Fred Cox DC-8 Jet Collection – JAL DC-8-55


DC-8 Jet Collection



1/50 Scale

Color Scheme: Delivery

Registration: JA8015

Composition: A
Refinished Douglas Factory Polished Aluminum Model

Dimensions: Length:
35.5″ (91cm), Wingspan 34″ (86cm)

Condition: Excellent

Model History: Produced
in the early 1960s by the Douglas Aircraft Model Shop / Marketing
Aids. I acquired it on February 9, 2001 from my friend Steve Spatz
in a JAL DC-8F-55 Livery. Though the cheat line was in relatively
good shape, the white top of the fuselage was pock marked all
over. My friend Frank Samba did a wonderful job in matching the
paint and filling in the pock marks (small dents) so these no
longer were visible at around 2-3 feet away. However, nothing
could be done to eliminate them completely, short of refinishing
the model completely and unfortunately I did not have any JAL
decals. On April 19, 2001 I picked it up from Frank in Germany
and hand carried it back home to San Francisco. I’m
very grateful to Frank for restoring this model as much as possibly
could be done!

History Update:
In September 2003 I was fortunate to find
a set of JAL DC-8-50 decals made by Douglas and traded some decals
I had for them. I had this model completely stripped and polished
and then gave it to my friend Jim Powroznik who completely refinished
it for me. I received it back from Jim on September 13, 2004 and
Once again Jim did a beautiful job of refinishing
my model! It was a hard call as to whether
to completely refinish this model (once the opportunity arose).
It would have been great to have kept the original cheat line
but the dents in the top of the fuselage really "stood out"
upon close inspection & couldn’t be fixed without refinishing
the whole plane. Also, the white paint had yellowed quite a bit
over the years. Thus, when the decals became available to refinish
it I chose to have it done.

Air Lines’s DC-8 History:
Japan Air Lines (JAL) was created
by the Japanese Government back in 1951 in an effort to assist
their country back to prosperity after World War II. Initially
JAL flew only between cities within Japan using Martin 202s which
were leased from Northwest Orient Airlines (as well as the crew’s
to fly them). However, within a year JAL had their own aircraft
and flight crews and began a period of steady growth, first within
Southeast Asia, then to the USA (San Francisco) in 1954 and later
to more and more destinations around the world. On July 16, 1960
Japan Air Lines entered the jet age with the delivery of their
first Factory Delivered DC-8. During the 1960s the DC-8 became
the "backbone" of JAL’s fleet and the airline went on
to Acquire a total of 41 Factory Delivered DC-8s in 9 Different
Versions. In addition, JAL bought and leased 15 additional DC-8s
in the used aircraft market. Fourteen of these were DC-8-61s from
Eastern Airlines. Also, as a point of interest, Japan Air Lines
took delivery of 7 of the last 8 DC-8s to be built in late 1971
and early 1972. The very last DC-8 was delivered to Scandinavian
Airlines System (SAS). Click
Here to See JAL’s DC-8 Fleet Information.
Long after JAL introduced
wide body Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 service in the
early 1970s, Japan Air Lines continued to rely on their DC-8 fleet,
both for their own operations and for the operation of their sister
airline Japan Asia Airways (which was created to serve the Taiwan
market). In fact, JAL didn’t retire it’s last DC-8 until 1988
– 28 years after it’s first DC-8 was delivered.

Explanation of the "L" in DC-8-55L:

When Douglas made the DC-8F-54,
DC-8F-55 & DC-8-55 models they were able to push the aft bulkhead
further back into the tail and thus increase the cargo and/or
passenger capacity. The Passenger Versions of the DC-8-55 (and
two DC-8-53s) were made in two variants to accommodate airline
requests. The first variant left the aft bulkhead location &
interior the same as in earlier DC-8 variants and was designated
by Douglas as the ‘L’ for "less aft bulkhead." This
variant was ordered by Garuda, Japan Air
& KLM. The second variant included the relocation
of the aft bulkhead further back & thus increased the interior
size which accommodated up to 189 passengers (up from 179). This
variant was designated by Douglas as the ‘AB’ for "aft bulkhead"
(extension) and was ordered by SAS (DC-8-55) & VIASA (DC-8-53).
If you would like to see a Complete List of Technical Information
for All DC-8 Variants Please Click on the ‘DC-8 Technical Information’
Link on my Home Page.

Interesting Story About One Of JAL DC-8’s:
On May 27, 1968
a DC-8-62, registered JA8032, was delivered to JAL & named
‘Shiga.’ Unfortunately, after less than six months of service,
this aircraft landed in San Francisco Bay, approximately 2 miles
(3Kms) short of the runway at San Francisco International Airport.
Fortunately, where the aircraft "touched down" the water
was shallow (approximately 9 feet deep) and once the landing gear
settled into the mud of the bay the water level was just at the
bottom of the passenger door sills. All passengers were safely
evacuated & there were no injuries – except for a nearly new
DC-8-62. It was another stroke of luck that United Air Lines (the
largest DC-8 operator in the world) had a huge maintenance base
located at San Francisco Airport and could actually repair the
DC-8 and return it to ‘as new’ condition. Shortly after the mishap
the aircraft was hoisted out of the bay, placed on a barge and
then towed over to United’s Maintenance Facility. It is a testament
to United Air Lines & their Maintenance Staff’s ability, that
after approximately 52,000 man hours in a four month period, DC-8-62
JA8032 again took to the air on March 26, 1969. It was returned
to JAL on March 31, 1969, along with a 4 Million Dollar Repair
Bill. JAL renamed the aircraft from ‘Shiga’ to ‘Hidaka’ and JA8032
went back into passenger service and continued to fly for JAL
for 14 more years. In fact, this aircraft is still flying today
for Airborne Express as N808AX, over 30 years since the "crash."
Now that’s a testament to how well built
(and could be rebuilt) the Douglas DC-8 is!

Here to View a Photo of the Actual Aircraft

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Photo Courtesy Of & Many Thanks To: AIRLINERS.NET
and Photographer Ken Rose



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