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Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: whiplash
Posted 2013-07-02 00:57:30 and read 18118 times.

Checking the production list on planespotters for the DC-8, i found a disturbing trend. It went like:

Scrapped
Scrapped
Written off
Scrapped
Written off
Written off
Scrapped
Written off

There have been around a 100 hull losses out of 500 odd aicraft's built and a total of 150 accidents. That's a 20% loss of the entire production list. What went so wrong with the DC-8, which made it so likely to crash?

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: Max Q
Posted 2013-07-02 01:07:01 and read 18100 times.

Perhaps you should look at the B707 accident rate as well, great plane but there were just a lot more crashes back then.


Many of them during Pilot training, before widespread use of simulators.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: kaitak
Posted 2013-07-02 01:08:11 and read 18094 times.

Well, for a start, the aircraft first entered service around 55yrs ago, so it's hard surprising most aircraft are now scrapped!

As for accidents, you must remember that, like the 707 and Caravelle, the DC8 is a first generation jet and crews coming onto this would have only flown piston props before that and they had to learn a lot about speeds, aerodynamics, engine technology, etc; it's not surprising that there was a fairly high accident rate, BUT it should also be pointed out that these accidents were concentrated over a long period. The first DC8 hull loss (off the top of my head - don't have the list in front of me) was the UAL DC8 mid-air collision of New York in December 1960 and that was due to pilot error; there were losses not due to pilot error (the Swissair DC8 at Dawsons Field), at least two lost in hangar or other ground fires, and one that ran out of fuel (UAL DC8, 1979). So, there have been lots of different reasons and it's really not fair (actually sounds like Tabloid journalism) to describe it as a "crash loving" aircraft).

What we can say is the lessons learned from it and its contemporaries have led to the huge experience and knowledge we have today, which have contributed to today's aircraft and flying generally being so safe.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: pecevanne
Posted 2013-07-02 01:22:53 and read 17993 times.

One of the first DC-8 accidents was XA-XAX Aeronaves de Mexico, now AeroMexico, in Idlewild NY, now JFK.
Rejected take off later and crash outside airport boundaries. the aircraft never flew in that take off.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: SpaceshipDC10
Posted 2013-07-02 01:41:48 and read 17887 times.

Quoting whiplash (Thread starter):
There have been around a 100 hull losses out of 500 odd aicraft's built and a total of 150 accidents. That's a 20% loss of the entire production list.

556 DC-8 were built and according to Aviation Safety Network, there has been 83 hull-losses and 141 incidents or hijackings. So statistically only 14,92% of the produced aircraft were lost not 20%.

Then, why do you assume the DC-8 is so prone to crash? Just by the number of occurrences? Here are some hull-losses, see for yourself what happened:

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19680629-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19730621-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19970807-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19700915-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19700908-1

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: jetfixr757
Posted 2013-07-02 01:50:01 and read 17837 times.

Why don't you take a look at the numbers of eastern bloc aircraft that run off the end of the runways instead of a 50 year old aircraft that has had a stellar service record! The numbers will amaze you, every month there are at least 2-3 eastern bloc aircraft or airline operators running off the end of the runways. Can't manage the energy...translation...Can't fly worth a crap....
Jet

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: RWA380
Posted 2013-07-02 01:56:05 and read 17796 times.

Quoting kaitak (Reply 2):
and one that ran out of fuel (UAL DC8, 1979).

This was the first time a plane crash really impacted me as a young, plane crazy lad. It happened near enough to where we lived to be scary. Definitely an image that has stuck with me throughout my life. The DC-8 was a great plane. I'm sure nearly 60 years from now, we will be looking back, and think how different things are vs what is happening currently.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: MEA-707
Posted 2013-07-02 02:12:50 and read 17716 times.

Actually the DC-8 had much fewer accidents which were the fault of the aircraft itself then the 707 (early rudder control problems), Viscount (breaking wing and tail spars), Electra or Comet.
What other posters already wrote, aircraft of that generation were more likely to crash, for instance GPS and GPWC done amazing things for aviation safety, it's more these things that avoids crashes these days.

The other first generation jets, the 707, Comet, Trident, Tu-104 and Caravelle had relatively even more crashes per flight hour or per 100 built airframes then the DC-8.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: Aaron747
Posted 2013-07-02 03:29:26 and read 17458 times.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 7):
The other first generation jets, the 707, Comet, Trident, Tu-104 and Caravelle had relatively even more crashes per flight hour or per 100 built airframes then the DC-8.

