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


DC-8 Jet Collection




Color Scheme: Delivery

Registration: N916R

Composition: A
Refinished Douglas Factory Polished Aluminum Model

Dimensions: Length:
24.5″ (62cm), Wingspan 23.5″ (60cm)

Condition: Excellent

Model History: This
Original Douglas Factory Model was painted in Air Canada colors
when I originally acquired it on August 31, 1999. Unfortunately
the paint and decals had were worn badly so I decided to have
it refinished in ONA colors. My friends at Airborne
once again did a fantastic job at refinishing it
for me. I Received it on January 3, 2003.

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. If you would like to see
either of these color schemes on my models please click on the
following links: ONA DC-8-21 N1976P
and ONA DC-8-32 N1776R. 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!
Here to See ONA’s DC-8 Fleet Information.

I hope the history
of ONA has been written clear & understandable. Furthermore,
I felt that the ONA story should be told in it’s entirety – which
I have not been able to find anywhere else on the Internet. Any
airline history as complicated as this will no doubt have some
errors in it and thus any information received to correct any
errors will be greatly appreciated!

Here to View a Photo of a Similar ONA Aircraft
* I was not able to find an ONA DC-8-55 Photo in this
Delivery Paint Scheme. However, the Aircraft Pictured is an ONA
DC-8F-55 which much like their DC-8-55 except there is no forward
cargo door and no emergency exit behind the wing.

[When Finished – Please Press
The Back Button On Your Browser to Return to this Page]

Photo Courtesy Of & Many Thanks To: AIRLINERS.NET
and Photographer Steve Williams.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *