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Northwest DC-7C?  
User currently offlinetridum From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 49 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8662 times:

Hello all,
I am doing some research on Northwest airlines 14 DC-7C's but still have some questions and hope that someone can help answer them.
1. What were the delivery dates for the DC-7C's? I know that the first delivery was in February 1957. However, it appears that the airline took delivery of an initial 8 followed by a further 6.
2. When did the paint scheme change (if it did) to look like the DC-6's? When delivered the DC-7C's had a large compass aft of the cockpit windows, with "Northwest" under the cockpit windows on the red cheat line. Further the scheme had "DC-7C" in large letters on the tail above the American flag. At some point, presumably in the early-mid 60's (by way of the DC-6) the "Northwest"under the cockpit was removed and the tail number moved from the tail to the aft fuselage.
3. Northwest converted 10 DC-7C's to freighters. When did this occur and what were the tail numbers?

Thank you for the help!

64 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 1786 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8432 times:

Quoting tridum (Thread starter):
1. What were the delivery dates for the DC-7C's? I know that the first delivery was in February 1957. However, it appears that the airline took delivery of an initial 8 followed by a further 6.
Quoting tridum (Thread starter):
3. Northwest converted 10 DC-7C's to freighters. When did this occur and what were the tail numbers?

Yes they took delivery of theirs in two batches. They even took three second-hand aircraft. For more details you can check this address: http://www.geocities.com/aeromoe/fleets/nw.html and also http://www.airlinerlist.com/ where I'm sure you'll find detailed data about delivery and conversion dates.



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User currently onlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1097 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 8128 times:

And they lost three - two very successful ditchings and one crash in the Pacific with no survivors.

User currently offlineozark1 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 461 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 7841 times:

According to a book I have entitled "More Than Meets The Sky", Northwest operated 17 DC-7C's. It's mainly a pictorial history with very few written pages of information, but here are the tail numbers if you need them. The glossary in the back does not mention delivery dates.
NWA No.281-N2281
NWA No.282-N2282
NWA No.283-N2283
NWA No.284-N284
to and including
NWA No.297-N297.
So starting with 284 they reduced the N numbers by one.


User currently offlineSpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 1786 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 7643 times:

Quoting ozark1 (Reply 3):
NWA No.281-N2281
NWA No.282-N2282
NWA No.283-N2283

Those three are the second-hand aircraft acquired in 1958.



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User currently offlinetridum From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6876 times:

Thanks for the info about the tail numbers and conversions. Did Northwest modify the paint scheme like the DC-6's in the 1960s?

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25338 posts, RR: 22
Reply 6, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6861 times:

Quoting tridum (Reply 5):
Did Northwest modify the paint scheme like the DC-6's in the 1960s?

Are you referring to the different livery just behind the cockpit in these NW DC-7C photos (both dated 1960)?


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mel Lawrence
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mel Lawrence



The first photo has the registration on the rear fuselage (like the photo below) and the second photo has it vertically near the top of the tail.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mel Lawrence



[Edited 2013-07-07 16:46:47]

User currently offlinetridum From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6458 times:

Yes the livery behind the cockpit. They removed both the Compass and the "Northwest"under the cockpit and moved the tail number to the fuselage. Northwest apparently kept the "DC-7C" on the tail until the planes were retired in the mid-late 60's? Further, it appears that the markings on the wings were removed as well.

User currently onlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2604 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 6043 times:
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The old livery had 'Northwest' on the nose and vertical numbers on the tail.
Beginning late 1958 some of the aircraft delivered with the Imperial Eagle logo on the tail as well as DC-7C. Not all aircraft were painted in this livery. (All L-188's and two DC-8's delivered with Imperial Eagle logo).
A few aircraft traded-in to (a reluctant) Douglas on new -8's.
10 ended up converted to CF's. When they weren't stranded by mx issues they flew in a mixed configuration as well as MATS charters. Towards the end of service with NW they were freight-only----certainly by '66. There were only a few left and were finally withdrawn from use by '67. The last one was sold off in early '68 I believe.