The main thing you notice is that most of these accidents were very circumstantial owing to the less capable technology and ATC of the time in some cases.

Even a cursory look at the 707 hull losses, for example, from 1959 to 1975 reveals that many accidents stemmed from flying the airplane into airports/conditions with poor facilities, poor weather, or both.

1962: Varig 810: deviation from ILS
1962: Pan Am 214: lightning strike
1965: Pan Am 292: thunderstorm in Montserrat
1966: Air India 101: navigation error, CFIT over the Alps
1966: BOAC 911: severe mountain wave turbulence, Japan
1968: Canadian Pac 322: zero vis at Vancouver
1968: Air France 212: navigation error, CFIT at Guadeloupe
1968: Pan Am 1: ATC miscommunication w/bad weather in Calcutta
1968: Pan Am 217: navigation error on approach at Caracas
1973: Pacific Western 3801: blowing snow and wind at Edmonton
1973: Pan Am 816: possible navigation error at Papeete
1973: Lufthansa cargo: poor vis, poor wx info, crash on approach at Delhi
1974: Pan Am 806: crash on approach in bad wx in Pago Pago
1974: Pan Am 812: navigation error on approach at Bali
1975: Alia: navigation error, CFIT at Agadir

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: na
Posted 2013-07-02 03:37:06 and read 17409 times.

Firstly, aircraft were much less reliable back in the 60s, 70s. Secondly, avionics and traffic control wasnt as reliable, too. Thirdly, you will notice that many of the DC-8 and 707s that were written off were very old planes operated by dodgy airlines, planes which were simply not worth being repaired after smaller incidents.
As others said, the DC-8 wasnt more crash-prone than its contemporaries, other types were even worse.

Look at the 707s remaining, they are almost all military birds often upgraded with modern engines and avionics. Their crash-rate isnt any worse than that of modern planes.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: SEPilot
Posted 2013-07-02 03:51:29 and read 17363 times.

You have to compare apples to apples. The only fair comparison to the DC-8 is the 707, and others have said its record is comparable or worse. The reason flying is so safe today is because we learned so much from the early jetliners, and the manufacturers and airlines have found a way to avoid finger-pointing and incorporate those lessons into their procedures. That is the most amazing part of the story.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: Revelation
Posted 2013-07-02 04:34:56 and read 17192 times.

Quoting kaitak (Reply 2):
As for accidents, you must remember that, like the 707 and Caravelle, the DC8 is a first generation jet and crews coming onto this would have only flown piston props before that and they had to learn a lot about speeds, aerodynamics, engine technology, etc; it's not surprising that there was a fairly high accident rate

I agree. Things were happening a lot faster than the whole system (pilots, ATC, etc) were trained to deal with.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: garpd
Posted 2013-07-02 04:39:29 and read 17171 times.

The DC-8 is from an era of aviation where things were far more "Seat of your pants" than they are today.
Look at the accident rate in general from the 50s and 60s. Atrocious when compared to today.

Also, the DC-8 was one of the first passenger jets. Faster and more sensitive to incorrect control inputs thus less forgiving than the prop aircraft that came before it.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: bennett123
Posted 2013-07-02 04:44:15 and read 17128 times.

Thinking further back still, I was recently looking at British South American Airways on aviation-safety.net

There were 19 incidents , (admittedly not all major disasters).

They only flew from 1946 to 1949.

I doubt that today, even in more exotic locations that this would have been tolerated for so long.

IMO, after a few accidents, they would have been closed down.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: bongodog1964
Posted 2013-07-02 05:05:09 and read 17015 times.

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 15):
Thinking further back still, I was recently looking at British South American Airways on aviation-safety.net

There were 19 incidents , (admittedly not all major disasters).

They only flew from 1946 to 1949.

Their planes were a mix of converted ex WW2 bombers and new built minimal conversions fron WW2 bombers, All based on either the Lancaster or Halifax. To their pilots who would all have been ex RAF bomber types, whose previous life expectancy was calculated in weeks, this would have seemed quite a safe operation.

Each generation sees that the present accident rate is an improvement to what went before. Whilst this remains the case everyone is happy.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: ImperialEagle
Posted 2013-07-02 06:24:12 and read 16626 times.

