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Why Did National And Eastern Retire DC-8s By 1974  
User currently offlinedoulasc From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 545 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9006 times:

Eastern and National Airlines retired their DC-8 fleet by 1974 including their newer stretch DC-8s,National retired their two DC-8-61s in 1975,yet Delta and United kept their DC-8s til the mid 1980s with their stretch DC-8s leaving their fleet before 1990. Why did Eastern and National retire theirs so early? Did the 1973 fuel crisis have something to do with it?

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13220 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9001 times:

I'd imagine the huge rises in the oil price, following the 1973 Yom Kippur war had something to do with it.
All of a sudden, that type of aircraft became much more expensive to fuel, adding to the general economic malaise caused in the West.


User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8969 times:

Also they were acquiring the DC10/L1011 at the time replacing the DC-8 on the more popular (and crowded) routes.

User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20685 posts, RR: 62
Reply 3, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8953 times:

I don't believe that Eastern or National ever converted their fleets to the Super Seventies like Delta and United did.


International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineSpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 1825 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8937 times:

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
Did the 1973 fuel crisis have something to do with it?

Certainly. Have a look at National's DC-8 fleet. They had -20, -30, -50 & -61. Basically only the -61s remained after 1973. It was also a way to simplify the fleet around the B727, the DC-10 and the B747 for a while.

DOUGLAS DC-8

N108RD F-54 45663/189 07/69 07/73 LF RD
N109RD F-54 45674/201 11/69 04/74 LF RD
N276C 51 45641/165 05/62 /72
N278C 51 45643/173 10/62 12/73 CAROLYN
N4901C 31 45274/52 10/62 12/73 CONSTANCE
N6571C 21 45391/38 02/60 06/73 CATHLEEN
N6572C 21 45392/45 03/60 05/73 SALLY
N6573C 21 45393/116 12/60 08/74 DEBORAH
N6574C 21 45394 CANX; NOT BUILT
N6575C 21 45395 CANX; NOT BUILT
N6576C 21 45396 CANX; NOT BUILT
N7181C 32 45602/60 N801US 09/63 12/72
N7182C 32 45603/74 N802US 10/63 06/73 BEVERLY
N7183C 32 45605/95 N804US 10/63 05/74 JOANNE
N7184C 32 45606/115 N805US 07/64 09/72 ROSEMARY
N774C 51 45634/161 02/62 10/73 MARY M
N779C 51 45644/174 11/62 08/73 MARILYN
N8008D 51 45252/1 06/61 05/62 LF DOUGLAS
N875C 51 45635/163 04/62 09/72
N877C 51 45642/172 09/62 06/73 BETTY S
N45090 61 45908/296 08/67 05/75 CATHERINE
N45091 61 45981/352 04/68 05/75 CHRISTINE


Source: Aeromoe


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25473 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8613 times:

[quote=SpaceshipDC10,reply=4]Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):Did the 1973 fuel crisis have something to do with it?

Yes, the OPEC embargo in the early 70s resulted in fuel prices roughly tripling, making older 707s and DC-8s uneconomic, apart from the few passenger operators (mainly UA and DL) with signifcant 60-series fleets which were the only DC-8 models certified for the CFM56 conversion program.

[Edited 2013-07-14 14:08:45]

[Edited 2013-07-14 14:09:22]

User currently offlineB757forever From United States of America, joined May 2010, 402 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8538 times:

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
Delta and United kept their DC-8s til the mid 1980s with their stretch DC-8s leaving their fleet before 1990.

I believe DL was the last to retire them. IIRC, the last DL DC-8 retired May 1989.


User currently offlineatlengineer From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8514 times:

Quoting B757forever (Reply 6):
I believe DL was the last to retire them. IIRC, the last DL DC-8 retired May 1989.

And I think most were converted to freighter and went to UPS which retired them in 2009.

ATLengineer


User currently offlineSpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 1825 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8356 times:

Quoting B757forever (Reply 6):
I believe DL was the last to retire them.

No. United was the last one on October 31, 1991. United DC-8's (by Ual777contrail Jan 21 2003 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 5):
Yes, the OPEC embargo in the early 70s resulted in fuel prices roughly tripling, making older 707s and DC-8s uneconomic

TW grounded its gas guzzler CV880 at that time.


