In California today an airplane manufacturer's quarter billion dollar wager paid off when the Douglas DC-8 took off for the time and made its initial flight from Long Beach to Edwards Air Force Base.
In California today an airplane manufacturer's quarter billion dollar wager paid off when the Douglas DC-8 took off for the time and made its initial flight from Long Beach to Edwards Air Force Base. Douglas, which for years has been the passenger plane leader, entered the jet transport race late in 1955 when Donald Douglas senior made a one-man decision to go ahead and build the DC-8. At that time Boeing, specialists in four-engine jest was well on the way with their first 707 jet.
On April 9th this year when the first DC-8 was rolled off the production line, 17 airlines had purchased 138 planes representing an investment of over 700 million dollars without a prototype. The plan is to make this first model the prototype and speed up certifications by testing an additional eight planes at the same time.
As number one D.C.-8 came off the production line it was handed to the flight engineers and the three engineering test pilots for flight testing. Take-off time arrives, and thousands of Douglas employees crowd the Long Beach strip to watch the take-off.
The pilot used only 3200 feet of the 9300 feet of runway and ZERO EIGHT DELTA was airborne with ease. Cruising speed will be 560 to 590 miles per hour at 30,000 feet depending on the type of power unit ordered by the individual airline. Los Angeles to New York or Honolulu--about 4 1/2 hours. New York Paris-- a little over six hours.
One return to base the pilots were ecstatic about the plane's performance. One said: "It's a dream." He went on: "All that airplane from a pencil."