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1634 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5735 times:

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 8):
Beginning late 1958 some of the aircraft delivered with the Imperial Eagle logo on the tail as well as DC-7C

IIRC, this was carried over to the Electras when they were delivered. I have seen many pictures of the "Regal Eagle" on the tail and always wondered why NW did not keep it.



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User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1634 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5708 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 2):
And they lost three - two very successful ditchings and one crash in the Pacific with no survivors.

I was friends with the NW purser that was on the DC-7 that ditched in Manila Bay. He used to love to tell the story about how after the ditching, the company contacted him not to find out if the cabin crew were OK but they wanted to know the numbers on the liquor kits! True story.



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User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5438 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5685 times:

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 10):
the company contacted him not to find out if the cabin crew were OK but they wanted to know the numbers on the liquor kits!

Under Donald Nyrop, NW was famous for counting every penny twice.



I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlinetridum From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5395 times:

thanks everyone. I've been away so I haven't had a chance to check on the thread. A couple of final questions and I should have the info I need: 1. When did the conversions take place? Looking at the pictures on this site it appears they took place by 1961/62 at the latest. 2. Was the "DC-7C" ever removed from the tail or did it remain there until NW retired the planes?

User currently onlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2604 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5348 times:
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Quoting tridum (Reply 12):
they took place by 1961/62

Yes. Mostly 1961.

The" DC-7C" remained on the tail. It was never changed to "CF" as many other carriers did when theirs were converted.

I miss the 7's terribly. Maybe it was just the era. There was nothing like the sound of those Wrights chugging as a 7 taxied by. Or the earth-pounding sound on take-off. Inside my favorite seat was 4D. A perfect view of the stacks on #3 made for rather spectacular start-ups and especially night take-offs.   



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlinetridum From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4887 times:

ImperialEagle you've been a great help as I attempt to model a NW DC-7C. A couple other questions though: Upon delivery were the wing tips painted red on all aircraft? The only picture on this website of an as delivered NW DC-7C appears as though the wings tips aren't painted. In Gann's book there is a picture of a DC-7C in flight, but I can't tell if the tips are painted. It would appear as though they are not.
Finally, do you know what planes were delivered with the Imperial Eagle logo on them?
Thanks again!


User currently onlinesparky35805 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 283 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4668 times:
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I have never seen a photo of a Northwest aircraft other than an Electra with the Eagle on the tail.Even the two DC-8s delivered in the old livery did not have it.

User currently onlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2604 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4543 times:
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I believe all delivered with painted wing-tips. The fabric ailerons not painted. Flag as well under starboard wing and on top of port wing right next to red area. I only recall about a half-dozen with the Imperial Eagle----the last batch delivered I think.

The first two -8's had the Imperial Eagle on them, no red stripe under the cockpit windows, and the dark blue (almost black) cheat line was still ABOVE the windows. The last three were painted in the up-dated livery with the (more navy blue in color) cheat line running through the windows, red stripe under the cockpit windows and large "DC-8C" lettering on the tail as well as a small flag.



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently onlinesparky35805 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 283 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 4355 times:
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I would love to see a photo of a 7C or DC-8 with the eagle on the tail.I have photos of several 7Cs including one of the last delivered.I also have photos of DC-8s ship 801 and 802 and both have the red stripe on the nose and no eagle on the tail,just a flag.I do have an in service photo of Electra N121US without the red stripe,but also have a later photo in which it has the red stripe.

User currently offlineHighflier92660 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 676 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4240 times:

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 16):
The fabric ailerons were not painted.

Perhaps a question for the tech forum but I've always wondered why Douglas and Lockheed had fabric ailerons and rudders on their piston airliners all the way up to the DC-7C and 1649A Starliner? Did they use ceconite for those control surfaces?