User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3805 posts, RR: 29
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7424 times:

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
Eastern and National Airlines retired their DC-8 fleet by 1974 including their newer stretch DC-8s,National retired their two DC-8-61s in 1975... Why did Eastern and National retire theirs so early?

By the time oil prices spiked in late 1973, only 5 standard/'short' DC-8s (of 16 in their fleet as of mid-1972) remained in service with NA. By that time EA had disposed of all their 'short' DC-8s and retained only 6 of their original 23 'stretch' DC-8-61/-63PFs. It would seem therefore, that NA's and EA's 'early' retirement of their DC-8s was due mainly if not entirely to their being replaced by DC-10s and L-1011s and probably even more so by 727-200 Advanced (longer range, higher payload than earlier versions of the 727-200) deliveries.

EA retired/sold the last of their 'Stretch' Eights (a pair of -63PFs) in February 1974. In EA's case especially, there were other factors favorable to 'early' retirement of their 'long' DC-8s. Before and after oil prices spiked in 1973 (and several years beyond) there was a very strong seller's market for used DC-8-61/-63s. EA's -63PFs were especially desirable (and in very limited supply) inasmuch as they had been designed and built to be converted to freighters at minimal cost and downtime. IIRC EA made a sizeable profit on the sale of their -63PFs. Also, EA had purchased their DC-8-63PFs in anticipation of South Pacific route awards...that went instead to AA (and/or CO?), which made the type essentially redundant to EA's fleet requirements throughout their brief stay at EA.

[Edited 2013-07-14 21:31:09]

User currently offlinehOmSAr From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 1183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 7228 times:

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 9):
EA retired/sold the last of their 'Stretch' Eights (a pair of -63PFs) in February 1974. In EA's case especially, there were other factors favorable to 'early' retirement of their 'long' DC-8s. Before and after oil prices spiked in 1973 (and several years beyond) there was a very strong seller's market for used DC-8-61/-63s. EA's -63PFs were especially desirable (and in very limited supply) inasmuch as they had been designed and built to be converted to freighters at minimal cost and downtime. IIRC EA made a sizeable profit on the sale of their -63PFs. Also, EA had purchased their DC-8-63PFs in anticipation of South Pacific route awards...that went instead to AA (and/or CO?), which made the type essentially redundant to EA's fleet requirements throughout their brief stay at EA.

So, in a way, there are some similarities to the DC-8-60 series and the MD-11, in that passenger operators fairly quickly found better alternatives, but freight carriers really could make some good use of them.



I was raised by a cup of coffee.
User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10488 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 6974 times:

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 8):

TW grounded its gas guzzler CV880 at that time.

As did DL.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2617 posts, RR: 23
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5988 times:
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Tango Bravo pretty much summed it up. Just prior to the fuel embargo there was a pretty strong market for the earlier pure-jet models as well. Once the embargo hit the airlines couldn't wait to retire the first generation guzzlers and standardize on the new wide-bodies. AA hung on with the 707's though!


"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlineairzim From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2001, 1210 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5816 times:

I would also suspect that UA needed at least three engine airplanes to serve Hawaii since ETOPS was not available then. Eastern nor national served routes that required that kind of overwater capability. Just a guess

User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2231 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 5084 times:

Quoting airzim (Reply 13):
Eastern nor national served routes that required that kind of overwater capability. Just a guess

National's only route at the time of their DC-8 retirement that required 3 / 4 engined equipment was MIA-LHR, which was served initially with leased DC-8-54s, and later with 747s and DC-10-30s. NA subsequently added more routes to Europe, which were served by DC-10-30s, and MIA-SJU, which was served by DC-10-10s and possibly 727s.

Eastern, however, needed 3 / 4 engine equipment for many of their flights to the Caribbean. However, as others have said, EA's large fleets of 727s and L-1011s could easily cover these routes.



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20685 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 5023 times:

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 14):
National's only route at the time of their DC-8 retirement that required 3 / 4 engined equipment was MIA-LHR

What other equipment other than 3 or 4-engined jets at the time could have flown National's nonstops from Miami to California?

http://www.departedflights.com/NA070174p12.html



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1660 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4186 times:

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 4):

N276C 51 45641/165 05/62 /72
N278C 51 45643/173 10/62 12/73 CAROLYN
Quoting SpaceshipDC10,reply=4
:
N875C 51 45635/163 04/62 09/72
N877C 51 45642/172 09/62 06/73 BETTY S

These four DC-8-51's were sold to Braniff International in 1973 and were used in a 150 passenger configuration primarily for charters. Later 2 more DC-8-51's from Delta were added and used in the late '70's domestically to DEN and MIA, among other routes.