The -8 has a tough structure. Part of the reason so many of them have been kept going for so long. Systems were designed in the '50s. Engines designed in the '50's (except CFM's). Lots of cockpit crew, maintenance crew, etc. trained in the '30s.
World-wide many, many airports had bad or practically no navigational systems or systems so primative as to be practically useless.
Thunderstorm avoidance policies not yet properly addressed back in the day AND then there were the issues regarding "jet-upset".

There were many factors involved back in the day. I fail to see how the -8s were any more prone to crashes and accidents than any other aircraft other than the ones that required modifications to structure or systems due to poor design. In many cases one must consider the "state of the art" of that era.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: frmrcapcadet
Posted 2013-07-02 08:44:33 and read 14524 times.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 11):
You have to compare apples to apples. The only fair comparison to the DC-8 is the 707, and others have said its record is comparable or worse. The reason flying is so safe today is because we learned so much from the early jetliners, and the manufacturers and airlines have found a way to avoid finger-pointing and incorporate those lessons into their procedures. That is the most amazing part of the story.

Good summary. In defense of the OP, if someone had read the history only of the DC-8 and not the others I could see it striking him that way. I think the safety improvements in airplane and auto travel is one of the great achievements of the 20th century.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: ozark1
Posted 2013-07-02 08:55:29 and read 14304 times.

I think several of you are getting way too worked up (as usual) about a question from someone who is not knowledgeable of a lot of things about the DC8 and was simply asking for information. Sure, you can inform this threader about comparisons to the 707, et.al., but is it necessary to jump down his throat over it?
I loved the DC8. I also loved and worked on the 707. Just by looking currently and in the past decade, you will see that the DC8 far outlasted the 707 by being able to be re-engine and become a cargo workhorse.
Those of you who are avid readers of accident investigations will recall that at least two problems the DC8 had was the Pitch Trim Compensator (PTC) which was accountable for at least 2 hull losses (EA in MSY and Trans Canada in YYZ --I think). EA almost lost an earlier DC8 with the same problem (with the same copilot as the one in MSY). I am not sure if this contributed to any more accidents.
Another problem was the accidental activation of the spoilers prior to landing. This happened several times but the one that stands out is Air Canada in YYZ. There were several other incidents regarding the spoilers.
These problems were fixed as the years went by. It wasn't any more of a crash loving airplane than the 707, but layoff the guy already  

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: pwm2txlhopper
Posted 2013-07-02 10:05:18 and read 13155 times.

I'd say it was one of the first generation jet airliners. There was still a lot to learn for everybody, from the manufacturers, to the mechanics who serviced the aircraft, to the crews flying them. Keep in mind, during that time period, a lot of flight crews were ex military pilots from WWII and Korea with most of their experience gained from flying piston engined aircraft. Shifting to jets was a learning experience. Unfortunately, accidents happened as technology evolved and we moved into the jet age.

Even 20-25 years ago, I think you'd find the statistics showed a lot more crashes and airframe losses. From each one we've learned things, though. Redesigned things. Updated and improved operating and saftey procedures. Today flying is probably as safe as it has ever been?

I'm only 33, but even as recently as the early 1990's, it seemed there were at least several major airline crashed every year in the USA. They use to happen often enough that I'd cut out the newspaper clippings and save them in scrap books. I've got about 3 albums in my attic regarding crashes from the late 1980s- mid 90's.

I particularly remember the craze about safety of commuter airlines during the mid 1990's during a series of crashes involving regional carriers. As a result, new safety regulations went into play regarding regional operations and today you rarely hear of crashes involving them either. Just another example of flight operations safety evolving and improving as we've learned from past errors.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: planespotting
Posted 2013-07-02 10:45:45 and read 12551 times.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 23):
Keep in mind, during that time period, a lot of flight crews were ex military pilots from WWII and Korea with most of their experience gained from flying piston engined aircraft.

I think this is probably the main reason there were so many early jet crashes. Ask anyone who has flown a piston and moved to a jet - there are loads of differences, both in terms of engine management and response, and just needing to be ahead of the airplane at all times.