I don't recognize any servo-tabs in the photos (see: inboard aileron in a Boeing 707.) I'm assuming the DC-7C didn't have a 3,000 psi Skydrol hydraulic system for boosted controls so perhaps the fabric was better back in the day of bell cranks and counter-weights?


User currently onlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1097 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4221 times:

I can answer that for you, old airplanes are my specialty!

Fabric was used because it was easier to counter-balance because of weight. Later post war piston designs like the Convairs had all-metal surfaces Cotton was used initially, Ceconite and other synthetics didn't come along until the early 1960s.

Piston aircraft used ML-5606 mineral based hydraulic fluid (the red stuff) instead of Skydrol. You are correct, none of the Douglas four-engine transports had hydraulically-boosted flight controls. IIRC the DC-6/7 had a semi-servo tab system similar to the DC-8 elevator system; control wheel movement initially moved the control surface then the servo tab started to assist.


User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6835 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4166 times:

Quoting Highflier92660 (Reply 18):
I don't recognize any servo-tabs in the photos

Flight says they have "aerodynamic tabs"

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1956/1956%20-%200907.html


User currently offlinetridum From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4054 times:

I have one other question (at the moment) concerning the exterior appearance of NW DC-7C's. The crown of the planes is a gloss white, with a bare metal underbody. However, looking at a decal sheet of DC-6's it appears that the area around the tail skid was white. Is this true of the DC-7C's and if so did they retain that for their entire career?

There is one other general question about NW I have: It appears that NW was 'Northwest Orient" in the 50's, then became "Northwest" in the 60s, then "Northwest Orient" again in the 70s and finally settling on "Northwest" until their takeover by Delta. Why did the airline seemingly change its name back and forth or was the pre-60's "Northwest Orient" an unofficial recognition?

[Edited 2013-07-16 22:28:06]

User currently onlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2604 posts, RR: 22
Reply 22, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3992 times:
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Quoting tridum (Reply 21):
Is this true of the DC-7C's

No. Underside should be plain aluminum.

Quoting tridum (Reply 21):
Why did the airline seemingly change its name

Competition. the term "Northwest Orient" was an unofficial term used fifties, sixties and seventies. NW was key in the pipeline for equipment and personal in the Asian theater during WWII. This also included outstanding service in Alaska for the military. So NW was compensated with route awards to Japan and other Pacific destinations. It was NW who helped to re-establish a Japanese air line system after the war. (With Martins  Wow! and DC-4's).

PA did not take this "invasion" into it's long-standing "turf" lightly. Competition was furious. Equipment and service standards were the "ammunition" of the day.NW pulled off what was then a pretty amazing feat (considering they had come within a whisker of bankruptcy) and matched PA's equipment standards (actually scared PA's mule with the 1049G's) but, PA already was a household name in the minds of those Americans lucky enough to travel in those days. NW had to have a gimmick to get their name up on the "radar". So the Sales Dept. came up with the Northwest ORIENT Airlines lingo. There was a catchy little jingle on the radio and on television. Some may recall the sounding of the gong-----"Northwest Orient---"GONG"---Airlines". It worked. It made what had for years sound like a "regional" U.S. carrier into an "International" carrier in the minds of the traveling public. It didn't hurt the Hawaiian service either.

Once NW began to serve Europe and Great Britain the "Orient" moniker was quietly dropped, however years of using it had the desired effect and in the minds of experienced travelers NW was an "International" carrier.



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1634 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3980 times:

Quoting sparky35805 (Reply 17):
.I do have an in service photo of Electra N121US without the red stripe,but also have a later photo in which it has the red stripe.

I was not aware that there had been a change. Unfortunately, N121US was only in service for a couple of months when it suffered structural failure over Tell City with the loss of everyone on board. Details of this accident can be found in Robert Serling's excellent (but hard to find) book called "The Electra Story."



