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The Demise Of The DC-8 Series 60  
User currently offlinerolypolyman From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 159 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5846 times:

It's always surprised me that orders for the DC-8-60 series slacked off during the late 1960s and that MDC destroyed the jigs in 1972.

Speaking strictly in terms of mixed capacity, which is what mainline used back in the day, you had the 707-320B. It carried 141. Then there was the DC-8-61/63 which carried about 205. The next step up was the DC-10 and L-1011, and those carried 260. Then there was the 747 with 380. In summary, the DC-8-60 filled the 175-230 pax niche AND had unmatched range.

Yet what came 6 years after the DC-8-60 jigs were destroyed? The 767, with almost identical passenger capacity, and it quickly became a mainstay of the skies. Wikipedia starts almost immediately by saying it replaced the 707, but a 220 pax plane does not "replace" a 140 pax plane. It presumably replaced the DC-8-60. Which leaves the question of why the airlines ran away from that 200 pax "sweet spot" in 1970 yet got interested enough in it to launch the 767. Is it safe to say that airlines airlines liked the DC-8-60 but their cash was all tied up in 747s and DC-10s, and ONLY when the books started showing a decent cash flow (circa 1980) there was no DC-8-60 anymore, so they opted for the 767? Is it the expense of the 747s and DC-10s that killed off the -60?

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinecrownvic From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1897 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5696 times:

I would say the fuel crisis in the early 1970's was the start of the demise of the first generation 4-engine jets. No matter how you looked at it, 4 JT3D's "turning" were already scaring airlines off and airlines like Eastern started shedding them off. Additionally, many airlines began to look at the DC-8 and 707 as early technology and were opting for wide-body types that were the "in thing" at the time. You have to remember, the early wide-body types were being promoted with bars, lounges, 8 across coach seating and other amenities that made the 4 engine first generation jets look very obsolete. In those days, passengers actually chose their flights where airplane types actually influenced their decision what airline they were going to fly on. Can you imagine that? That is why nearly everyone ordered the early 747-100's, only to start shedding them when the economics of the DC-10 and L-1011 were a better choice for domestic runs. Finally, you have to also remember, the cost to operate a DC-10/L-1011 vs a DC-8 in those days, was not that big a difference compared to what it costs to fly a small a/c vs. a large a/c today. In those days, it made more sense to run DC-10's & L-1011's between nearly every U.S. city and Chicago, where today, a 50-120 seat dominates. As fuel costs continued to climb through the 70's, the DC-8, 707 and CV-880/990 were doomed for passenger service. Don't quote me, but in the 1960's, Jet A was probably .20-.40 cents/gal. By the 1970's I am sure these costs wre 3-4 fold. The heavy DC-8 airframe although quite robust, was starting to suck too much fuel down.

User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1657 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5661 times:

In terms of "unmatched range", according to the data on the Airliners.net pages on both airliners, the 707-320B had substantially greater range than the DC8-61 or 63.

User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3805 posts, RR: 29
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5630 times:

Quoting rolypolyman (Thread starter):
The 767, with almost identical passenger capacity, and it quickly became a mainstay of the skies. Wikipedia starts almost immediately by saying it replaced the 707, but a 220 pax plane does not "replace" a 140 pax plane. It presumably replaced the DC-8-60.

In a sense, the 767 replaced both the 707 and DC-8-60... a 200-220 pax plane (767) was a suitable replacement for a 140 pax plane, given traffic growth in many of the longhaul markets once served by 707s ...and the 200-pax DC-8-60 was also replaced by the 200-220 pax 767 because the latter could do the same job as a "Super-8" in terms of seat-miles offered, at considerably lower operating cost. The operating cost advantage of a 767 over a 707 was even greater... Plus, airlines would have been required to invest significant million$ to bring their relatively inefficient 707s and DC-8s into compliance with stricter noise restrictions then being implemented. Also, by the time the 767 made its debut, many of the markets served by 140-pax 707s could also be handled, at lower cost, by the 1,000+ 140-150 pax 727-200s then in service with the world's airlines.

So it actually did make sense for airlines to replace both 707s and DC-8-60s with 767s...and all the more so after the 767 was cleared for ETOPS.


User currently offlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2529 posts, RR: 22
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5393 times:
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Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 3):
Also, by the time the 767 made its debut, many of the markets served by 140-pax 707s could also be handled, at lower cost, by the 1,000+ 140-150 pax 727-200s then in service with the world's airlines.

