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VC10er
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United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:22 pm

Long, long ago when there were many DC-8's in UA's fleet, I was really much more focused on the likes of PanAm, BOAC/BA, Eastern and VARIG. I do recall never liking the look of the DC-8, too long and skinny vs a 747 or even a 707...the proportions looked so off to me...even as a young teenager, way before I decided to go into design as a career.

According the internet, UA had 117 of them! That is a BIG number for one type, especially in those days. Why did UA invest so much in the DC-8, what was the performance attraction, and where did they fly them to? Since they had 4 engines, did they fly them internationally? Was there another carrier as hot for them as United "seemed" to be? What type/types replaced them all?

Thanks so much for the upcoming history lesson!

VC10er
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
727200
Posts: 633
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:40 pm

Not to hijack your thread already, but I was fortunate to have started my airline career with the plane. I used to hear the maintenance guys swear it was the best airplane in the fleet maintenance wise. But what I remembered most vividly was standing in the back of the 'stretch 8' and the perception that the front door was about 3 blocks away. Plus the fact the plane I swore was re-born as the 757. Now lets not talk about the bag/freight containers and the cable system that required hand-crank and would get jam with only a couple of containers loaded. The plane had to go out either filled with all containers even if empty, or no containers; it could not be a combination of both. So once the cables jammed, and they wouldn't move either way, someone had to go inside where there was no room to maneuver, and correct it. Not a fun job. Loved that plane; too bad hardly any still flying.
 
DaveFly
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:54 pm

Oh, I think the DC-8-63 was the most beautiful plane ever designed! My first passenger flights were aboard them to places like New York, the Bahamas, Canary Islands, Lisbon. Extremely comfortable, although a visit to the lav on a -63 was an exercise in advance planning! It was a long walk. But those were the days when flying was special.

As for the plane's usefulness, they were popular with United, Eastern, Delta, Braniff, KLM, Finnair, and many others I'm forgetting. And in later years, they were in wide use as freighters.
717,727,737,747,757,767,777,787
L1011,DC8,DC9,DC10,MD80/90
A300,A319,320,321,330,340,
CRJ,E135/45/190,
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Lpbri
Posts: 258
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:27 pm

Here is what I have:

DC-8-12
23 total 2 lost 21 converted to -21

DC-8-21
14 factory delivered

DC-8-54F
15 total 1 lost

DC-8-52
13 total

DC-8-61
30 delivered all but 1 converted to -71

DC-8-62H
10 total

DC-8-32/33
8 total acquired secondhand from Pan Am

113 in all. One of my favorites.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:29 pm

DaveFly wrote:
Oh, I think the DC-8-63 was the most beautiful plane ever designed! My first passenger flights were aboard them to places like New York, the Bahamas, Canary Islands, Lisbon. Extremely comfortable, although a visit to the lav on a -63 was an exercise in advance planning! It was a long walk. But those were the days when flying was special.

As for the plane's usefulness, they were popular with United, Eastern, Delta, Braniff, KLM, Finnair, and many others I'm forgetting. And in later years, they were in wide use as freighters.


United never had the DC-8-63. They had the -61 and a small fleet of -62s.
 
VC10er
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:09 pm

THANKS, beauty is always extremely subjective! And I had no idea that PanAm had them. What routes did PanAm use them on? Could they make it to deep South America?
But, truly, what were the positives of the DC-8? What were her performance specs and what could she do? Was the DC-8 often used on TATL flights by the other airlines mentioned?
I admit I really don't know a thing. I always imagined since she was extremely long, it was a big people mover, but since I never found myself on one, so guess I figured it was less prevalent on international routes vs the 707 and 747.
If memory serves, I thought in those days that UA was more of a domestic airline than the international behemoth PanAm or TWA were, and certainly not what UA is today (an international behemoth)...I seem to recall thinking that United was the "big on transcon and the way to get to Hawaii airline" in the 1970's. Although that is totally a perception of mine that is 40+ years old and I have zero facts to support it. I'm sure NYC - Chicago was always big. When we (my family) flew, it was mostly to Scotland or England to see relatives, or vacation in Florida, or Caribbean so what I saw and flew mostly in those days were 707s, 747s, 727s and sometimes later a 3 holer...and always on PanAm, Eastern or BOAC (VC10).
I was raised in NYC (the Bronx in particular, and Laguardia flights always overhead) but when you're young and your world is a bubble, I just knew the airlines my parents always bought tickets on. I don't know why we never flew UA, DL or AA?. I do recall being in love with the United livery (Saul Bass) however.
My how much the aviation world has changed!!!
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usxguy
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:35 pm

United's international reach was Canada & Mexico, I believe, until the Pan Am Pacific acquisition in the 1980s...
xx
 
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N62NA
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:35 pm

VC10er wrote:
I'm sure NYC - Chicago was always big.


