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The DC-8 was the first Douglas jet-powered transport. It entered service simultaneously with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines on Sept. 18, 1959. Powered by four jet turbine engines, the DC-8 was capable of speeds of more than 600 mph (966 km/h). In a test dive, it became the first commercial transport of any kind to break the sound barrier. Throughout its 14-year-long production run, the DC-8 went through seven major variants, for a total of 556 aircraft.
The basic domestic version, the DC-8 Series 10, had increased fuel capacity for intercontinental flights, and the Series 30 and 40 were the first to use the 17,500-pound-thrust (7938-kilogram-thrust) turbojet engines.
The DC-8 Series 50 were the first DC-8s powered by new, more efficient turbofan jet engines with 18,000 pounds (8165 kilogram) thrust and longer range. The Series 50 were also the first to be offered customers in the convertible passenger-freight version or the windowless all-freight version.
The DC-8 Series 60 extended the length of the fuselage. Nearly 37 feet (11 meters) longer than the original model, in an all-economy passenger configuration, the DC-8-61 could carry 259 people. Its convertible-freighter configuration had a cargo volume of 12,535 cubic feet (3820 cubic meters). The DC-8-62, for extra-long routes, had a fuselage stretched 6 feet 8 inches (2 meters) longer than the original model and 3-foot (91-centimeter) wingtip extensions.
All design improvements of the DC-8-61 and -62 were incorporated in the DC-8-63. The -63 could fly more than 4,500 miles (7242 kilometers) nonstop, carrying 259 passengers because of its extended fuselage aerodynamic improvements to nacelles, pylons and flaps and increased wingspan and fuel capacity.
The DC-8 Series 70 was a re-engined version of the popular Super 60 Series, substituting CFM56 engines for the latter&rsquos Pratt & Whitney engines. The result was an aircraft that retained the Super 60 operating weights but with a longer range due to the newer, more fuel-efficient turbofans. The Series 70 was also able to meet later, more stringent noise regulations that were implemented in the 1980s.
In 1995, more than 300 DC-8s remained in service, making more than 340 scheduled flights a day. In January 2013, Aviation Week Intelligence Network&rsquos Fleet Database reported that there were 36 DC-8s left in service worldwide.
Aircraft History of the DC-8
While originally designed to be an air-tanker for the United States Military, the Douglas DC-8 saw a life of mainly civilian duty as a jet airliner. Born out of competition with the Boeing 707, the DC-8 was late to the airline market but still out-performed the Boeing 707 in one regard. The DC-8 withstood the test of time.
DC 8 History
As with most aircraft, the DC-8 was created in hopes of obtaining a contract with the U.S. Military. Along with six other aircraft companies, Douglas took part in a contract bid from the military to create the next generation of air-tankers. Boeing had been working on making a pure jet airliner since 1949. One advantage Boeing had over Douglas was the fact that Boeing already had a close relationship with the United States Air Force. With the B-47 Stratojet and the B-52 Stratofortress already widely popular with the U.S.A.F. and other military branches, Douglas had a lot of catching up to do. Creating a pure jet airliner was not always a top priority for Douglas though. While Douglas did believe that turbojets were going to be the engine of the future, the company felt that it would be a gradual transition from turboprops to turbojets.
However, Douglas did not expect the shocker that Boeing was able to pull off. Only four months after the release of the contract requirements, the U.S.A.F. ordered the first 29 aircraft from Boeing. Donald Douglas himself went to Washington D.C. to protest the decision, claiming that it had been made before the competing companies even had time to fully complete their bids. Sadly, his protests fell on deaf ears. Since work had already begun on the DC-8, Douglas made the decision that it would be better to continue on with the aircraft’s creation rather than halt production.
The design of the DC-8 saw many changes after Douglas consulted with major airlines to see what the current demand was. These consultations resulted in the DC-8 getting a wider fuselage to allow six-abreast seating. This led to the aircraft also receiving larger wings and a longer fuselage. The DC-8 was officially announced in July 1955 and offered in four versions, each based on the same fuselage but varying in engines and fuel capacity. Knowing that they were trailing behind the Boeing 707, Douglas had the maiden flight of the DC-8 in December of 1957 and then pushed the aircraft into service in 1959.