So it actually did make sense for airlines to replace both 707s and DC-8-60s with 767s...and all the more so after the 767 was cleared for ETOPS.

That is exactly right. Also a 762 full of pax did still have some room for freight down below and the aircraft proved to be very versatile.
Then there was the difference in the level of technology. The -8 was still fifties technology no matter how they tried to gussie it up. No matter, by 1970 the mind-set within aviation circles in the U.S. was to move away from the first generation jetliners and to take advantage of the more technologically advanced types.

Quoting crownvic (Reply 1):
You have to remember, the early wide-body types were being promoted with bars, lounges, 8 across coach seating and other amenities that made the 4 engine first generation jets look very obsolete. In those days, passengers actually chose their flights where airplane types actually influenced their decision what airline they were going to fly on. Can you imagine that? That is why nearly everyone ordered the early 747-100's, only to start shedding them when the economics of the DC-10 and L-1011 were a better choice for domestic runs.

Exactly right. Such was the mind-set in those days. Everyone wanted to fly on the most advanced and modern types. Why would I want to board a DL -8 when I could fly on a 741 instead? Plenty of room to move around too----they were rarely full in those days. ATL to DFW and on to LAX -----you could wander around and visit with the crew----and still have time for a great Royal Service meal. Those were the days!



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlineskymiler From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 528 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5355 times:

Quoting crownvic (Reply 1):
In those days, passengers actually chose their flights where airplane types actually influenced their decision what airline they were going to fly on. Can you imagine that?



Not only can I imagine that -- I did it!

A lot of sales and marketing revolved around enticing passengers to choose based on amenities -- and this was in coach!

I often had to fly CVG -> LAX or SFO in the early/mid 70's so the trick was to use TWA through STL.

On the CVG -> STL leg (727-200) they would serve a hot meal in coach (or, rather, throw a tray at you and pick it up 2 minutes later -- NO disrespect to the F/A's who had to run for their lives on that short segment) and then we would get on an L10 in STL and immediately jump into the mid-plane lounge and relax an drink our way west. Even saw the Grand Canyon from the cockpit of an L10 one day!

Then DL started 747 service between ATL and SFO and it had the upstairs lounge, which was even better! I still have notes and 2 lady F/A's name and phone numbers from such a trip in 1974!

And the flights were rarely full. I remember playing "ring toss" in an aisle using computer tape "scratch rings" (a plastic hoop about 3 " in diameter) and beer tins!

Sigh -- those were the days!



I love to fly, and it shows!
User currently offlineMaersk737 From Denmark, joined Feb 2004, 702 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5350 times:

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 4):
ATL to DFW and on to LAX -----you could wander around and visit with the crew----and still have time for a great Royal Service meal. Those were the days!



Yes, and with a Royal price tag too  

Cheers

Peter



I'm not proud to be a Viking, just thankfull
User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13073 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5293 times:

I would also add the 757 in part replaced the DC-8 & 707's, especially as longer range versions were developed.

User currently offlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1053 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 5238 times:

I've heard it said that the DC-8 Sixty series would have had a better shot if it had been offered a couple of years earlier than it was. As things transpired, its intro coincided with the announcement of the L1011/DC-10, and was just under 3 years before the 747 was introduced. These airframes were seen as "bringing sexy back" to air travel at a time when passenger comfort and the allure of service still ruled.

User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2012 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5109 times:

If the DC8 had been kept in low key production, could it have then been revised with twin PW2000s/RB211-535s to create a 757 rival? Douglas suffered badly from the gap between the largest DC9/MD80 and DC10/MD11 in their range, and this would have been a lot cheaper than the various proposals they made and never went ahead with.


it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4447 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4942 times:

Quoting JohnJ (Reply 2):
In terms of "unmatched range", according to the data on the Airliners.net pages on both airliners, the 707-320B had substantially greater range than the DC8-61 or 63.

Yes... but don't forget the long-range -62 model.


User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1657 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4707 times:

Quoting N62NA (Reply 10):
Yes... but don't forget the long-range -62 model.

I didn't mention this as the OP's post seems slanted toward the DC-8-61/-63 variants. The DC-8-62 is much more comparable both in seating capacity and range to the 707-320B, whereas the -61/-63 have greater seating capacity at a significant cost to the range.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6875 posts, RR: 46
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4663 times:

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 9):
If the DC8 had been kept in low key production, could it have then been revised with twin PW2000s/RB211-535s to create a 757 rival? Douglas suffered badly from the gap between the largest DC9/MD80 and DC10/MD11 in their range, and this would have been a lot cheaper than the various proposals they made and never went ahead with.