Actually, LGA-ORD was handled by 727/737 and EWR was mostly 727/737 (with some DC8s back in the 60s and then DC-10s in the 70s/80s). Not much (if any) UA service JFK-ORD.
 
ual722
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:51 pm

I know that United used to fly them to/from Hawaii almost exclusively before taking delivery of the 747.
 
dcajet
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:13 pm

VC10er wrote:
Could they make it to deep South America?


The DC-8-62 was the longest range version of the DC-8 family, United used them on the ORD-HNL route and to your question, Braniff International flew 62 nonstop from JFK to EZE for years.

JAL used the 62 from HND to SFO (those were the days before NRT, so I guess it was TYO) nonstop.

AZ used their 62s from FCO to EZE with one tech stop only in Dakar DKR. That was before the DC-10, lets say 1971-72 and thanks to the DC-8-62 travelers could avoid the stops in Brazil.

So yes, they could make it to deep South America.
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Natflyer
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:16 pm

VC10er wrote:
THANKS, beauty is always extremely subjective! And I had no idea that PanAm had them. What routes did PanAm use them on? Could they make it to deep South America?
But, truly, what were the positives of the DC-8? What were her performance specs and what could she do? Was the DC-8 often used on TATL flights by the other airlines mentioned?


In the case of the stretched DC-8 beauty is definitely not subjective! Scores of DC-8s on TATL routes carrying as many as 250 pax. SAS, KLM, Loftleidir (later Icelandair), Air Bahama, Finnair,
Iberia, Alitalia, Swissair to name some. The DC-8-63 was the longhaul people mover. I flew it TATL and around Africa and Middle-East for 4-5 years.

One of the better liveries:
[url]
https://www.airliners.net/photo/Internat ... kxHQ%3D%3D[/url]

Sorry don't know how to post a picture...
 
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OzarkD9S
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:41 pm

I flew on exactly one UA DC-8-62 HNL-ORD once on a red-eye extra section near the tail. Maybe 1978 or so. The plane itself seemed very long and I could barely see the front. I loved it. But it was probably the worst flight I've ever been on because shortly after the meal service over the Pacific we hit some pretty heinous turbulence. People were barfing all over the place, the flight attendants were almost green...we never got breakfast because the whole plane smelled of vomit. That was a l-o-o-o-o-n-g flight!

Of course I wouldn't trade that experience for the WORLD! :crazy:
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Revelation
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:00 pm

Natflyer wrote:
VC10er wrote:
THANKS, beauty is always extremely subjective! And I had no idea that PanAm had them. What routes did PanAm use them on? Could they make it to deep South America?
But, truly, what were the positives of the DC-8? What were her performance specs and what could she do? Was the DC-8 often used on TATL flights by the other airlines mentioned?


In the case of the stretched DC-8 beauty is definitely not subjective! Scores of DC-8s on TATL routes carrying as many as 250 pax. SAS, KLM, Loftleidir (later Icelandair), Air Bahama, Finnair,
Iberia, Alitalia, Swissair to name some. The DC-8-63 was the longhaul people mover. I flew it TATL and around Africa and Middle-East for 4-5 years.

One of the better liveries:
[url]
https://www.airliners.net/photo/Internat ... kxHQ%3D%3D[/url]

Sorry don't know how to post a picture...


For a.net pictures you can use the PHOTOID button in the message editor window and then insert the number e.g. 1716209 in between the tags....

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Channex757
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:17 pm

One thing the Diesel 8 had going for it was the rock solid reliability of Douglas planes compared to the rest. Douglas overbuilt their aircraft, and in the days when kerosene was cents a gallon the weight penalties didn't matter as much.
United also had the Boeing 720 which was a similar-ish type of aircraft in the early years but their flagship aircraft before the days of the 747 was definitely the DC-8. That's why they persisted much longer than the 707 family as freighters too. The legendary Douglas build quality meant those aircraft lasted longer, could be converted to CFM56 and also the stretch versions gave much more usable volume.

Nothing was ever as beautiful IMO as seeing a CP Air DC8-63 on stand on a snowy day.
 
dcajet
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:29 pm

This - the Flying Colors of South America

Keep calm and wash your hands.
 
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PPVLC
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:43 pm

A bit off topic I'm sorry, but I must confess that it took me a long time to find the DC8 beautiful. I always thought the 707 was perfect in design terms and the DC8 was a bit out of proportion, lately I started "understanding" its lines and my opinion changed.
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727200
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:45 pm

Bit of trivia for you on UA's DC-8's. When UA acquired the LHR routes, which at the time were on the wishlist of every airline, the the issue became what equipment to fly ORD-LHR. The airline was really stretched thin at the time with no spares available, and if I recall correctly Pan Am aircraft were not included in the transaction. So the crew at EXO was laying awake at night trying to make it work. After all these were routes UA had wanted for decades and were finally going to have them. So the proposal came back to start service using DC-8s since nothing else could be freed up; this was the time period of "Royal Service" and the name had to be changed because of the Royal Family, but that is another topic to be discussed. Of course no one wanted to use the old DC-8s for startup service to the most prestigious International hub and eventually they did some aircraft swaps to begin service with DC-10s. If the swaps had not occurred, we would have some great pics of the UA 8s at Heathrow.

One other point, initially UA wanted to do hourly service ORD-LHR since ORD was the main hub and at the time busiest airport in the world and LHR was the busiest international airport. Schedules of crews and planes were drawn up and set to go, but then the view was "Lets see how the route does before we commit these resources." It never came to pass and the Stephen Wolfe era came to a close after that.
 
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OA940
Posts: 1991
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:12 pm

727200 wrote:
Bit of trivia for you on UA's DC-8's. When UA acquired the LHR routes, which at the time were on the wishlist of every airline, the the issue became what equipment to fly ORD-LHR. The airline was really stretched thin at the time with no spares available, and if I recall correctly Pan Am aircraft were not included in the transaction. So the crew at EXO was laying awake at night trying to make it work. After all these were routes UA had wanted for decades and were finally going to have them. So the proposal came back to start service using DC-8s since nothing else could be freed up; this was the time period of "Royal Service" and the name had to be changed because of the Royal Family, but that is another topic to be discussed. Of course no one wanted to use the old DC-8s for startup service to the most prestigious International hub and eventually they did some aircraft swaps to begin service with DC-10s. If the swaps had not occurred, we would have some great pics of the UA 8s at Heathrow.

One other point, initially UA wanted to do hourly service ORD-LHR since ORD was the main hub and at the time busiest airport in the world and LHR was the busiest international airport. Schedules of crews and planes were drawn up and set to go, but then the view was "Lets see how the route does before we commit these resources." It never came to pass and the Stephen Wolfe era came to a close after that.


An hourly TATL would have been a pretty interesting thing, especially back in the day...
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klm617
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:26 pm

Lpbri wrote:
Here is what I have:

DC-8-12
23 total 2 lost 21 converted to -21

DC-8-21
14 factory delivered

DC-8-54F
15 total 1 lost

DC-8-52
13 total

DC-8-61
30 delivered all but 1 converted to -71

DC-8-62H
10 total

DC-8-32/33
8 total acquired secondhand from Pan Am

113 in all. One of my favorites.




There were 2 DC-8-54Fs lost and one DC-8-61 lost.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
Cunard
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:32 pm

PPVLC wrote:
A bit off topic I'm sorry, but I must confess that it took me a long time to find the DC8 beautiful. I always thought the 707 was perfect in design terms and the DC8 was a bit out of proportion, lately I started "understanding" its lines and my opinion changed.


