Color Scheme: 1976
Bicentennial Colors – Independence (or Yankee)
17.5″ (44cm), Wingspan 17″ (43cm)
Model History: Produced
for me by Airborne Replicas,
Anchorage, AK (Made in the Philippines). Acquired on November
DC-8 History: Overseas National Airways (ONA) has had an
interesting (and turbulent) history from it’s inception in 1950
to it’s final demise in 1985. Essentially ONA was 4 different
airlines which were linked by 3 bankruptcies and 1 name change.
From it’s beginning in June 1950 to 1964 the airline operated
primarily as a Military Charter Carrier – transporting troops
and their families from the USA to Europe and Korea using propeller
aircraft. During this period ONA carried some freight and civilian
traffic but the Military was their "bread & butter."
In 1964 ONA went into voluntary bankruptcy and after new financial
backing was found they began services again in 1965 – this time
concentrating more on civilian freight and passenger charters
to vacation destinations. During 1966 ONA entered the jet age
with the arrival of two Factory Delivered DC-8F-55 Jet Traders
which were convertible passenger/cargo jets. From 1968-1970 ONA
expanded it’s long haul fleet with the Factory Delivery of four
DC-8-63CF (convertible passenger/freighters). These long range/high
capacity jetliners enabled ONA to expand their charter & air
freight business from the USA to Europe, Asia & the Caribbean.
Also, starting in 1967 ONA began taking delivery of Douglas DC-9s
to replace their remaining propeller equipment on the short haul
routes. The decade of the 1970s was a very busy & exciting
one for ONA but ended sadly in 1978. First, ONA continued to expand
with the acquisition of more DC-8s on the used aircraft market.
These were used for their own business and also leased out to
other airlines. In 1973 ONA took delivery of their first 2 wide
body DC-10-30CF (convertible passenger/freighters) to be used
on New York-London and West Coast USA to Hawaii routes. Sadly,
both of these DC-10s were lost in accidents during a 3 month period
in 1975/1976. Three replacement DC-10s were ordered & delivered
as replacements but by 1978 ONA was again in dire financial trouble
and forced into bankruptcy, for the second time, in October 1978.
One other note of interest, during this period – around the USA’s
Bicentennial Celebration in 1976, ONA had two of their DC-8s painted
in (very colorful) Bicentennial Colors. A model of one of these
is pictured above and the other can be seen by selecting the link
below. In 1977, a year before the second bankruptcy a group of
ex-ONA employees established a new company called United Air Carriers
and built it’s fleet with a small number of DC-8s & one DC-10.
United Air Carriers ‘planted the seeds’ for the next version of
ONA & once the ONA was in bankruptcy this enabled United Air
Carriers to rename itself (what else but) Overseas National
Airways. During the Early 1980s this version of ONA built up a
large DC-8 fleet to lease out to other carriers and on a more
limited basis operate it’s own airlines business. In addition
they acquired 5 Boeing 747s to eventually replace some of the
DC-8s. On December 1, 1983 , ONA changed it’s name to National
Airlines after purchasing the rights from Pan American (who had
merged with the original National Airlines in 1980). Operating
as National Airlines, the company continued to phase some of it’s
DC-8s out in favor of more Boeing 747s, which increased from 5
to 11 aircraft, and also acquired two DC-9-80s (MD-80s). Unfortunately,
this is just the opposite of what National should have been doing.
National was increasing capacity during a time of excess capacity
in the airline business and that proved to be fatal. In December
1985 National Airlines, the final incarnation of Overseas National
Airways, was forced into bankruptcy for the last time. Thus ends
the saga of Overseas National Airlines & National Airlines.
Many dedicated people worked very hard to make each evolution
of this airline successful but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Due to the complexity of ONA’s History, their Fleet Count &
Summary was, without a doubt, most complex to research and document.
In fact, to accurately document this information I had to break
it up into 4 time periods to match the 4 evolutions of the airline:
ONA, United Air Carriers, ONA-2 & National Airlines. I’m just
amazed at the number of DC-8 acquisitions, lease-ins, lease-outs
and sales that ONA had in each of their evolutions! Click
Here to See ONA’s DC-8 Fleet Information. Out of all of the
43 Original Delivery Customers, ONA operated the second largest
fleet of DC-8s -and- the largest number of DC-8 variants (series)
from the DC-8-21 through the DC-8-73CF. If
you would like to see some other models of ONA’s Different Liveries
& DC-8 Types please click on the following links:
DC-8-21 1/100 Scale in "Rebel" Bicentennial Colors
DC-8-61CF 1/72 Scale in ONA’s Standard Livery
Here to View a Photo of the Actual Aircraft
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Photo Courtesy Of & Many Thanks To: AIRLINERS.NET
and Photographer Bob Garrard.