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DC-8 Douglas
Medium to Long-Range Jetliner

Once Boeing had begun development of its 707, Douglas was eager to proceed with a jet-powered airliner of its own for fear of losing market position. Initiating a crash program, Douglas succeeded in flying the first DC-8 three years after the project began. Although outwardly similar to the competing 707 with a swept low-mounted wing and four podded turbojet engines, the DC-8 incorporated many innovations of its own, including advanced servicabilty and reliabilty features.

Initial production models were all of similar dimensions and weights but differed in engine installation, taking advantage of rapid advancements in propulsion engineering. While the DC-8 Series 10 and Series 20 were intended for domestic use, the Series 30 was the first with true intercontinental range. Series 50 aircraft introduced a new cabin layout allowing a greater number of passengers, and this was also the first model built in dedicated cargo variants.

However, the major production variant was the Super 60 series introduced in 1967. This series consisted of the lengthened DC-8 Super 61 carrying up to 259 passengers, the long-range DC-8 Super 62, and the long-range DC-8 Super 63 with a lengthened fuselage. As fuel efficiency and noise concerns became more important during the 1970s, many of these later models were equipped with new advanced turbofan engines and redesignated as the Super 71, Super 72, and Super 73, respectively.

Although the last of 556 DC-8s was delivered on 13 May 1972, the DC-8 Super 70 remains in use, especially with shipping carriers. Numbers in service are dwindling, however, as these aircraft are being replaced by newer cargo freighters.

Last modified 11 April 2011

First Flight (DC-8-10) 30 May 1958
(DC-8-71) April 1982
(DC-8-72) 5 December 1981
(DC-8-73) 4 March 1982
Service Entry

September 1959 (with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines)

CREW: three flight crew: pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer

PASSENGERS: (DC-8-10) 179
(DC-8-50) 189
(DC-8-63) 259



Wing Root DSMA-277/-280
Wing Tip


Length (DC-8-10) 150.50 ft (45.90 m)
(DC-8-62) 157.42 ft (47.97 m)
(DC-8-63) 187.42 ft (57.12 m)
Wingspan (DC-8-10) 148.42 ft (45.24 m)
(DC-8-62) 154.42 ft (47.07 m)
Height 42.42 ft (12.93 m)
Wing Area 2,927 ft² (271.92 m²)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty (DC-8-63) 153,750 lb (69,740 kg)
(DC-8-73) 166,500 lb (75,500 kg)
Normal Takeoff unknown
Max Takeoff (DC-8-63) 350,000 lb (158,760 kg)
(DC-8-73) 355,000 lb (161,025 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: unknown
external: not applicable
Max Payload

(DC-8-10) 34,360 lb (15,585 kg)
(DC-8-63F/CF) 116,000 lb (52.615 kg)
(DC-8-73) 105,820 lb (48,000 kg)

Powerplant (DC-8-10) four Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 turbojets
(DC-8-30) four Pratt & Whitney JT4A-9 turbojets
(DC-8-40) four Rolls-Royce Conway 509 turbofans
(DC-8-63) four Pratt & Whitney JT3D-7 turbofans
(DC-8-73) four General Electric/SNECMA CFM56-2-C1 turbofans
Thrust (DC-8-10) 54,000 lb (240.21 kN)
(DC-8-30) 67,200 lb (298.93 kN)
(DC-8-40) 70,000 lb (311.39 kN)
(DC-8-63) 76,000 lb (338.08 kN)
(DC-8-73) 88,000 lb (391.46 kN)

Max Level Speed at altitude: 600 mph (965 km/h)
at sea level: unknown
cruise speed: 525 mph (840 km/h)
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling unknown
Range (DC-8-10) 4,160 nm (7,710 km)
(DC-8-63) 3,905 nm (7,240 km)
(DC-8-73) 4,830 nm (8,950 km)
g-Limits unknown