I absolutely 100% agree with your above statement it's exactly the same feelings as myself.
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klm617
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:37 pm

727200 wrote:
Bit of trivia for you on UA's DC-8's. When UA acquired the LHR routes, which at the time were on the wishlist of every airline, the the issue became what equipment to fly ORD-LHR. The airline was really stretched thin at the time with no spares available, and if I recall correctly Pan Am aircraft were not included in the transaction. So the crew at EXO was laying awake at night trying to make it work. After all these were routes UA had wanted for decades and were finally going to have them. So the proposal came back to start service using DC-8s since nothing else could be freed up; this was the time period of "Royal Service" and the name had to be changed because of the Royal Family, but that is another topic to be discussed. Of course no one wanted to use the old DC-8s for startup service to the most prestigious International hub and eventually they did some aircraft swaps to begin service with DC-10s. If the swaps had not occurred, we would have some great pics of the UA 8s at Heathrow.

One other point, initially UA wanted to do hourly service ORD-LHR since ORD was the main hub and at the time busiest airport in the world and LHR was the busiest international airport. Schedules of crews and planes were drawn up and set to go, but then the view was "Lets see how the route does before we commit these resources." It never came to pass and the Stephen Wolfe era came to a close after that.


That can't even be remotely true because in 1990 when United took over the LHR routes from Pan Am the DC-8 was long gone from the United fleet.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:38 pm

klm617 wrote:
Lpbri wrote:
Here is what I have:

DC-8-12
23 total 2 lost 21 converted to -21

DC-8-21
14 factory delivered

DC-8-54F
15 total 1 lost

DC-8-52
13 total

DC-8-61
30 delivered all but 1 converted to -71

DC-8-62H
10 total

DC-8-32/33
8 total acquired secondhand from Pan Am

113 in all. One of my favorites.




There were 2 DC-8-54Fs lost and one DC-8-61 lost.


The lost DC-8-61 was the accident near PDX, I think. Is that correct?
 
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klm617
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:39 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
klm617 wrote:
Lpbri wrote:
Here is what I have:

DC-8-12
23 total 2 lost 21 converted to -21

DC-8-21
14 factory delivered

DC-8-54F
15 total 1 lost

DC-8-52
13 total

DC-8-61
30 delivered all but 1 converted to -71

DC-8-62H
10 total

DC-8-32/33
8 total acquired secondhand from Pan Am

113 in all. One of my favorites.




There were 2 DC-8-54Fs lost and one DC-8-61 lost.


The lost DC-8-61 was the accident near PDX, I think. Is that correct?


Correct it ran out of fuel.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:40 pm

dcajet wrote:
VC10er wrote:
Could they make it to deep South America?


The DC-8-62 was the longest range version of the DC-8 family, United used them on the ORD-HNL route and to your question, Braniff International flew 62 nonstop from JFK to EZE for years.

JAL used the 62 from HND to SFO (those were the days before NRT, so I guess it was TYO) nonstop.

AZ used their 62s from FCO to EZE with one tech stop only in Dakar DKR. That was before the DC-10, lets say 1971-72 and thanks to the DC-8-62 travelers could avoid the stops in Brazil.

So yes, they could make it to deep South America.


UA also used the DC-8-62 from JFK-HNL and BWI-HNL. The -61s were used SFO and LAX to HNL and ITO besides many mainland routes.
 
DaveFly
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:12 am

BoeingGuy wrote:
DaveFly wrote:
Oh, I think the DC-8-63 was the most beautiful plane ever designed! My first passenger flights were aboard them to places like New York, the Bahamas, Canary Islands, Lisbon. Extremely comfortable, although a visit to the lav on a -63 was an exercise in advance planning! It was a long walk. But those were the days when flying was special.

As for the plane's usefulness, they were popular with United, Eastern, Delta, Braniff, KLM, Finnair, and many others I'm forgetting. And in later years, they were in wide use as freighters.


United never had the DC-8-63. They had the -61 and a small fleet of -62s.


I guess I didn't write clearly enough. My flights on the DC-8-63 were on supplemental airlines like Capitol Intl and Overseas Natl, not United.

As for the individual models procured by various airlines, I have no idea. But the -63 was, and remains, the most beautiful commercial aircraft for me.
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CRJ,E135/45/190,
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727200
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:28 am

[That can't even be remotely true because in 1990 when United took over the LHR routes from Pan Am the DC-8 was long gone from the United fleet.[/quote]



Really? The DC-8s were out of the fleet huh?


October, 1990 UAL agrees to buy LHR rights:

http://articles.latimes.com/1990-10-24/ ... d-airlines



UAL begins service into LHR:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991 ... nes-flight



Last Pan Am flight out of LHR:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73OeGydSz3o



UAL retires DC-8 planes late Oct, 1991:

viewtopic.php?t=183909


Any other questions?

