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Douglas DC-8

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The Douglas DC-8 is a long range, narrow body airliner with a swept wing and four engines, built between 1959-1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company.

Development work commenced in July 1955 following pressure to build a longer range version of the DC-6 series. The first DC-8 rolled out of Long Beach airport on 9 April, 1958. On 26 March, four P&W JT3 engines were attached to a maiden aircraft for a first flight on 30 May. FAA certification was achieved in August 1959 and the DC-8 entered service on 18 September.

Four versions were offered initially, all with a 45.87m long airframe and a 43m wingspan but varying in engines and fuel capacity, and with maximum weights between 240,000–260,000 lb. Range was around 3,700 nm with 125 passengers.

On August 21, 1961 a Douglas DC-8 broke the sound barrier achieving Mach 1.012 while in a controlled dive through 41,000 ft and maintained the speed for 16 seconds; the first jet airliner to make a supersonic flight. The aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California.

On 14 March, 1966 the improved Series 60 DC-8-61 took its first flight. Stretched by 36 ft and with a MTOW of 325,000 lb, it was certified on 2 September, 1966 and entered service in February 1967. The longer range DC-8-62 followed in April 1967, stretched by 7 ft and with a range of 5,200 nm, with a larger wing for a MTOW of up to 350,000 lb.

The DC-8 was produced until 1972, falling victim to the success of wide body jets and the introduction of the larger DC-10. A total of 556 were built.

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