One of the main benefits of flying a piston or even a turboprop is that it's pretty darn easy to slow an airplane down (via the drag from the spinning props out front) to give yourself more time to respond to a certain situation. You can get away with flying by the seat of your pants more often, and obviously have a higher margin for error. In a jet, if you're in the descent/approach/landing phase, slowing down is difficult unless you can dump a whole bunch of flaps/gear/speedbreaks out and are in the right part of the flight envelope to do so, and then you've made things more complicated by having to remember to reduce all that drag and/or throttle up when you've reached the optimum airspeed, on top of dealing with whatever other complications a certain flight is presenting, including inclement weather, equipment failures, ATC changes, etc.

So for most flights in a jet in normal operations with few exceptions, piston-raised pilots can do a pretty good job of staying with the airplane. But if they weren't trained well or didn't internalize some of the main differences between jets and pistons, when a complicated situation arises they may feel like they have more time or more outs than they actually do, which only means they get deeper and deeper into trouble before something untenable happens and the flight departs from normal control and into the accident sequence.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: bohica
Posted 2013-07-02 12:42:39 and read 10957 times.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 7):
The other first generation jets, the 707, Comet, Trident, Tu-104 and Caravelle had relatively even more crashes per flight hour or per 100 built airframes then the DC-8.

And ALL of them are safer than driving to/from the airport.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: MrFord
Posted 2013-07-02 12:54:47 and read 10788 times.

Quoting pecevanne (Reply 3):
One of the first DC-8 accidents was XA-XAX Aeronaves de Mexico, now AeroMexico, in Idlewild NY, now JFK.
Rejected take off later and crash outside airport boundaries. the aircraft never flew in that take off.

Slightly off topic here, but reading the accident report, I was puzzled about the 7R departure at IDL.
Then I found this old chart of Idlewild, quite different than today's JFK!

http://www.seaboardairlines.org/stuff/chart1b.jpg

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: 707lvr
Posted 2013-07-02 13:13:10 and read 10505 times.

From the perspective of an early jet traveler, the early age of steam wasn't all that safe either.

[Edited 2013-07-02 13:15:20]

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: Flighty
Posted 2013-07-02 13:17:06 and read 10435 times.

If you look at the Martin 202, you see this in Wikipedia (Keep in mind, NW had only 20 or so)


29 August 1948 - Northwest Airlines Flight 421 crashed after losing a wing near Winona, Minnesota, United States, 37 fatalities.[1][12]

7 March 1950 - Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 307 crashed after hitting a flag pole near Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, United States. 15 fatalities including two on the ground.[1][13]

13 October 1950 - A Northwest Orient 2-0-2 crashed on a training flight at Almelund, Minnesota, United States, 6 fatalities.[1][14]

7 November 1950 - Northwest Orient Flight 115 crashed into a mountain near Butte, Montana, United States, 21 fatalities.[1][15]

16 January 1951 - Northwest Orient Flight 115 crashed near Reardon, Washington, United States, after sudden unexplained loss of control during cruise.[16] 10 fatalities


So yeah... the probability of crash was very high with that fleet.

Topic: Did the Douglas DC-8 Have a High Crash Rate?
Username: maxpower1954
Posted 2013-07-02 14:25:30 and read 9396 times.

The Northwest pilot group, after the fifth Martin 202 accident informed NW management that after a certain date (I think it was April 1951) they would no longer fly the 202. And they didn't.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-07-02 17:01:51 and read 8396 times.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 1):
Perhaps you should look at the B707 accident rate as well, great plane but there were just a lot more crashes back then.

Pan Am wrote off 5 707s in fatal accidents (and one terrorist attack at FCO) in 9 months in 1973/74. Imagine the outcry if that happened to a major carrier today. In those days some of those accidents barely made the news.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: BoeingGuy
Posted 2013-07-02 17:24:58 and read 8236 times.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 25):
Quoting Max Q (Reply 1):
Perhaps you should look at the B707 accident rate as well, great plane but there were just a lot more crashes back then.

Pan Am wrote off 5 707s in fatal accidents (and one terrorist attack at FCO) in 9 months in 1973/74. Imagine the outcry if that happened to a major carrier today. In those days some of those accidents barely made the news.

LAX had two fatal mainline jet crashes within 5 days in 1969 - SK DC-8 and UA 727.

Now we go 10+ years in the US without mainline jet crash at all. The last was the AA A300 in 10/2001. There have also been LEX and BUF on regional carriers, but it's still a pretty darn good record compared to the old days.

Of course, even one is still too many anytime.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: ordpark
Posted 2013-07-02 18:27:01 and read 7861 times.

