A brief history of the Douglas DC-8

By Willie Bodenstein


Launched after the competing Boeing 707, the DC-8 a four-engine long-range narrow-body jet airliner built from 1958 nevertheless kept Doug A brief history of the Douglas DC-8las in a strong position in the airliner market.

The DC-8 remained in production until 1972 when it began to be superseded by larger wide-body designs.

On 24 March 1960, a Douglas DC-8 broke the sound barrier at Mach 1.012 (660 mph/1,062 km/h) while in a controlled dive through 41,000 feet (12,497 m) and maintained that speed for 16 seconds. The flight was to collect data on a new leading-edge design for the wing, and while doing so, the DC-8 became the first civilian jet and the first jet airliner to make a supersonic flight.

The aircraft, crewed by Captain William Magruder, First Officer Paul Patten, Flight Engineer Joseph Tomich and Flight Test Engineer Richard Edwards, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California, and was accompanied to altitude by an F-104 Starfighter supersonic chase aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager.

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