I apologize to A-netters, but having been part of the process and lived it day to day, it fries me when anonymous web trolls just shout out before they do their homework on the facts.
 
LAXLHR
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:37 am

727200 wrote:
Bit of trivia for you on UA's DC-8's. When UA acquired the LHR routes, which at the time were on the wishlist of every airline, the the issue became what equipment to fly ORD-LHR. The airline was really stretched thin at the time with no spares available, and if I recall correctly Pan Am aircraft were not included in the transaction. So the crew at EXO was laying awake at night trying to make it work. After all these were routes UA had wanted for decades and were finally going to have them. So the proposal came back to start service using DC-8s since nothing else could be freed up; this was the time period of "Royal Service" and the name had to be changed because of the Royal Family, but that is another topic to be discussed. Of course no one wanted to use the old DC-8s for startup service to the most prestigious International hub and eventually they did some aircraft swaps to begin service with DC-10s. If the swaps had not occurred, we would have some great pics of the UA 8s at Heathrow.

One other point, initially UA wanted to do hourly service ORD-LHR since ORD was the main hub and at the time busiest airport in the world and LHR was the busiest international airport. Schedules of crews and planes were drawn up and set to go, but then the view was "Lets see how the route does before we commit these resources." It never came to pass and the Stephen Wolfe era came to a close after that.



I did my work experience at UA in 1992. Back then they had their office next to the private aviation terminal by T4 at LHR. UA flew 747s, 747SP's went to either IAD, SFO or both. (my only time going on board one of those) and perhaps 767s. No DC8's!.

I do recall seeing many DC8's at LAX in 1990.

I also flew on an Air Jamaica DC8's when I was a kid. I remember the bright livery and very bright cabins..haha. The food was a stand out since they served hamburgers and fries for kids which we loved. To this day I cannot remember one single BA meal from the connecting flights. :-).

The DC8 is a favourite...and now more than ever its such a beautiful plane to look at in pics. The UA livery was just as beautiful as the JM colors.
BA IB ET JM EA GK PA VS AA SN HP CO WN NW DL UA AC US LH LX OS JL QF QR WY MH CX U2 EK 9W UK TP VY VN LO OK OZ UL SQ LA KL

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Western727
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:38 am

Ah, the -8. I recall a great chat I once had with a UA pilot who expressed his love for the -8, though he said the -71 was a challenge to land in crosswinds. From what I recall, he said the bank limit was 8 degrees on either side, lest the "fat" CFMs scrape the rwy.
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Nordictroll
Posts: 3
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:24 am

Back in the early 70's, it seemed that UA was flying the 8 to just about everywhere from DEN. ORD, SFO, LAX, JFK. Then along came the 72S and D10 and the days of the 8 were numbered. The stretch was great for non-reving, a seat was almost guaranteed.
 
DeltaRules
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:00 am

I think I saw somewhere the -71s had some form of video IFE late in the going. True?
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Max Q
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:42 am

727200 wrote:
Bit of trivia for you on UA's DC-8's. When UA acquired the LHR routes, which at the time were on the wishlist of every airline, the the issue became what equipment to fly ORD-LHR. The airline was really stretched thin at the time with no spares available, and if I recall correctly Pan Am aircraft were not included in the transaction. So the crew at EXO was laying awake at night trying to make it work. After all these were routes UA had wanted for decades and were finally going to have them. So the proposal came back to start service using DC-8s since nothing else could be freed up; this was the time period of "Royal Service" and the name had to be changed because of the Royal Family, but that is another topic to be discussed. Of course no one wanted to use the old DC-8s for startup service to the most prestigious International hub and eventually they did some aircraft swaps to begin service with DC-10s. If the swaps had not occurred, we would have some great pics of the UA 8s at Heathrow.

One other point, initially UA wanted to do hourly service ORD-LHR since ORD was the main hub and at the time busiest airport in the world and LHR was the busiest international airport. Schedules of crews and planes were drawn up and set to go, but then the view was "Lets see how the route does before we commit these resources." It never came to pass and the Stephen Wolfe era came to a close after that.



United started service to LHR with the 747 Classic, not the DC10.
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ordpark
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:28 am

I look at a 757-300 today and I can almost see a DC-8-61....
 