At United....those of us that have been around awhile, still have great memories of the DC-8...In her day, she was the queen of the fleet! Great FC cabin for it's day....She had some cranky mechanical issues later in life, hydraulic leaks and a containerized Bag system that would make your skin crawl! But she was a majestic looking lady....We lost a few of them along the way, but I don't recall anything that would give it a bad safety reputation...

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: AirCalSNA
Posted 2013-07-02 18:34:01 and read 7825 times.

Quoting ordpark (Reply 27):
LAX had two fatal mainline jet crashes within 5 days in 1969 - SK DC-8 and UA 727.

I was a little kid, but that 727 crash still sticks in my memory because my sister knew the captain's daughter. It's amazing how the frequency of crashes has been reduced so drastically since then.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: ozark1
Posted 2013-07-02 19:09:55 and read 7546 times.

Quoting ordpark (Reply 27):
At United....those of us that have been around awhile, still have great memories of the DC-8...In her day, she was the queen of the fleet! Great FC cabin for it's day

As a kid, there was just no comparison to the 707. The DC-8 had much bigger windows, the seats had those really cool reading lights on the side of the seatback, and what could thrill an 8 year old more than the "howling" start up of each engine (at least on the DL DC-8-51s that I flew on frequently).

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: N328KF
Posted 2013-07-02 19:26:14 and read 7430 times.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 8):
Even a cursory look at the 707 hull losses, for example, from 1959 to 1975 reveals that many accidents stemmed from flying the airplane into airports/conditions with poor facilities, poor weather, or both.

Look at how many of those 707 crashes were Pan Am. Robert Gandt's book singles out shitty piloting and CRM for this. Once Pan Am engaged in a process to resolve this, they stopped crashing jets. Tenerife does not count.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: BoeingGuy
Posted 2013-07-03 07:55:38 and read 5598 times.

Quoting AirCalSNA (Reply 28):
Quoting ordpark (Reply 27):
LAX had two fatal mainline jet crashes within 5 days in 1969 - SK DC-8 and UA 727.

I was a little kid, but that 727 crash still sticks in my memory because my sister knew the captain's daughter. It's amazing how the frequency of crashes has been reduced so drastically since then.

I believe the UA 727 crash off LAX led to the regulations requiring an airplane Standby Battery and Standby Instruments on their own battery.

AC 797 led to the adoption of fire retardant material regulations, lighted exits, and think something about Smoke Detectors.

The UA DC-8 mid-air in 1960 led to the 250 knot speed limit below 10,000 feet.

PSA 182 and the AM mid-air near LAX led to TCAS. American at Cali led to adding the "E" in EGPWS and some new procedures for leaving your hand on the speedbrake lever when it's deployed (at least for some operators).

There have been numerous other accidents that led to new regulations and procedure improvements.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-07-03 14:28:25 and read 5272 times.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 30):
Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 8):
Even a cursory look at the 707 hull losses, for example, from 1959 to 1975 reveals that many accidents stemmed from flying the airplane into airports/conditions with poor facilities, poor weather, or both.

Look at how many of those 707 crashes were Pan Am. Robert Gandt's book singles out shitty piloting and CRM for this. Once Pan Am engaged in a process to resolve this, they stopped crashing jets. Tenerife does not count.

Looking at jets only, Pan Am wrote off 12 707s, 2 727s and 4 747s (for all reasons, including terrorism).

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: NorthStarDC4M
Posted 2013-07-03 14:48:41 and read 5208 times.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 31):
AC 797 led to the adoption of fire retardant material regulations, lighted exits, and think something about Smoke Detectors.

Along with British Airtours 28M, AC797 led to the adoption of:
minimum access standards at overwing exits
exit signage standards
floor lighting systems
fire blocking
smoke detectors in all passenger lavatories

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: cedarjet
Posted 2013-07-03 16:36:06 and read 5069 times.

It's true the early jet track record was pretty poor. What's interesting about Pan Am is that after a lightning strike downed one of their 707s in 1960 (or 61), right at the start of the jet age, they then flew almost all the way through the 60s without putting so much as a dent on one of their 707s. Then in the early 70s they crashed five 707s. Interesting pattern.

Quoting jetfixr757 (Reply 5):
every month there are at least 2-3 eastern bloc aircraft or airline operators running off the end of the runways. Can't manage the energy...translation...Can't fly worth a crap...