The DC-8’s major competition was the Boeing 707, but both aircraft were in a troubling spot. Major airlines were afraid to commit themselves to the large financial and technical challenge of the jet aircraft, yet none could afford not to buy jets if their competitors did. This placed the DC-8 and 707 in a stalemate until October of 1955. In an unprecedented move, Pan American placed orders for both aircraft. Other airlines rushed to place buy orders but by the start of 1958, Douglas had only sold 133 DC-8’s compared to Boeing’s 150 707’s. Douglas tried to close the gap between the DC-8 and 707 but their refusal to change the DC-8 fuselage in various models only proved to be a marketing loss. After a great start, the early 1960’s proved to only be a loss for the DC-8.
Just when things were starting to look bleak for the DC-8, Douglas breathed new life into the aircraft by releasing the Super Sixties in April of 1965. With a longer fuselage, the three models that made up the Super Sixties were able to seat 269 passengers and were known to be the largest airliners on the market until Boeing released the 747 in 1970. However, the late 1960’s proved to be harsh on Douglas due to the fact that the industry now had to figure out how to control noise reduction on these new jetliners. With a change in jet-engines, the DC-8 evolved from the Super Sixties to the Super Seventies. Equipped with the Franco-American CFM56 engine, the Super Seventies models of the DC-8 were a huge success. They proved to be 70% quieter than the Super Sixties and at the time, the world’s quietest four-engine airliner.
The Douglas DC8, which also became known as the McDonnell Douglas DC8 later its life, was the glamour intercontinental airliner of its day. This aircraft first flew on 30 May 1958 and was produced between 1958 until 1972 with a total of 556 being built.
This was the Douglas Aircraft Company’s first foray into the jet airliner space which was very successful. The move to jets from the old piston engined and even turboprop engined aircraft was not a high priority for Douglas in the late 1940s and early 1950s. They were enjoying being the front runner in the piston engine airliner space with models such as the DC2, DC3, DC4, DC5, DC6 and DC7. In 1949 when de Haviland launched their Comet jet airliner, Douglas still did not see the need to change. Perhaps the decision was further vindicated in their eyes by several fatal crashes of the Comet which were later found to be caused by metal fatigue. When you are the most successful airliner manufacturer with 300 orders for your latest model, the DC6, why would you change? Their reluctance was further buoyed by the arrival of the turboprops in the form of the Vickers Viscount, Bristol Britannia and Lockheed Electra.
An Air Spain Douglas DC8-21 on approach to land.
Meanwhile, down at Boeing, they were looking at creating a new jet airliner. From around 1949 they were pulling together their experience with military bombers and mid-air refuellers to see how this could enable them to produce a jet airliner. When Boeing floated the idea with airlines in 1950, they found the reception to be very underwhelming. They pressed on regardless.
Douglas finally saw the writing on the wall and knew they had to take pure jets seriously. In 1952 they began secret studies and by mid – 1953 they had come up with a design which was very close to the final production model of the DC8. This design configuration had 80 seats with 5 seats abreast. It would be powered by 4 Pratt and Whitney JT3C engines, have a weight of 86,000Kg (190,000lb) and a range of 4,800-6,400Km (2,592-3,456NM). The market immediately pressured Douglas to widen the fuselage to accommodate 6 seats abreast. This led to a lengthening of the fuselage and increasing the wing area.
A DC8-62 of cargo airline MK Airlines of Ghana on final approach, showing off its flap configuration.
In July 1955, Douglas announced that it would be producing 4 variants of the DC8. The differences between the variants would be solely around fuel capacity and a choice of engines. The fuselage length, wing-span and area would be exactly the same for all. The market pressured Douglas to create varied fuselage lengths, but they would not be moved. This nearly caused Douglas to miss out on realising the full extent of the DC8’s success.
The pure jet age brought about a whole new way of thinking about air travel. At first, airlines were reluctant to jump aboard with the new technology. Jets were much more expensive to buy and maintain. However, as always, the pressure of competition was the great enabler. Once your competition embraces the new technology you can’t afford not to.
In October 1955, Pan American World Airways broke with tradition and ordered both the DC8 and the Boeing 707. The order consisted of 25 DC8s and 20 707s. They were quickly followed, in 1956, by orders for the DC8 by United Airlines, National Airlines, KLM, Eastern Air Lines, Japan Air Lines and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS). By the beginning of 1958, Douglas’s and Boeing’s order books stood at 133 DC8s and 150 707s respectively. At that time the cost of a domestic version of the DC8 stood at US$5.46M.
