi (7,417 km)
-40: 5,310 nmi (9,830 km)
-43: 4,200 nmi (7,800 km)
-50: 5,855 nmi (10,843 km)
-55: 4,700 nmi (8,700 km)
-61: 3,200 nmi (5,900 km)
-71: 3,500 nmi (6,500 km)
-63: 4,000 nmi (7,400 km)
-73: 4,500 nmi (8,300 km)
-62: 5,200 nmi (9,600 km)
-72: 5,300 nmi (9,800 km)
Freighter versions-50/-55-61/7163/73-62/72
Volume-50: 9,310 cu ft (264 m3)
-55: 9,020 cu ft (255 m3)
12,171 cu ft (344.6 m3)12,830 cu ft (363 m3)9,737 cu ft (275.7 m3)
Payload-50: 88,022 lb (39.9 t)
-55: 92,770 lb (42.1 t)
-61: 88,494 lb (40.1 t)
-71: 81,300 lb (36.9 t)
-63: 119,670 lb (54.3 t)
-73: 111,800 lb (50.7 t)
-62: 91,440 lb (41.5 t)
-72: 90,800 lb (41.2 t)
OEW-50: 130,207 lb (59.1 t)
-55: 131,230 lb (59.5 t)
-61: 145,506 lb (66.0 t)
-71: 152,700 lb (69.3 t)
-63: 141,330 lb (64.1 t)
-73: 149,200 lb (67.7 t)
-62: 138,560 lb (62.8 t)
-72: 140,200 lb (63.6 t)
Max PL
-55: 3,000 nmi (5,600 km)-61/63: 2,300 nmi (4,300 km)
-71/73: 2,900 nmi (5,400 km)
-62: 3,200 nmi (5,900 km)
-72: 3,900 nmi (7,200 km)



See also

A DC-8 (left, engine cowlings open) and a competing Convair CV-990 (right, with distinctive anti-shock bodies) Swissair Douglas DC-8 and Convair CV-990 at Zurich from above.tif
A DC-8 (left, engine cowlings open) and a competing Convair CV-990 (right, with distinctive anti-shock bodies)

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. turbofans except JT3C and JT4A turbojets
  2. -10/20/30/40/50: max PL, -43/55/Super 60/Super70: max pax

Related Research Articles

Boeing 707 Narrow-body jet airliner family

The Boeing 707 is a long-range narrow-body airliner produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes, its first jetliner. Developed from the Boeing 367-80, a prototype first flown in 1954, the initial 707-120 first flew on December 20, 1957. Pan American World Airways began regular 707 service on October 26, 1958, and it was built until 1979. A quadjet, the 707 has a swept wing with podded engines. Its larger fuselage cross-section allowed six-abreast economy seating, retained in the later 720, 727, 737, and 757.

Boeing 727 Narrow body jet airliner

The Boeing 727 is a narrow-body airliner produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. After the heavy 707 quad-jet was introduced in 1958, Boeing addressed the demand for shorter flight lengths from smaller airports. On December 5, 1960, the 727 was launched with 40 orders each from United Airlines and Eastern Air Lines. The first 727-100 rolled out November 27, 1962, first flew on February 9, 1963, and entered service with Eastern on February 1, 1964.

McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Wide-body tri-jet airliner

The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is an American wide-body airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 was intended to succeed the DC-8 for long range flights. It first flew on August 29, 1970; and was introduced on August 5, 1971 by American Airlines.

Boeing 717 Jet airliner, final series derived from the DC-9 family

The Boeing 717 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner, developed for the 100-seat market. The airliner was designed and originally marketed by McDonnell Douglas as the MD-95, a derivative of the DC-9 family. Capable of seating up to 134 passengers, the 717 has a design range of 2,060 nautical miles (3,820 km). It is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR715 turbofan engines mounted at the rear of the fuselage.

McDonnell Douglas MD-90

The McDonnell Douglas MD-90 is a single-aisle airliner developed by McDonnell Douglas from the MD-80, itself derived from the DC-9. After the more fuel-efficient IAE V2500 high-bypass turbofan was selected, Delta Air Lines became the launch customer on November 14, 1989. It first flew on February 22, 1993 and the first MD-90 was delivered to Delta in February 1995.

Convair 880 Four-engined jet airliner

The Convair 880 is an American narrow-body jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics. It was designed to compete with the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 by being smaller but faster, a niche that failed to create demand. When it was first introduced, some aviation circles claimed that at 615 mph (990 km/h), it was the fastest jet transport in the world. Only 65 Convair 880s were produced over the lifetime of the production run from 1959 to 1962, and General Dynamics eventually withdrew from the airliner market after considering the 880 project a failure. The Convair 990 was a stretched and faster variant of the 880.

Jet airliner Passenger aeroplane that is powered by jet engines

A jet airliner or jetliner is an airliner powered by jet engines. Airliners usually have two or four jet engines; three-engined designs were popular in the 1970s but are less common today. Airliners are commonly classified as either the generally long-haul wide-body aircraft or narrow-body aircraft.

Convair 990 Coronado Four-engined jet airliner

The Convair 990 Coronado is an American narrow-body four-engined jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics, a stretched version of their earlier Convair 880 produced in response to a request from American Airlines. The 990 was lengthened by 10 ft (3.0 m), which increased the number of passengers from between 88 and 110 in the 880 to between 96 and 121 in the 990. This was still fewer passengers than the contemporary Boeing 707 or Douglas DC-8, although the 990 was 25–35 mph (40–56 km/h) faster than either in cruise.