Total and utter rubbish. Eastern bloc (I presume you mean eastern Europe + Russia) carriers have an excellent safety record.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: cornutt
Posted 2013-07-03 18:14:27 and read 4954 times.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 18):
I'm only 33, but even as recently as the early 1990's, it seemed there were at least several major airline crashed every year in the USA.

People thought about crashes differently back them. They weren't blase about it exactly, but to an extent it was accepted as the cost of progress. The general attitude was that it needed to be fixed, but it would be fixed as soon as the technology improved, and until then it wasn't going to stop people from doing what they needed to do.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: ImperialEagle
Posted 2013-07-03 19:24:01 and read 4884 times.

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 35):
all the way through the 60s without putting so much as a dent on one of their 707s.

Ummmm. Not exactly. There were numerous engines fires, collapsed gear, etc.

and:

N779PA W/O 4/7/64 Runway overrun JFK.
N761PA Blew #4 shortly aft. t/o SFO. Engine burned through pylon and fell off. Emer. landing Travis AFB.
N708PA W/O 9/17/65 Montserrat.
N724PA Right wing caught fire. FRA 9/10/67
N725PA Runway overrun ORY 6/20/68
N494PA W/O 12/12/68 Crashed into sea near CCS.
N799PA W/O Elmendorf AFB 12/26/68
N477PA Hard landing/overrun BRU 8/1/69

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: AirCalSNA
Posted 2013-07-03 19:26:01 and read 4877 times.

Quoting cornutt (Reply 37):
People thought about crashes differently back them. They weren't blase about it exactly, but to an extent it was accepted as the cost of progress. The general attitude was that it needed to be fixed, but it would be fixed as soon as the technology improved, and until then it wasn't going to stop people from doing what they needed to do.

I think there was also a lot more talk then about the odds of being killed in a plane crash compared to other forms of transportation, which everyone used to reassure themselves about the relative safety of air travel. There was more of a sense of the risks that were involved because there was generally a major crash in the United States about every 18 months, which would be subject to intense news coverage. Today safety is much more of a given.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: SpaceshipDC10
Posted 2013-07-04 14:22:52 and read 4465 times.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 18):
Keep in mind, during that time period, a lot of flight crews were ex military pilots from WWII and Korea with most of their experience gained from flying piston engined aircraft. Shifting to jets was a learning experience. Unfortunately, accidents happened as technology evolved and we moved into the jet age.

That's right. However, there was also the problem of crew concept, at least at one airline. I've already mentioned that in another thread, but because Pan Am lost in a very short time several aircraft, it revealed the problems encountered by young pilots that were flying with the almighty Skygods and their despotic actions.

The accidents cited below are there to show it. Because the gray-haired men were those who had opened up the airways across the Pacific back in the days of the flying boats, young pilots couldn't tell them they were wrong, even if their actions were putting lives at risk. In less than a year 315 people were killed in five accidents. You can find details here.

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 36):
N779PA W/O 4/7/64 Runway overrun JFK.
N761PA Blew #4 shortly aft. t/o SFO. Engine burned through pylon and fell off. Emer. landing Travis AFB.
N708PA W/O 9/17/65 Montserrat.
N724PA Right wing caught fire. FRA 9/10/67
N725PA Runway overrun ORY 6/20/68
N494PA W/O 12/12/68 Crashed into sea near CCS.
N799PA W/O Elmendorf AFB 12/26/68
N477PA Hard landing/overrun BRU 8/1/69
Quoting cedarjet (Reply 34):
Then in the early 70s they crashed five 707s.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: DTWPurserBoy
Posted 2013-07-04 14:54:16 and read 4429 times.

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 15):
World-wide many, many airports had bad or practically no navigational systems or systems so primative as to be practically useless.

Braniff International was always very proud of the fact that prior to introducing passenger service to some South American cities they had to install navigation systems themselves.

Another thing to remember is that in the days of the DC-8 actual aircraft were used for training flights and several airplanes were lost doing engine out practice. One hit our layover hotel in MSY--the Airport Hilton, with a terrible loss of life not only of the crew on the airplane but crew members laying over at the hotel. Now all such dangerous training is done in the simulator.