A Douglas DC-8-32 of Pan-American World Airways, registration N801PA sits on the apron at London Heathrow Airport 14 September 1964.
With enough orders on the books to ensure a successful outcome, Douglas proposed to build the DC8 at their plant at Santa Monica airfield. They requested a runway extension and all seemed to be a win win situation with the prospect of new jobs in the area. Neighbouring residents, however, were concerned about having jets coming and going from their neighbourhood and their complaints caused Douglas’s requests to be refused. The solution was to move to Long Beach Airport.
The first DC8, registration N8008D was rolled out of the factory on 09 April 1958. She first flew on 30 May 1958 at 14:07 hours with pilot in command C.A.G. Heimerdinger. Douglas had a late start compared to Boeing with their 707. To close the gap, Douglas used 10 aircraft to achieve their F.A.A.(Federal Aviation Administration) certification, which was granted in August 1959. Several adjustments were made as a result of the rigorous testing. These included the removal of ineffective airbrakes being replaced by engine reverse thrusters which were just then being made available, the addition of forward wing slats to improve lift at low speeds and the development of a larger wing tip to reduce drag.
Eastern Airlines Douglas Super DC-8 Advertisement Newsweek 26 September 1966.
Production started in earnest and by March of 1960 Douglas reached their production target of 8 DC8s a month rolling out of the factory. On 18 September 1959, the DC8 was launched simultaneously by United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Delta maintain they were first.
On 21 August 1961, Douglas, as part of a test of a new wing leading edge design, took a DC8, to 41,000 feet and put it into a controlled dive. This DC8-43, that flew for Canadian Pacific Air Lines, registration CF-CPG, became the first civilian jet and first jet airliner to break the sound barrier. Achieving a speed of Mach 1.012 / 660mph / 1,062kph for 16 seconds, she was shadowed by Chuck Yeager in a F104 Starfighter.
Douglas started to feel the results of their decision to stick to not stretching the DC8 beyond the original fuselage length. Sales started to drop off as airlines looked for more flexibility. In 1962 only 26 orders were taken, in 1963 21 and in 1964 14. Most of these orders weren’t even for for the passenger version, but for the Jet Trader cargo version. In 1965, with orders stalling at a total of 300 DC8s ordered, it seemed the DC8 had run its course. In April of that year Douglas finally relented and announced the introduction of the Super 60s. This breathed new life into the DC8 program. The Super 60s consisted of 3 variants, the DC8-61, -62 and -63. At the time of their introduction, the -61 and -63 were the highest passenger carrying capacity airliners in the world, only unseated by the introduction of the Boeing 747 in 1970. The DC8-62 was shorter than its stable mates, as it was designed for longer range.
A Douglas DC-8-63 of Balair landing at Zurich Airport in May 1985.
Toward the end of the 1960s, concerns about aircraft noise were becoming more vocal. The pure jets of that time were far louder than the newer more efficient engines of today and louder even still than the propeller-driven airliners they were replacing. Attitudes were changing and cities and airports were starting to crack down on the noisy jets. The DC8 was loud and the DC8-60 series louder still. Airports started to bring in new noise regulations, for example, the restrictions were such, that the DC8-60s had to operate at lower weights to reduce the power required and therefore the noise. Airlines approached Douglas for a solution, but Douglas seemed reluctant to act. They finally came to the party and working with General Electric they released the DC8-70 series, powered by that company’s Franco-American CFM56 engine.
The DC8-70 series was a great success. Being 70% quieter than the Super 60s, the DC8 Super 70s, at their time of introduction, were the quietest 4 engine airliners on the market. In addition, the new engines were 23% more efficient than the old JT3Ds which gave a great cost reduction benefit as well as extending the range of the airliner.
With 556 DC8s produced, the aircraft ceased production in 1972. The age of the wide-body airliner had dawned in the form of the Boeing 747, Douglas DC10 and the Lockheed L1011. Economics had changed. The wide-body jets offered a lower seat-mile cost and thereby soon overtook the narrow – body airliners. Many DC8s continued to offer good service, particularly for those airlines who could not justify the capital outlay attached to the larger jets.
An Air New Zealand Douglas DC-8-52 taxying at Sydney Airport.
As always with older airliners, many found their way into service for cargo airlines. With 556 DC8s produced against 1,032 Boeing 707/720s, it is interesting to note that by 2002, 200 DC8s were still in active commercial service against 80 707/720s. By January 2013 it was estimated that 36 were still in service.