DC-8 Series 10 Initial production model; 2 built
DC-8 Series 20 Similar to Series 10 but with more powerful engines for operation in hot or high-altitude conditions; 49 built
DC-8 Series 30 Long-range model and first designed for intercontinental operations; 52 built
DC-8 Series 40 Similar to Series 30 but equipped with more powerful Rolls-Royce engines; 29 built
DC-8 Series 50 Improved model with more powerful engines and revised cabin layout allowing 10 additional passengers to be seated, also featured new wing leading edge that reduced drag improving speed and range; 162 built
DC-8AF Jet Traders Freighter model of Series 50
DC-8CF Jet Traders Convertible cargo/passenger model of Series 50
DC-8 Super 60 Generic designation for three new models described below, all three available in passenger only (DC-8-6_), cargo only (DC-8-6_F), or combination cargo/passenger (DC-8-6_CF) variants; 262 built
DC-8 Super 61 Enlarged model with extended fuselage for up to 259 passengers
DC-8 Super 62 Long-range model with lengthened fuselage for greater fuel capacity but still carrying 189 passengers, also featured larger wingspan
DC-8 Super 63 Final production model combining enlarged fuselage of the Super 61 with new wing and other aerodynamic improvements of the Super 62
DC-8 Super 71 Super 61 airframes equipped with new more fuel efficient GE/SNECMA turbofans allowing much improved range and meeting noise regulations
DC-8 Super 72 Super 62 airframes equipped with new engines
DC-8 Super 73 Super 63 airframes equipped with new engines
EC-24 Former United Airlines DC-8-54F modified to simulate enemy communications and control systems and used by the US Navy; 1 converted

Civil Absa Cargo
Aero del Peru
Aeromar Airlines
Aeronaves del Peru
Aero Peru
Aer Turas Teoranta
African Air Charter
African International Airways
Agro Air International
Air Afrique
Air Algerie
Airborne Express
Air Canada
Air Cargo Spain
Air d'Evasions
Air Evasion
Air France
Air Gabon
Air Gabon Cargo
Air India
Airlift International
Air New Zealand
Air Outre Mer (AOM)
Air Spain
Air Sweden
Air Transport International (ATI)
Air Zaire
Americana Colombia
American International
American Jet Industries
Analinda Airlines
Andes Airlines
Apisa Air Cargo
Arax Airlines
ARCA Colombia
Arrow Air
ATC Colombia
Batch Air
Bax Global
Braniff Airways
Buffalo Airways
Burlington Air Express
Cam Air International
Cameroon Airlines
Canarias Cargo
Capitol Air International
Cargo Lion
Concord International
Conner Air Lines
Continental Cargo Airlines
Contract Cargo Airlines
Cougar Air Cargo International
CP Air
CTA Espana
Cygnus Air
Cyprus Airways
Delta Air Lines
Eagle Air
Eastern Airlines
Emery Worldwide Airlines
Evergreen International Airlines
Faucett Peru
Fine Air
Florida West International Airlines
Flying Tiger Line
Fuerza Aerea del Peru
Garuda Indonesia
German Cargo
IAS Cargo Airlines
Imperial Airlines
Interamericana de Aviacion
Intercontinental Airlines
Hawaiian Air
Japan Air Lines
Jet Aviation
Jet Fret
Kalitta American International
Kitty Hawk International
KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines
LAC Colombia
Lan Chile
Liberia World Airlines
Lignes Aeriennes Congolaises
Maldives International
MAS Air Cargo
Million Air
MK Airlines
MK Cargo
Murray Air
Nationair Canada
National Airlines
Omega Air
Overseas International Airways
Panair do Brazil
Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)
Philippine Airlines
Point Air Mulhouse
Pomair Ostend
Response Air
Rosenbalm Aviation
SAS Scandinavian Airlines
Seaboard World
Secmafair Aviation
Southern Air Transport
Summit Philippines
Surinam Airways
Tampa Colombia
Thai International
TMC Airlines
TPI International Airways
Trabajos Aereos y Enlaces (TAE)
Trans Canada
Trans Caribbean
Trans Continental Airlines
Trans International
Transmeridian Air Cargo
Transportes Charter do Brasil
Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux (TAI)
Union Aéromaritime de Transport (UAT)
United African Airlines
United Air Carriers
United Airlines
United Parcel Service (UPS)
Wien Air Alaska
World Airways
Zaire International Cargo
Zambia Airways
Zantop International Airlines
Zuliana de Aviacion
Government/Military France, Armée de l'Air (French Air Force)
Gabon, Armée de l'Air Gabonaise (Gabon Air Force)
Spain, Ejército del Aire Española (Spanish Air Force)
Togo, Force Aérienne Togolaise (Togolese Air Force)
United States (US Navy)



  • Aboulafia, Richard. Jane's Civil Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996, p. 74-75, McDonnell Douglas DC-8.
  • Boeing DC-8 site
  • Chant, Christopher and Taylor, Michael J.H. The World's Greatest Aircraft. Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, 2006, p. 223, Douglas DC-8.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 362-363, Douglas DC-8.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 1999, p. 423-431, Douglas DC-8.
  • Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 221, Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) DC-8.

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