Personally, I loved working the DC-8. Braniff flew the DC-8-51 mostly for charters but later for some domestic flying and the DC-8-62 was the South American queen because of its high altitude performance. It was also used when our lone 747 was in for scheduled maintenance and was a substitute aircraft. Their 4 original DC-8-51's were acquired from National Airlines and later two former DL aircraft were leased. Ship N813BN was nicknamed "Old Blue" because of its paint color and its notorious reputation for breaking down. I liked the -51 because it had a little 6 seat "lounge" forward of the galley and right outside the cockpit door. We would shamelessly chase passengers out of those seats to block them for a crew lounge. BN would have killed us if they knew that.

The -62's were mostly crewed by the LAD--Latin American Division. The pilots were American but the cabin crew were all from the countries that we flew to. We had a purser--I think from BOG--who had purchased a motorcycle while on layover in New York. He dismantled it and brought it home piece by piece. Finally the day came to carry the gas tank and as gas was quite expensive down there. he made the VERY questionable decision to fill it with gasoline. He put it on the floor of the FC coat closet. Airplane takes off, cabin pressurizes, gas expands and starts to leak out all over the floor. Apparently the smell of gas was terrible so he made yet ANOTHER very bad decision to flush the gas down the forward lavatory. Shortly afterward the captain comes out of the cockpit for a potty break and enters the lav. He came flying out of there and grabbed the purser demanding to know what had happened. They had to set the airplane down short of the destination to have the tank drained. A spark from a flush motor could have blown the airplane apart. And he did not get fired.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: milesrich
Posted 2013-07-04 20:12:50 and read 4259 times.

Delta only lost one DC-8 in over thirty years of operating the Series -11/12, -33, -51, -61 and, -71, the MSY engine out training accident that killed many at the Airport Hilton.

United lost two short body passenger DC-8's, one in the mid air over Staten Island in 1960, and one with a hydraulic problem landing at DEN in 1961. The lost one Super 60 series at PDX when it ran out of fuel, and two -54 Freighters, one near SLC and one at DTW. United operated -11/12, -21, -33, -51/52/54. -61/-71 and -62, over 100 aircraft in all over a 33 year period.

I don't believe Pan Am, Panagra, National, Braniff, or Northwest ever lost a DC-8.

Eastern lost a couple, and the rest of the hull losses were with foreign airlines or 2nd tier carriers like Fine Air.

The airplane had a very good safety record, and was built like a tank.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: ltbewr
Posted 2013-07-04 21:09:34 and read 4202 times.

How would the DC-8 compare with the DC-10/MD-11 series on the basis of design and engineering ? Some posters above had noted some such flaws with the early DC-8's that did lead to crashes.

The DC-10 had at lest 3 significant design flaws that led in part to fatal accidents (Cargo door latching, flap problems with the ORD crash and the total hydraulic failure of the tail of the a/c when the tail engine blew). It's closely related MD-11 has some issues as to its wing design, especially in landing finals, with a few fatalities or write off loss.

Despite the flaws of both the DC-8 and DC-10, they became and until recently major workhorses in the sky, their strong structures meaning an extended life as freighters until fuel costs and costly mx have caused a phase out of them. As to the 707's, they had their flaws too, but had extended lives as AWACS military aircraft.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: milesrich
Posted 2013-07-05 07:51:43 and read 3925 times.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 41):
Despite the flaws of both the DC-8 and DC-10, they became and until recently major workhorses in the sky, their strong structures meaning an extended life as freighters until fuel costs and costly mx have caused a phase out of them. As to the 707's, they had their flaws too, but had extended lives as AWACS military aircraft.

The 707-300B AWACS aircraft were new builds, not converted passenger planes. Almost all remaining passenger 707's were purchased for parts in the early 80's and used to upgrade the USAF fleet of KC-135's. A much better seller than the DC-8 even including the Super 60 series, the DC-8's life was extended because of the Super 60 series which was a more efficient cargo carrier. Additionally, many feel the Douglas ship was stronger in terms of structure and therefore, lasted longer. The same can be said about the DC-9 vs the 737-200.

Topic: RE: Did The Douglas DC-8 Have A High Crash Rate?
Username: SpaceshipDC10
Posted 2013-07-05 09:32:47 and read 3802 times.

Quoting milesrich (Reply 42):
the DC-8's life was extended because of the Super 60 series

And then the DC-8's life was extended a second time when those Super 60 were converted to series 70 with many advantages like lower fuel burn, better performances and, not the least, much quieter take offs and approaches.


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