On a personal note, this airliner is one of my favourites. It was my first jet flight which came immediately after my first ever flight, which was a DC3 from Faleolo, Western Samoa to Pago Pago. I flew the DC8 belonging to TEAL (Tasman Empire Air Lines, now Air New Zealand) in March 1966 from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Auckland, New Zealand with a stop at Nadi, Fiji.
Today in Aviation: First Flight of the Douglas DC-8
MIAMI – Today in Aviation, we celebrate the anniversary of the legendary DC-8’s maiden flight from Long Beach Airport (LBG) on May 30, 1958, analyzing this magnificent aircraft in deeper detail from its inception to its first flight.
The Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica, California, was the propliner era’s most successful manufacturer of civil air transports. It produced more than 16,000 units of the DC-3, the stalwart of the 1930s and 1940s, and followed it up with the very successful DC-4, DC-6, and DC-7 four-engine airliners.
In 1948, Douglas started producing a successful jet fighter, the F3D Skyknight, of which it would make 265 for the US military before replacing it, in 1951, with the supersonic F4D Skyray.
This model saw sales figures that were even higher (422 units) and was the first carrier-based aircraft to hold the world’s absolute speed record, achieving 753 mph (1211.74 kph).
An early DC-8-10 in Douglas colors, 1959. The DC-8 was certified in August 1959. Photo: Jon Proctor, via Wikipedia
Douglas’ Ambition: A Jet-powered Airliner
Douglas then established an office at its California plant to pursue a new ambition: a jet-powered airliner—something that had already been built in Britain, where the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) had started flying from London to Johannesburg, with five stops en route, in 1952. Over the next year, BOAC had expanded jet service to Tokyo, Singapore, and Ceylon.
Douglas’s great rival Boeing had begun custom building a prototype commercial jet, the Model 367-80 (registration ND70700) in 1952. When the ‘Dash-80’ took to the air over Washington State on July 15, 1954, America had made a major leap toward the jet age.
The company was not to be outdone. Chief Project Engineer Ivor Shogrun led designers through hundreds of jetliner configurations, including a delta wing. By mid-1953, they had settled on a swept-wing design with four podded underwing engines.
By September 1954, Douglas had devoted more than US$3m and 250,000 man-hours to the DC-8 project. It hoped to sell some of the intended planes to the US Air Force as tankers or transports.
The final decision to go ahead with a pure-jet airliner remained with Donald Douglas Sr. himself, who gave his OK on June 7, 1955. The budget of US$450m made this the most expensive privately financed corporate venture to date.
The DC-8 entered service with Delta Air Lines on September 18, 1959. Photo: Wikimedia
DC-8 Orders Begin
Although Boeing had beaten Douglas to the punch with the Air Force, Douglas got its revenge in October 1955 by grabbing the lion’s share of a Pan Am order: 25 DC- 8Bs with a six-abreast Economy layout, as opposed to 20 five-abreast Boeing 707s.
On October 25, 1955, with officials from 20 of the world’s top airlines on hand in Santa Monica, Donald Douglas Sr. and United Airlines President Pat Patterson jointly announced an order for 30 DC-8As at a cost of $175 million deliveries would start in May 1959. It was the largest single order yet placed for commercial airliners.
In June 1956, Douglas announced that the DC-8 would be built at its Long Beach plant, where 4,285 C-47s (and more than 3,000 B-17s under license from Boeing) had been assembled during World War II.
Finally, on March 26, 1958, four Pratt & Whitney JT3 engines were attached to Ship One, and the maiden aircraft rolled out of the hangar into broad daylight before an invited audience that included representatives of all 17 customer airlines.
Douglas DC-8-11 N8008D takes of from Long Beach Airport, 10:10 a.m., 30 May 1958. The heavy exhaust smoke is a result of water injection. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
The DC-8 Takes to the Air
May 30, 1958, was the big day. Ship One (N8008D) took to the air for the first time from LBG at 10:10 a.m. local time.
The crowds of spectators, estimated at as many as 50,000 people, surrounded the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration needed at least five miles of visibility for this first test flight. Typical Southern California coast low clouds and fog caused a 10-minute delay.
Arnold G. ‘Heimie’ Heimerdinger was at the controls, William ‘Bill’ Magruder in the right seat, and Paul Patten at the Flight Engineer’s panel. Flight Test Engineer Bob Rizer was also onboard, monitoring the flight-data recorders in the main cabin.