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User currently offlinetridum From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 2 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3892 times:

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 22):
Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 22):
Competition. the term "Northwest Orient" was an unofficial term used fifties, sixties and seventies. NW was key in the pipeline for equipment and personal in the Asian theater during WWII. This also included outstanding service in Alaska for the military. So NW was compensated with route awards to Japan and other Pacific destinations. It was NW who helped to re-establish a Japanese air line system after the war. (With Martins Wow! and DC-4's).

PA did not take this "invasion" into it's long-standing "turf" lightly. Competition was furious. Equipment and service standards were the "ammunition" of the day.NW pulled off what was then a pretty amazing feat (considering they had come within a whisker of bankruptcy) and matched PA's equipment standards (actually scared PA's mule with the 1049G's) but, PA already was a household name in the minds of those Americans lucky enough to travel in those days. NW had to have a gimmick to get their name up on the "radar". So the Sales Dept. came up with the Northwest ORIENT Airlines lingo. There was a catchy little jingle on the radio and on television. Some may recall the sounding of the gong-----"Northwest Orient---"GONG"---Airlines". It worked. It made what had for years sound like a "regional" U.S. carrier into an "International" carrier in the minds of the traveling public. It didn't hurt the Hawaiian service either.

Once NW began to serve Europe and Great Britain the "Orient" moniker was quietly dropped, however years of using it had the desired effect and in the minds of experienced travelers NW was an "International" carrier.

PA seemed to have an issue with competition in general. Look at the fight between Howard Hughes of TWA and Juan Trippe directly after WW2 when Hughes wanted to expand TWA to Europe.
Did PA fight other airlines similarly? UA only started flying from San Francisco to Hawaii after the war if I'm not mistaken. Also there was Chicago and Southern (later Delta) flying from points inside the US to the Caribbean, CO to South America and I thought Braniff flew international routes in the 50s as well. All of these routes were in direct competition to PA.