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longhauler
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:16 pm

DeltaRules wrote:
I think I saw somewhere the -71s had some form of video IFE late in the going. True?

The -61s at United did, there is no reason the -71s wouldn't.

But it was typical of the era ..... pneumatic headsets with aisle drop down screens. Controls and headset plug ins were in the headrest, where the reading light of the old Palomar seat used to be. (Although the -61s never had the Palomar interior).
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
2Holer4Longhaul
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:27 pm

Channex757 wrote:
One thing the Diesel 8 had going for it was the rock solid reliability of Douglas planes compared to the rest. Douglas overbuilt their aircraft, and in the days when kerosene was cents a gallon the weight penalties didn't matter as much.
United also had the Boeing 720 which was a similar-ish type of aircraft in the early years but their flagship aircraft before the days of the 747 was definitely the DC-8. That's why they persisted much longer than the 707 family as freighters too. The legendary Douglas build quality meant those aircraft lasted longer, could be converted to CFM56 and also the stretch versions gave much more usable volume.

Nothing was ever as beautiful IMO as seeing a CP Air DC8-63 on stand on a snowy day.

I'm pretty sure part of the reason why the 707 "vanished" and the DC-8 didn't is the USAF's massive spares-purchasing program for the KC-135
"You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn't you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing!" - Margaret Thatcher
 
gwrudolph
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:28 pm

Max Q wrote:
727200 wrote:
Bit of trivia for you on UA's DC-8's. When UA acquired the LHR routes, which at the time were on the wishlist of every airline, the the issue became what equipment to fly ORD-LHR. The airline was really stretched thin at the time with no spares available, and if I recall correctly Pan Am aircraft were not included in the transaction. So the crew at EXO was laying awake at night trying to make it work. After all these were routes UA had wanted for decades and were finally going to have them. So the proposal came back to start service using DC-8s since nothing else could be freed up; this was the time period of "Royal Service" and the name had to be changed because of the Royal Family, but that is another topic to be discussed. Of course no one wanted to use the old DC-8s for startup service to the most prestigious International hub and eventually they did some aircraft swaps to begin service with DC-10s. If the swaps had not occurred, we would have some great pics of the UA 8s at Heathrow.

One other point, initially UA wanted to do hourly service ORD-LHR since ORD was the main hub and at the time busiest airport in the world and LHR was the busiest international airport. Schedules of crews and planes were drawn up and set to go, but then the view was "Lets see how the route does before we commit these resources." It never came to pass and the Stephen Wolfe era came to a close after that.



United started service to LHR with the 747 Classic, not the DC10.


Correct. Remember that the original Pan Am LHR route/slot acquisition did not include Chicago (AA's TWA LHR asset acquisition did include Chicago, but not United's Pan Am acquisition). I believe United sought and won those rights much after the Pan Am LHR acquisition. I'm guessing they reallocated some of those Pan Am slots from other cities to cover those Chicago rights they won on their own.

By the way, I don't ever recall United using the DC10 on scheduled TATL services. They used 767s, 747s (including the SP), and eventually the 777s (post June 1995).
 
CF-CPI
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:31 pm

727200 wrote:
Bit of trivia for you on UA's DC-8's. When UA acquired the LHR routes, which at the time were on the wishlist of every airline, the the issue became what equipment to fly ORD-LHR. The airline was really stretched thin at the time with no spares available, and if I recall correctly Pan Am aircraft were not included in the transaction. So the crew at EXO was laying awake at night trying to make it work. After all these were routes UA had wanted for decades and were finally going to have them. So the proposal came back to start service using DC-8s since nothing else could be freed up; this was the time period of "Royal Service" and the name had to be changed because of the Royal Family, but that is another topic to be discussed. Of course no one wanted to use the old DC-8s for startup service to the most prestigious International hub and eventually they did some aircraft swaps to begin service with DC-10s. If the swaps had not occurred, we would have some great pics of the UA 8s at Heathrow.

One other point, initially UA wanted to do hourly service ORD-LHR since ORD was the main hub and at the time busiest airport in the world and LHR was the busiest international airport. Schedules of crews and planes were drawn up and set to go, but then the view was "Lets see how the route does before we commit these resources." It never came to pass and the Stephen Wolfe era came to a close after that.


