Fred Cox DC-8 Jet Collection – EA DC-8-63PF

Fred Cox
DC-8 Jet Collection

EASTERN AIRLINES
DC-8-63PF*

1/50 Scale










Color Scheme: Delivery Colors "Hockey Stick Scheme"

Registration: N8759

Composition: An Original Douglas Factory Polished Aluminum Model

Dimensions: Length: 45" (115cm), Wingspan 35" (89cm)

Condition: Excellent

Model History: This Douglas Factory Model was finished off for & displayed in Eastern Airline’s General Offices at Miami. After Eastern went into bankruptcy in 1991, an ex-Eastern pilot bought it at an auction of Eastern Airline’s equipment & memorabilia. When he passed away a few years ago his wife decided to sell it and a collector friend of mine bought it & picked it up. Being the great friend that he is, he agreed to sell it to me and I received it on October 18, 2007. Thank You Dan! Since Eastern was the sole customer of the DC-8-63PF variant I had always dreamed of finding an original (or even a copy) Douglas Factory Model of it but never thought one had been made. To my astonishment & great fortune, I was able to obtain this original piece of memorabilia of one of my favorite airlines of all time! The Eastern Property Tag is still attached to the model, on the bottom just behind where the wing is attached to the fuselage but unfortunately the floor stand base covers it. Thus I photographed it & placed it below.

A Note About The Model’s Finishing: I suspect that Eastern acquired this Douglas Factory model blank (unfinished model) & a set of decals from Douglas Aircraft/Marketing Aids and then finished it off internally, rather than have it done by a professional like Marketing Aids/Douglas or Pacific Miniatures. I know that some airlines had their own maintenance department’s refinish their Douglas Factory Models when their paint scheme changed in order to save money and avoid sending them back to have them done professionally. I have heard that one of these airlines was National who evidently refinished their Douglas Factory DC-8 Models internally each time their paint scheme changed. The reason I believe that Eastern did this, at least in this one instance, is because the "Hockey Stick" paint stripes are slightly different than the exact colors of Eastern and there is a small amount of paint overrun in a few places where the masking tape had not been placed securely enough during painting. Also, the cockpit decals have been cut to fit to the model improperly. Finally, on the starboard (right) side the decals of the rear set of Emergency Exit Door/Passenger Windows/Passenger Door were put on backwards & thus you have a Passenger Door/Passenger Windows/Emergency Exit Door from behind the wing to the tail. A professional model company like Marketing Aids/Douglas or Pacific Miniatures would have never finished off a model, especially for an airline’s general offices, with such errors. It is a bit ironic that my Eastern DC-8-61 DFM, which was hand painted in the Philippines, is actually more accurate of the actual paint scheme than this model. However, given the heritage of this beautiful model I would never think of having anything changed and will happily leave it all just as it was originally done. I’m just happy to have it!

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 an 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. Click Here to See an Eastern DC-8-61 Model in the "Hockey Stick" Scheme.

*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-8-63PF’s 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. 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 Ralf Manteufel.


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