25 Tango-Bravo : The trapezoid-shaped painted area around the tail skid to which you presumably refer, below the port side horizontal stabilizer, is actually light gr
26 MasseyBrown : Juan Trippe felt Pan Am was the US's "chosen instrument", essentially an arm of the State Department. It had functioned that way during WWII, being a
27 maxpower1954 : There also was a certain amount of entitlement about Juan Trippe and Pan American. Since they had taken the financial and technical risks pioneering a
28 DTWPurserBoy : The fact that he had substantial enemies in high places in the federal government did not help, either, which is why he brought Najeeb Halaby onboard
29 maxpower1954 : Yes, PurserBoy "Skygods" is a terrific book, I enjoyed it more than even the late Robert Serling's airline histories.
30 Post contains links Highflier92660 : It never fails to impress me as to the recollection of some Anetters. Even those of you who were born in the early to mid-fifties must have been "fly
31 Tango-Bravo : In the immediate post-WW2 years, it seems that President Truman wasn't merely 'open' to considering the idea of ending Pan Am's monopoly in their mai
32 tridum : This would explain why PA did not fly to domestic cities, save Chicago and (maybe?) Detroit.
33 Viscount724 : I don't think any of Braniff's nonstop U.S.-South America routes were also operated by Pan Am. Braniff did initially compete directly with Panagra, t
34 Tango-Bravo : Braniff served mainly Colombia and the west coast of South America, even after acquiring Panagra. Pan Am's S.A. network was focused on Caracas, Brazi
35 DTWPurserBoy : They were originating and terminating points for international flights only--mostly from LHR. Pan Am never had any domestic travel until they acquire
36 airtechy : Did the NW DC-7's have the range for SEA to HND non-stop or did they have to stop in ANC? My first commercial flight was on a DL DC-7 from TYS to ATL
37 Tango-Bravo : In theory...maybe eastbound, contingent upon highly favorable conditions aloft. In 'the real world'...no. Based on my NW timetables from 1957 to 1960
38 tridum : I was doing a search on ebay of "Northwest DC-7C" and came across a postcard of what appears to be tail N291 without the "DC-7C" on the tail. Based o
39 WA707atMSP : The best way to describe PA's route network is that Chicago and Detroit were the only "inland" cities they flew to on the US Mainland prior to deregu
40 type-rated : Heck, I remember those NW Orient TV commercials embedded in the 10pm news in Chicago. They were on channel 2, and they would usually alternate them w
41 timz : More likely Shemya? PA transcons started 1967 or '68.
42 timz : Timetables always said Northwest Orient, didn't they?
43 Tango-Bravo : Thank you for noting...NW's Aleutian refueling/tech stop was indeed at Shemya rather than Attu. The total mileage of the routing SEA-SYA-TYO is also
44 superjeff : Boy does that sound like Northwest! Don Nyrop was know to be somewhat of a carmudgeon. The rumour I had heard was when NW built a new corporate headq
45 superjeff : Trippe was a rough competitor. But note that before the war, PA was probably the only carrier (besides BOAC/Imperial Airways) that had equipment capa
46 Viscount724 : DL's only nonstop Caribbean service (to SJU) as late as December 1979 was from MSY and MIA. It doesn't look like they obtained rights to move the MSY
47 ImperialEagle : Hahaha. It went something like "top off the oil and check the gasoline". You might just have the fuel to make it but on a -7 you could find out fast
48 Post contains images NWAROOSTER : Northwest Airlines would fly a PanAm 707 between MSP and DTW, both ways in the early 1970s, and PanAm would fly the aircraft to Europe and back. It w
49 Post contains links maxpower1954 : Delta did fly non-stop LAX-SJU in the early 1970s. I think it only lasted a few years. http://www.departedflights.com/DL030173.html
50 brons2 : And I thought people only talked about old cars like that! Great stuff thanks for sharing!
51 DTWPurserBoy : This is very true. Braniff International was the same--flights that originated in South or Central America stopped in MIA then continued on to IAD or
52 Tango-Bravo : In sorting through my Northwest timetables and brochures, came across a multi-page detailed system route map dated c. 1955 (one year prior to arrival
53 cubastar : Absolutely! Those Wright 3350's leaked like a sieve. During a walk-around, most tried not to walk directly under an engine. Of course, if the wind wa
54 BoeingGuy : Yes, it was a DC-8 routed SFO-LAX-SJU. What am I missing? PA wasn't allowed to carry local traffic in the CONUS until deregulation. Unless you are re
55 Post contains links Viscount724 : No, they were not permitted to carry local traffic JFK-California until the late 1970s. They could only carry traffic originating at or continuing to
56 BoeingGuy : Yeah, I mistyped. I meant to say " They wouldn't have been allowed to carry local traffic from JFK-California even in 1969." I forgot the "n't" part
57 ImperialEagle : Since you drew my attention to it-----i found a photo taken at DTW dated 1965 and there is a -7 in the background WITHOUT the "DC-7C" lettering on th
58 tridum : As I look at this scheme, it would seem that NW was trying to bring all of their planes together in a common scheme. The modified scheme is similar t
59 Viscount724 : They preferred to standardize on the 707, and their 707-320B/Cs were more capable than the early model non-turbofan DC-8-32s. NW had ordered 5 DC-8-5
60 redtailsforever : Douglas had promised Donald Nyrop the DC-8 could do SEA-TYO nonstop. Similar to the MD11 with AA in the 90's, they were short on range. You don't mes
61 TW870 : Interestingly, ORY-SFO is 686 nautical miles further than SEA-TYO. TWA operated once a week non-stops on both ORY-SFO and LHR-LAX in both directions
62 ImperialEagle : Yes and also traded speed------which was a MAJOR sales issue back in the day. Yes. There was much more to things than meet the eye as well. The loss
63 TW870 : Yeah I've read that Nyrop was extremely cantankerous during the Electra crisis, and in fact more so than the Braniff folks who had also lost an Elect
64 smilinjack : As a side note, I flew the DC-7C as F/O in 1966/67 for Zantop Air Transport. We got them from PanAm, and flew them from the west coast to Nam. Good ai
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