The DC-10s that would need to be freed up for ORD-LHR would have been series 30. UA was plentiful with DC-10-10s, but operated only a handful of -30s, and those were mainly Pacific. Do we have confirmation that UA did indeed start ORD-LHR with the -30s?

According to Wiki, UA got the LHR authority in 1991, the same year that UA ceased all DC8 ops (by then only re-engined -71s). Would -71s ORD-LHR be viable at all? What about westbound in headwinds?
 
727200
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:39 pm

Might have been 747s, its been 26+ years, my memory might be a little hazzy on equipment. But if I recall, there was a restriction on the 747 into LHR that was placed on us and we couldn't operate it into but that might have been on certain city pairs. One thing I do remember is that the MIA-LHR leg was on a 747 and contained all the South American connections. We tried to buy that route pairing as well, but were not able to. PA didn't have the equipment and so we would operate it from what I remember was a 6 month cycle, then it would revert back to them which it did. Too bad, it was a pure cash cow and we printed money off that route.
 
BostonBeau
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:47 pm

VC10er wrote:
And I had no idea that PanAm had them. What routes did PanAm use them on?


Pan Am bought DC-8's mostly as a bargaining chip with Boeing. The B707 was originally designed to have 5-across seating in Economy, whereas the DC-8 was going to have 6-across. To convince Boeing that 6-across was the way to go, Pan Am ordered 20 original B707's, but also ordered 25 DC-8's at the same time. Boeing got the message and redesigned the B707 to be wide enough for 6-across. I think Pan Am was still 50% owner of Panagra at the time, and since Panagra was buying DC-8's, I would think Pan Am figured they could easily enough sell the DC-8's to Panagra or some other DC-8 user.
 
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Channex757
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:56 pm

2Holer4Longhaul wrote:
Channex757 wrote:
One thing the Diesel 8 had going for it was the rock solid reliability of Douglas planes compared to the rest. Douglas overbuilt their aircraft, and in the days when kerosene was cents a gallon the weight penalties didn't matter as much.
United also had the Boeing 720 which was a similar-ish type of aircraft in the early years but their flagship aircraft before the days of the 747 was definitely the DC-8. That's why they persisted much longer than the 707 family as freighters too. The legendary Douglas build quality meant those aircraft lasted longer, could be converted to CFM56 and also the stretch versions gave much more usable volume.

Nothing was ever as beautiful IMO as seeing a CP Air DC8-63 on stand on a snowy day.

I'm pretty sure part of the reason why the 707 "vanished" and the DC-8 didn't is the USAF's massive spares-purchasing program for the KC-135

Boeing also didn't want to get into a CFM56 re-engine program for the 707 family as it would impact sales of their upcoming next generation aircraft like the 767-200 and 757. The bottom line for them was it would have cost them money in the long term.

Douglas were more open to a re-engine of the DC-8 Super Series. They didn't have a project underway for a replacement in that segment. Pratt and Whitney didn't go forward with the JT4D so eventually the CFM56 was the choice.
 
ord
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:59 pm

Some quick facts: United began service on the Heathrow routes acquired from Pan Am on April 3, 1991. Chicago was not included. ORD-LHR service began on September 12, 1995 after the U.S.-U.K. bilateral treaty was amended. United was only permitted to operate one daily nonstop at first, and service was not expanded between the two cities until 1997.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:23 pm

BostonBeau wrote:
VC10er wrote:
And I had no idea that PanAm had them. What routes did PanAm use them on?


Pan Am bought DC-8's mostly as a bargaining chip with Boeing. The B707 was originally designed to have 5-across seating in Economy, whereas the DC-8 was going to have 6-across. To convince Boeing that 6-across was the way to go, Pan Am ordered 20 original B707's, but also ordered 25 DC-8's at the same time. Boeing got the message and redesigned the B707 to be wide enough for 6-across. I think Pan Am was still 50% owner of Panagra at the time, and since Panagra was buying DC-8's, I would think Pan Am figured they could easily enough sell the DC-8's to Panagra or some other DC-8 user.