After Braniff folded three were scrapped. One was converted to a freighter and used in Central America for a number of years. The two DL aircraft were returned to the leaser. The DC-8-62's soldiered on until 1982 when Braniff ceased operations. One was later converted to a DC-8-72 and was used by NASA--this aircraft may still be in use. The others were transferred to several different carriers including Rich International. Some were converted to freighters and may still be plowing around somewhere. One was sold to a Latin American airline and crashed.



Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4148 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 15):
What other equipment other than 3 or 4-engined jets at the time could have flown National's nonstops from Miami to California?

The A300 is the only one I can think of, but was available late in the timeline of National's existence - Eastern didn't start operating them until 1977 or 78 IIRC. National merged into PAA in 1980.


User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5128 posts, RR: 21
Reply 18, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3324 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 15):


What other equipment other than 3 or 4-engined jets at the time could have flown National's nonstops from Miami to California?

Northeast flew the 727-100 MIA-LAX. Not sure if there were any modifications/penalties...maybe someone in the know could enlighten us?

I realize 727s are 3 engined, but DC-8/10 wasn't necessary for the route.

[Edited 2013-07-15 13:04:14]


Next Up: STL-EWR-STL for my first mileage run!
User currently onlineBoeingGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 3099 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3241 times:

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 18):
Northeast flew the 727-100 MIA-LAX. Not sure if there were any modifications/penalties...maybe someone in the know could enlighten us?

Supposedly they sometimes had to stop in IAH on the westbound leg. There was another thread about this NE route a few months ago.

I believe that DL applied for LAX-MIA but wasn't granted it during the regulated era.


User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10488 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3045 times:

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 19):
I believe that DL applied for LAX-MIA but wasn't granted it during the regulated era.

There was to be a Northeast/Northwest merger and everything was going along well, until the CAB said that the LAX-MIA route, which was NE's, was not going to be part of the merger. NW said it should be all or nothing and they backed out and DL jumped in, but they were also refused permission to operate the route.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 19):
Supposedly they sometimes had to stop in IAH on the westbound leg. There was another thread about this NE route a few months ago.

I would think that there would have to be certain times of the year when they HAD to make a fuel stop.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3805 posts, RR: 29
Reply 21, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2988 times:

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 12):
Once the embargo hit the airlines couldn't wait to retire the first generation guzzlers and standardize on the new wide-bodies.

Looking at the historic fleets of NA and EA, it appears to me that both were already well into the process of retiring their first generation fuel-thirsty jets prior to the onset of the oil embargo that started in October 1973. As noted above, the DC-8 fleets of both were greatly diminished months before 10/73.

At the same time NA and EA were phasing out their DC-8s in the 1971-73 time period prior to the embargo, they were also taking delivery of then-current generation narrow- and wide-body types on a more or less 1:1 basis:

NA took delivery of 9 DC-10-10s from 11/71 to 12/72, plus 2 DC-10-30s in 06/73, having retired the same total number (11) of DC-8s prior to the embargo. Two more DC-10-10s were added in 6/75, arriving the month after the departure of their two DC-8-61s.

From 09/72 to 06/73, EA added 15 727-225Adv to their fleet; by 09/73 21 L-1011s had also been delivered. Prior to the embargo, 31 DC-8s had been retired, with only 7 remaining.

Following a similar pattern, from 01/73 to 11/73 Delta took delivery of 16 727-232Adv, 5 DC-10-10s (lsf UA), and 4 L-1011s. By 01/74 16 CV-880s (incl. one written off in 12/72) plus 4 non-fan DC-8-32s were gone.

My own interpretation of the above is that all 3 airlines seemed to have a plan to replace their 1st-Gen guzzlers that had been in progress well before the 1973-74 oil embargo. The concurrent timing of the embargo and replacment of 1st-Gen types with (then) current-Gen types was therefore largely a coincidence IMHO...although, admittedly, I also do not doubt that the fallout from the embargo caused the U.S. airlines to retire a fair-to-large number 1st-Gen 4-engine types before the timeframe originally planned.