McDonnell Douglas MD-80 Jet airliner, next generation series based on the DC-9

The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is a series of single-aisle airliners developed by McDonnell Douglas from the earlier DC-9. Stretched, heavier, and with higher bypass Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines, the DC-9 Series 80 was launched in October 1977. It made its first flight on October 18, 1979 and was certified on August 25, 1980. It was first delivered to launch customer Swissair on September 13, 1980, which introduced it into commercial service on October 10, 1980.

McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Wide body airliners developed from the DC-10

The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 is a wide-body airliner manufactured by American McDonnell Douglas (MDD) and later by Boeing. Following DC-10 development studies, the program was launched on December 30, 1986. Assembly of the first prototype began on March 9, 1988, it rolled out in September 1989 and made its maiden flight on January 10, 1990. FAA certification was achieved on November 8, the first delivery was to Finnair on December 7, and it entered service on the 20th.

Pratt & Whitney JT8D

The Pratt & Whitney JT8D is a low-bypass turbofan engine introduced by Pratt & Whitney in February 1963 with the inaugural flight of the Boeing 727. It was a modification of the Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojet engine which powered the US Navy A-6 Intruder attack aircraft. The Volvo RM8 is an afterburning version that was license-built in Sweden for the Saab 37 Viggen fighter. Pratt & Whitney also sells static versions for powerplant and ship propulsion as the FT8.

Rolls-Royce Conway

The Rolls-Royce RB.80 Conway was the first turbofan engine to enter service. Development started at Rolls-Royce in the 1940s, but the design was used only briefly, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before other turbofan designs replaced it. However, the Conway engine was used in versions of the Handley Page Victor, Vickers VC10, Boeing 707-420 and Douglas DC-8-40. The name "Conway" is the English spelling of the River Conwy, in Wales, in keeping with Rolls' use of river names for gas turbine engines.

Pratt & Whitney JT3D Family of turbofan aircraft engines

The Pratt & Whitney JT3D is an early turbofan aircraft engine derived from the Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet. It was first run in 1958 and was first flown in 1959 under a B-45 Tornado test aircraft. Over 8,000 JT3Ds were produced between 1959 and 1985. Most JT3D engines still in service today are used on military aircraft, where the engine is referred to by its USAF designation of TF33.

Pratt & Whitney J57

The Pratt & Whitney J57 is an axial-flow turbojet engine developed by Pratt & Whitney in the early 1950s. The J57 was the first 10,000 lbf (45 kN) thrust class engine in the United States. The J57/JT3C was developed into the J75/JT4A turbojet, JT3D/TF33 turbofan, and PT5/T57 turboprop. The J57 and JT3C saw extensive use on fighter jets, jetliners, and bombers for many decades.

Boeing 367-80 Prototype aircraft built by Boeing that was base for the design of the KC-135 tanker and the 707 airliner

The Boeing 367-80, known simply as the Dash 80, is an American quadjet prototype aircraft built by Boeing to demonstrate the advantages of jet propulsion for commercial aviation. It served as basis for the design of the KC-135 tanker and the 707 airliner.

McDonnell Douglas DC-9 Twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner produced 1965-1982

The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a single-aisle airliner designed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. After introducing its heavy DC-8 in 1959, Douglas approved the smaller, all-new DC-9 for shorter flights on April 8, 1963. The DC-9-10 first flew on February 25, 1965 and gained its type certificate on November 23, to enter service with Delta Air Lines on December 8. With five seats across in economy, it had two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans under a T-tail for a cleaner wing, a two-person flight deck and built-in airstairs.

General Electric CJ805

The General Electric CJ805 is a jet engine which was developed by GE Aviation in the late 1950s. It was a civilian version of the J79 and differed only in detail. It was developed in two versions. The basic CJ805-3 was a turbojet and powered the Convair 880, while CJ805-23, a turbofan derivative, powered the Convair 990 airliners.

The Fokker F29 was a conceptual jet airliner design by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer, Fokker.

Boeing C-137 Stratoliner VIP transport aircraft derived from the Boeing 707

The Boeing C-137 Stratoliner is a retired VIP transport aircraft derived from the Boeing 707 jet airliner used by the United States Air Force. Other nations also bought both new and used 707s for military service, primarily as VIP or tanker transports. In addition, the 707 served as the basis for several specialized versions, such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The designation C-18 covers several later variants based on the 707-320B/C series. The C-137 should not be confused with the superficially-similar Boeing C-135 Stratolifter; although they share a common ancestor the two aircraft have different fuselages.

Four-engined jet aircraft Aircraft class with fixed wings propelled by four main jet engines

A four-engined jet, sometimes called a quadjet, is a jet aircraft powered by four engines. The presence of four engines offers increased power, allowing such aircraft to be used as airliners, freighters, and military aircraft. Many of the first purpose-built jet airliners had four engines, among which stands the De Havilland Comet, the world's first commercial jetliner. In the decades following their introduction, their use has gradually declined due to a variety of factors, including the approval of twin-engine jets to fly further from diversion airports and an increased emphasis on fuel efficiency.


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Further reading