Not likely. The wing is designed for 4 engines, and would have to be completely redesigned to accommodate 2. The structure would be very different. The wing would probably have to undergo all the same certification tests as a new aircraft, including breaking it. Yes, the fuselage could be used, but the cost would probably have been much more than MD was willing to do at that point. Once the DC-10 was designed they never did do a completely new wing again.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5385 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4633 times:

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 9):
If the DC8 had been kept in low key production, could it have then been revised with twin PW2000s/RB211-535s to create a 757 rival?

The first-generation jets are much heavier, with unnecessarily large wings, compared to later jets. Douglas would have had to reengineer the -8 to the extent that it would essentially have been building a 757 competitor from the ground up.


User currently offlinemilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1995 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4560 times:

[quote=Maersk737,reply=6]Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 4):
ATL to DFW and on to LAX -----you could wander around and visit with the crew----and still have time for a great Royal Service meal. Those were the days!



Yes, and with a Royal price tag too

Cheers

Peter


Sorry Peter, but the difference between Y and F on Delta in the post Yom Kippur War mid 70's from ATL to the West Coast was only about $50.00. In the late 60's, early 70's, before the first Arab Oil price shock, the difference between F and Y JFK-LAX was only $15.00.

I flew DL several times between SFO/LAX and ATL in F during the 1973-1976 era, on 747's and DC-8-51's.
I remember flying to SFO in late November of 1973 from ORD on a UA 747 in F because Y was full and the difference was about $40.00, not much more than the price of the meal and booze they served in F class. UA tossed the salad at your seat in a real salad bowl, had a choice of about four entrees and the Filet Mignon was restaurant quality, and their was an open bar upstairs in the lounge.


User currently offlineTan Flyr From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1906 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4471 times:

Hold On....no one mentioned the re-engining of teh series 61 and 63's with CFM-56 engines. In the US UAL and Delta both did this and those DC-8 frames went on to fly for them forat least 10-12 years, maybe in a few cases longer before the 757 replaced them in large numbers in both those carriers fleets.

The re-engine program allowed the DC8 to meet new noise requirements as well as use about 20-25% less fuel than the original Pratts. Obviously the lower fuel consumpion meant greater range when and where needed, but overall significant lower CASM for a narrowbody until the 757's arrived inn numbers.

You need to remember the industry was just starting to think of how to act in a deregulated environment. New entrants were beating the tar of the legacy carriers, then the Iranian Crisin in 79 and subsequent dramatic rise in fuel cost hurt more. Carriers were bleeding cash...That is why a lot of 757's ordered early were cancelled or deferred until later..no cash, interest rates close to 20% by early 1980 were kiilling business.

Those 8's at UA & DL were paid for, and now made money for those carriers. In the early 1980's President Reagan signed into law the domestic Oil price deregualton act.and by 1986 oil that was 35-40 a BBL in 1980 was 8-10 in 1986 as domestic production increased. This lower cost gave even more longevity to the DC-8's as they were needed as teh economy did well for all carriers.

Bottoim line..my point was the CFM programm started by Summa Corp ( ??) to re-engine those frames was a significant development. Those 8's retired by the early-mid 90's then went on as cargo, many with UPS and just retired 2 years ago or so. So for many of those frames a service life of close to 40-44 years. NOT BAD!!!!


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25117 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3844 times:

McDonnell Douglas could have sold more DC-8s but stopped production as they were concerned that continued DC-8 availability would cannibalize DC-10 sales. Also have to keep in mind that when the DC-10 went into service they had about the same number of seats as many DC-8-61/63s as Y class was only 8-abreast (2-4-2) on early DC-10s.

In hindsight It was probaby a wise decision to drop DC-8 production in 1972 when they did as the oil crisis of 1973 when oil prices tripled or quadrupled almost overnight would have killed further DC-8 sales then anyway.


User currently offlinefx1816 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1400 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks ago) and read 3771 times:

Quoting Tan Flyr (Reply 15):
Bottoim line..my point was the CFM programm started by Summa Corp ( ??) to re-engine those frames was a significant development. Those 8's retired by the early-mid 90's then went on as cargo, many with UPS and just retired 2 years ago or so. So for many of those frames a service life of close to 40-44 years. NOT BAD!!!!

