Re: DC-8s in service; no 707s?

Date:         19 Feb 97 02:46:24 
From:         "J. Heilig" <>
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Dave Lee wrote:

> The 707 was produced by Boeing in the "Dash 80" form well before
> Douglas produced the DC-8.  The DC-7 had numerous backorders when the
> Dash 80 came out.  Douglas saw the writing on the wall, and even with
> the backorders on the DC-7 giving them ample reason to sit on their
> laurels, they commenced a task to develop a 4 engined plane which
> became the DC-8. It was in response to Boeing.

	I hate to quibble, but that's not entirely true either.  The project
office for what eventually became the DC-8 jet airliner was set up at
Douglas in 1952.  The USAF's requirement for a jet powered
tanker/transport was issued just prior to this happening, and it was a
direct response to the USAF requirement that Douglas started looking
seriously at four-engined jet airplanes.  This is just about the same
time Boeing started working seriously on the Dash-80 - which, btw, was
also intended to be primarily a military tanker prototype which could be
easily turned into an airliner.  The main difference is that Boeing kept
at it while Douglas dilly-dallied around building DC-6s and DC-7s.
Boeing was Gen. Curtiss Lemay's favorite, so they naturally got the
KC-135 contract.  It was at that point that Douglas came along with
their still-paper DC-8 and made it wider, etc (it's an old story).

> When launched, the DC-8 was said to have a certain performance
> characteristic and fuel consumption.  Upone delivery the airlines were
> disappointed to find that the stated performance and fuel consumption
> was incorrect, and that the range of the plane was much less than
> stated on the spec sheet.

	Hmmmm...that sure does have a familiar "MD-11" type ring to it,
doesn't it?  Perhaps the airlines should have learned something in 1958?
> The 707 was redesigned quickly after the DC-8 was launched, being the
> "wider" one of the pair allowing six abreast seating while the Dash 80
> allowed only 5 abreast.  The 707 is 1 inch wider inside than the DC-8
> thus becoming the wider of the pair.

	Actually, "re-designed" is a better term.  At that point it was a game
of catchup for Boeing (or so they thought), although overall,  the early
707 was a superior product for long range flying (when the -320 model
came along in 1959).  It wasn't until the DC-8-50 & 60 series came along
in the 1960s that the DC-8 ever really caught up with the 707 in any

Jennings Heilig