Fred Cox DC-8 Jet Collection – EA DC-8-61

Fred Cox
DC-8 Jet Collection

EASTERN AIRLINES
DC-8-61

1/50 Scale



Color Scheme: Delivery Colors "Hockey Stick Scheme"

Registration: N8778

Composition: A Refinished Douglas Factory Polished Aluminum Model

Dimensions: Length: 44" (112cm), Wingspan 34" (86cm)

Condition: Mint

Model History: This Douglas Factory Model was finished off for me in Eastern Airlines Colors on September 22, 1997. I acquired the original model blank in 1973 from Marketing Aids who was contracted by Douglas to produce all of their models. It took 24 years to have it finished off but it was well worth the wait!

Eastern’s DC-8 History: The origins of Eastern Air Lines date back to 1927 and a company named Picairn Aviation who received the contract to fly mail from New York to Atlanta and then on to Miami in 1928. In 1929 North American Aviation acquired Picairn & on January 17, 1930 Picairn Aviation became Eastern Air Transport, Inc. On August 18,1930 Eastern carried it’s very first passengers between New York and Richmond and later on to Atlanta. Prior to this date only US Air Mail was carried. However, Eastern didn’t really "take off" until Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was appointed as General Manager on January 1, 1935 and turned the airline into a profitable one that same year – which was a first in the US Airline Industry. It was Captain Eddie who took these humble beginnings to what we know now as the great airline giant that Eastern Air Lines became (one of the "Big 4" of the US Trunk Airlines – along with United, American & TWA). Now, jump to 1955 when the "Big 4" were ordering their first pure jet equipment and Captain Rickenbacker chose to order 26 Douglas DC-8s. The first 6 of the order were to be the Series 10 with the smaller, water injection JT3C engines and the remainder of the order would be the Series 20 with the more powerful JT4 turbojets which did not require water injection on takeoff. This order was later amended to drop the order for the Series 10s and take delivery of 20 Series 20s to save money on engine maintenance costs & for the better performance of the Series 20s. When these first 6 delivery slots for the Series 10 were dropped this enabled Delta to acquire them and become the first airline to inaugurate DC-8 service on Sept. 18, 1959 (along with United later that same day). However, Capt. Rickenbacker was convinced that the 4 month wait for the Series 20s would be well worth it. Eastern took Factory Delivery of it’s first DC-8-21 on January 3, 1960 and was the first airline to place the DC-8-21 into service on January 24, 1960 from New York – Idlewild to Miami. Eastern titled their DC-8-21s as the DC-8B "The Jet with Power to Spare" but this "B" label was later prohibited by the CAB so Eastern had to stop using it in their advertising. Only the first DC-8 delivered to Eastern (N8601) had the DC-8B title on it. Click Here to See a Eastern DC-8-21 Model in the Original Delivery Scheme. Ultimately the DC-8-21 order was reduced back to 15 (4 orders cancelled and 1 leased to Aeronaves de Mexico) due to Eastern’s concern with possible overcapacity and the public’s acceptance of the new pure jet aircraft. Interestingly, during the first two years of DC-8-21 operations Eastern had no less the eight significantly different paint scheme variations – which is a must be a record! During the mid-1960s Eastern settled on their popular "Hockey Stick" Scheme which is depicted on the DC-8-61 Model above. During the mid-1960s to early 1970s Eastern also bought or leased 3 DC-8-51s, a DC-8-54F & a DC-8-55F. During the late 1960s Eastern took Factory Delivery of 17 DC-8 Super 61s and 6 long range DC-8 Super 63PFs. The DC-8-61s were used on high demand markets such as New York-Miami & New York-San Juan. The DC-8-63PF (Passenger/Freighter) model was made specifically for Eastern. It was an all passenger model with the stronger landing gear & fuselage of the freighter – but had no freighter door like the CF (Convertible Freighter) models. Thus the PF could be easily be converted to an all freighter at a later date, but Eastern never did and always operated them as all passenger planes. Eastern had acquired the DC-8-63PFs in anticipation of being awarded routes to the South Pacific from several Eastern US cities which this plane would be ideal for. Unfortunately, American won these hotly contested routes and Eastern wound up using the DC-8-63PFs for Military Airlift Command flights where the high capacity & long range could be utilized. Click Here to See an Eastern DC-8-63PF Model in the "Hockey Stick" Scheme. During 1972-1975 Eastern phased out most of their DC-8 fleet as new wide body jets arrived to replace them. Click Here to See Eastern’s DC-8 Fleet Information. Sadly, this great airline was yet another fatality of deregulation and ceased operations on January 18, 1991 after serving the public for over 60 years.

Click Here to View a Photo of the Actual Aircraft
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Photo Courtesy Of & Many Thanks To: AIRLINERS.NET and Photographer Jose Carreno.


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