Camma corp I believe. The DL DC8's were retired by 1988, going to UPS. The UA DC8's were retired by 1991. None of the UA DC8s went to UPS as they had a unique feature of having the A and C belly doors underneath the aircraft instead of on the right side. I never really liked working any of the old UA DC8s when they were with BAX (ATI), some with Emery and Florida West/Fast Air.

FX1816


User currently offlineMaersk737 From Denmark, joined Feb 2004, 702 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3684 times:

Quoting milesrich (Reply 14):



Thank you... I assumed not just wrong, but far out  

Peter



I'm not proud to be a Viking, just thankfull
User currently offlineTan Flyr From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1906 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3483 times:

Quoting fx1816 (Reply 17):
Camma corp I believe. The DL DC8's were retired by 1988, going to UPS. The UA DC8's were retired by 1991. None of the UA DC8s went to UPS as they had a unique feature of having the A and C belly doors underneath the aircraft instead of on the right side. I never really liked working any of the old UA DC8s when they were with BAX (ATI), some with Emery and Florida West/Fast Air.

Thanks for helping my memory..so, help me out someone,,,where did the balance of the UPS DC8's come from? I just do not remember right now.

So some of those ex UA frames could be working here and there in Latin America/ or whereever. Anyone know, just curious.


User currently offlinefx1816 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1400 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3366 times:

Quoting Tan Flyr (Reply 19):
Thanks for helping my memory..so, help me out someone,,,where did the balance of the UPS DC8's come from? I just do not remember right now.

Delta, I believe that FedEx sold the ex Tigers DC8's to UPS, some came from Transamerica.

FX1816


User currently offlinemilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1995 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3171 times:

When

Quoting crownvic (Reply 1):
I would say the fuel crisis in the early 1970's was the start of the demise of the first generation 4-engine jets. No matter how you looked at it, 4 JT3D's "turning" were already scaring airlines off and airlines like Eastern started shedding them off. Additionally, many airlines began to look at the DC-8 and 707 as early technology and were opting for wide-body types that were the "in thing" at the time.

Douglas shut down the DC-8 line and destroyed the tooling a year before the first Arab oil price shock in 1973. At the time, it was felt that there just was enough demand for the airplane to continue production. The DC-10 and L-1011 carried a similar amount of people and were preferred because they were twin aisle wide body airplanes. In those days, there were only 8 seats across in Y class in the Tristar and the DC-10, and the 747 was only 9 across (3-4-2). The Super DC-8, while superior to the 707, was still a narrow body aircraft, and no sales of any significant numbers were ever made to airlines that had not previously operated the regular body DC-8. Since the 707 outsold the DC-8-10/20/30/40/50 at close to a 3-1 ration, there just weren't that many carriers out there to buy numerous stretch 8's; however, the Super Sixty Series made the DC-8 program, if not profitable, close to a break even venture. In the USA, UA, DL, EA, NA, PG, and TC ordered the original Eight and stuck with it, and every one of those carriers ordered the Super Sixty Series in some quantity, although Trans Caribbean and National only only took two -61's each. (Panagra was purchased by Braniff which went on to takeover PG's -62 orders and order more, replacing the 707 in favor of the DC-8, the only original 707 delivery customer to do so. On the other hand, NW dumped the DC-8 in favor of the 707-320B/C.


User currently offlineHBGDS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2855 times:

Might I venture a small speculation? I'd welcome clarification, of course. As a couple of posters note, it's the first generation of jets, so in a way, people do not yet fully grasp the economics of jet transport. In addition, there is a projection of a new doubling of pax in planes (the widebody). That fails to materialize (it comes later), but is that not a factor in seeing Douglas can the -8? To sell more 10s? What about pre-deregulation pressures? There were lots of charter services making noise and demanding routes. That they failed for the most part still means that airlines may have looked to replace some capacity? Again, here, I have no example. 'Just wondering, since the end of the line is pre-oil crash. One last point: even pre-oil, the US is in deep economic trouble in 72, with Vietnam sucking the budget dry, and Nixon having to abandon the gold standard, the SST, the moon, etc... That must have had an impact on MCD.

As for having to wait till the 767 to replace the 8s and the 707s, I think you have a point, but it depends on the airline involved. Swissair was delighted with the 8, and the -62 series continued in service on the "long and narrow" routes, like Geneva-Beijing via umpteen places. It was not replaced with DC-10s till later. And it is only when they got the Airbus 310 (i.e. 767 "twin") that the last DC-8 went out.


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