User currently offlineSpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 1825 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2868 times:

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 18):
I realize 727s are 3 engined, but DC-8/10 wasn't necessary for the route.

I'm not 100% sure, but I guess all of NA MIA-LAX stopped en route at IAH and there are many pictures of their DC-10 at LAX and SAN.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © J Allen King
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © I Spashett



National had these transcontinental routes:

MIA-IAH-LAX
TPA-MSY-LAX-SAN
MCO-MSY-LAX-SAN


User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2787 times:

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 22):
I'm not 100% sure, but I guess all of NA MIA-LAX stopped en route at IAH and there are many pictures of their DC-10 at LAX and SAN.

No, National operated non-stop between LAX, MIA and TPA as far back as 1962.

http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/complete/na62/na62-3.jpg


User currently offlinecf6ppe From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2778 times:

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 21):
Looking at the historic fleets of NA and EA, it appears to me that both were already well into the process of retiring their first generation fuel-thirsty jets prior to the onset of the oil embargo that started in October 1973. As noted above, the DC-8 fleets of both were greatly diminished months before 10/73.

Additional comments re: EAL DC8s...

I arrived on the EAL Powerplant Engineering scene in the spring of 1970.

The DC8 fleet had consisted of 14 ea. JT4A-11 powered D821 frames, three ea. JT3D-3B powered D851s (of two different types), 17 ea. JT3D-3B powered D861s and six ea. JT3D-7 powered D863s.

Prior to 1970 several of the D861s were leased to JAL for inter Japan routes configured in high density configurations. Many of the D861s eventually ended up at JAL. Note that EAL had operated the D861s in ~180 to 189 seat configurations (lower in winter due to coats, and higher in summer w/o coats). It is possible to jam in 248-252 seats one class and this was probably what JAL used.

With the arrival of the L1011s (beginning in spring 1972), several of the DC8-63s were kept around to cover for and supplement the at that time unreliable L10s. Every morning on the 10:00AM Maintenance call during the introduction of the L10s, it was reported which of the D863s were covering for the L10s, then one day it was excitedly reported that an L10 had covered for a D863.

But, as soon as the L10s got going, the D863s were gone. By that time I was working upgrading the RB.211-22Cs to RB.211-22Bs and trying to get their early reliability and longevity problems cured.

Comments re: these DC8s as being fuel guzzlers is certainly true when comparing the early '70s to any date after the mid-'70s. IIRC fuel costs were in the $0.11 to $0.30 range. JT3D's had a TFSC bucket low of ~0.505 while either of the new widebody Powerplants - RB.211-22B or CF6-6D - had comparable TSFCs of ~0.35.

Another fuel consumption comparison of the JT3D powered DC8s and B707s is that they used ~2200 gals/hr at economy cruise with 160 to 189 seats while the L10s at a similar cruise use ~2400 gals/hr with ~290 seats. I'm sure that the DC10-10s had fuel consumption similar to the L10s.

It has been about 40 years since I worked on the EAL DC8 powerplants...
You've got to realize some of the facts are a whole lot faded in my memory...
Please be gentle...


25 planespotting : Is that per engine or aggregate fuel burn? Of course, even if it's per engine the L10 would have superior economy (3 engines vs 4 engines and with mo
26 mayor : I'm sure the plans were already in the works at DL, but the oil embargo certainly hastened the process of acquiring new a/c and getting rid of the ol
27 maxpower1954 : That was great information! I was a new flight engineer at Airlift International in the late 1970s and we ended up with quite a bit of EAL DC-8 suppo
28 cf6ppe : Hi, sorry that I didn't make it more clear that the GPH numbers were on a per aircraft basis. Thank you for asking me to clear up that point. I didn'
29 Tango-Bravo : Inasmuch as DL (as well as EA, NA and others) had a substantial number of new-generation aircraft entering service (which would have been ordered som
30 mayor : I don't believe that the oil embargo was the deciding factor when ordering the widebodies and 727s, but, as I said, it certainly moved things along i
31 DTWPurserBoy : Another problem was that as early as September, 1970, terrorism had raised its ugly head with the destruction of a VC-10, a DC-8 and a B707 in Jordan
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