I don't think this is correct. The 707-120 was already 6-across. Pan Am bought the 707s and DC-8s at about the same time. They bought the DC-8s because of the superior range. After UA also went for the DC-8, Boeing developed the 707-320.
 
gwrudolph
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:13 pm

ord wrote:
Some quick facts: United began service on the Heathrow routes acquired from Pan Am on April 3, 1991. Chicago was not included. ORD-LHR service began on September 12, 1995 after the U.S.-U.K. bilateral treaty was amended. United was only permitted to operate one daily nonstop at first, and service was not expanded between the two cities until 1997.


Very helpful facts. By then, the DC8 wouldn't have even been a possibility.

By September 12, 1995, United would have also had the 777 entering their fleet (started coming online in June 1995). I'm not saying they used a 777 for ORD-LHR, but I wouldn't doubt it.

Again, I don't recollect them ever using the DC10s on TATL. They did use them on Pacific routes, but even there it was mainly intra-Asia and HNL-Asia.
 
CF-CPI
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:28 pm

gwrudolph wrote:
By September 12, 1995, United would have also had the 777 entering their fleet (started coming online in June 1995). I'm not saying they used a 777 for ORD-LHR, but I wouldn't doubt it.
Again, I don't recollect them ever using the DC10s on TATL. They did use them on Pacific routes, but even there it was mainly intra-Asia and HNL-Asia.


They did use the 777 ORD-LHR and I would not be surprised if the inaugural 9/12/1995 service was in fact a 777. The first 15 of UAs were the A model, suited nicely for the ORD- and IAD - (LHR_FRA_CDG) runs.
 
factsonly
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:42 pm

VC10er wrote:

But, truly, what were the positives of the DC-8?

What were her performance specs and what could she do?

Was the DC-8 often used on TATL flights by the other airlines mentioned?

I admit I really don't know a thing.


Well, the Douglas DC8-63 was the most capable moneymaker of its time, it out performed the B707 on all fronts.

Let me use KLM as an example:

DC8-63:
- 11x aircraft in fleet: PH-DEA to PH-DEM
- Configured with both F/Y seating and all Y with 244 seats.
- Best CASM at the time.
- AMS-PBM with 244 pax non-stop if weather favourable = 4,674 mi
- But also great people mover on short-haul 2x daily AMS-LHR - see photo below.
- Stretched airfame with proven DC8 reliability.

 
BravoOne
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:45 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
DaveFly wrote:
Oh, I think the DC-8-63 was the most beautiful plane ever designed! My first passenger flights were aboard them to places like New York, the Bahamas, Canary Islands, Lisbon. Extremely comfortable, although a visit to the lav on a -63 was an exercise in advance planning! It was a long walk. But those were the days when flying was special.

As for the plane's usefulness, they were popular with United, Eastern, Delta, Braniff, KLM, Finnair, and many others I'm forgetting. And in later years, they were in wide use as freighters.


United never had the DC-8-63. They had the -61 and a small fleet of -62s.


What is a DC8 62H? Have never seen that designation unless it was something that UA stuck on there.
 
BravoOne
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:48 pm

N62NA wrote:
VC10er wrote:
I'm sure NYC - Chicago was always big.


Actually, LGA-ORD was handled by 727/737 and EWR was mostly 727/737 (with some DC8s back in the 60s and then DC-10s in the 70s/80s). Not much (if any) UA service JFK-ORD.


Partly true but UAL did fly some MAC charters to Vietnam with the DC8-61
 
The777Man
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:49 pm

The inaugural 777 flight on 6 June 1995 was LHR-IAD.

I remember that UA had restrictions capacity wise on ORD-LHR for a few years. They could not fly anything bigger than a 763.

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MO11
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:58 pm

BravoOne wrote:
What is a DC8 62H? Have never seen that designation unless it was something that UA stuck on there.


It's not an official designation, but signifies "heavyweight". The taxi/brake release/takeoff weights were 15,000 lbs higher.
 
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usxguy
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:03 pm

I thought United started all Europe services with 767-200s?

And ORD couldn't be brought into the mix until Bermuda II was done away with..
xx
 
SFOThinker
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Re: United's old DC-8 fleet questions

Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:15 pm

I am surprised that no one has mentioned that the DC-8's windows were much larger than the 707's, when the two airliners were competing. From the passenger point of view, that was the most obvious difference, and a clear win for the 8. Also, the reading light for passengers was not overhead, but in a light on the upper corner of the seat of the early DC-8s. No functionality advantage, but I thought it looked nice.

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