Heimerdinger took the airliner north to Edwards Air Force Base in the High Desert of Southern California, where the full flight test program would be completed. The total duration of the first flight was 2 hours and seven minutes.
An escape chute, installed in the lower fuselage, was ready should the crew have to rapidly parachute out. But the two-hour, seven-minute flight went up to 21,000 feet and to 350 knots and back without a hitch, thus signaling the start of a successful legacy for the aircraft.Douglas DC-8 N8008D accompanied by a U.S. Air Force Cessna T-37 chase plane during a test flight near Edwards Air Force Base, California. (Douglas Aircraft Company). Photo: Wikipedia, Public Domain
Initial Service, End of Production
On September 18, 1959, the DC-8 entered service with Delta Air Lines (DL) and United Airlines (UA), being DL the first to operate the DC-8 in scheduled passenger service. The DC-8 was produced until 1972 with a total of 556 aircraft built.
Published in our January 2016 issue is a more in-depth story of a fantastic article by Geoffrey Thomas about the legendary DC-8 (Airways, June 2005) that takes a panoramic view of this superb airliner.
Cargolux celebrates 45 years of flying with a “You name it, we fly it” logo jet on newly-delivered Boeing 747-8R7F LX-VCM
Cargolux Airlines International (Luxembourg) on September 28 took delivery of brand new Boeing 747-8R7F LX-VCM (msn 61169). The new delivery was flown to Luxembourg (above) and is in service between Luxembourg and Los Angeles via Prestwick.
The new Jumbo freighter is painted in a whimsical “You name it, we fly it” special livery created by Belgian cartoonist Philippe Cruyt. The logo jet is helping Cargolux celebrate 45 years of flying. The logo jet displays some of the odd things the airline has flown in its history.
The airline issued this statement and photos yesterday:
Cargolux Airlines, Europe’s largest all-cargo airline, celebrates its 45th anniversary with a special aircraft livery, created by Belgian cartoonist Philippe Cruyt, that was applied to its 13th 747-8 freighter delivered. The aircraft, LX-VCM, named ‘City of Redange-sur-Attert’, was handed over at Boeing’s Seattle plant on September 28 and arrived in Luxembourg on September 29 with a full load of cargo.
As an undisputed leader in air cargo, Cargolux offers an extensive product range, covering everything from every-day cargo to shipments that require detailed attention, special treatment and expert handling.
Backed by 45 years of experience, the highly specialized Cargolux teams can cater to the most demanding requirements customers may have.
This ability is aptly portrayed in the anniversary livery on LX‑VCM that depicts in a humorous way the many facets of air freight shipments, routinely handled by Cargolux every day.
The decal on Cargolux’s new freighter is the biggest decal that Boeing ever applied to an aircraft, it consists of 460 individual parts.
Phillippe Cruyt was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1962. He has already illustrated a range of successful educational books on air freight and environmental topics, published by Cargolux in the early 2000s, as well as advertising and safety campaigns, calendars and posters for the airline.
In addition, he has illustrated a range of books as well as published his cartoons at various exhibitions throughout Europe.
Currently, Mr. Cruyt divides his professional time and energy between cartoon illustrations for children’s and educational books or designing communication messages with a touch of humor. When he is not drawing, Mr. Cruyt plays clarinet and tenor sax in his jazz group, The Creole Shakers Trio.
Over the last 45 years, Cargolux has grown to become Europe’s largest all-cargo airline with 828,658 ton of cargo flown in 2014 and a fleet of 25 747 freighters.
On March 4, 1970, Luxair, Loftleiðir, Salén and some private interests founded Cargolux and started operations from the newly established home base at Luxembourg airport with a handful of Canadair CL-44 freighters. The young carrier’s first flight on 10 March 1970 was routed Luxembourg – Stockholm – New York and carried a cargo of strawberries and iceberg lettuce.
The airline was created to operate all-cargo ad hoc and sub-charter flights and the first years of operation proved that there was a need for the type of service that Cargolux was offering to its customers.
Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Douglas DC-8-63 (CF) LX-ACV (msn 45989) is seen at Paris (CDG).
The CL‑44s soon gave way to bigger DC-8 freighters (above) and, in later years, Cargolux introduced the wide-body Boeing 747 freighter into its fleet, amidst much skepticism in Luxembourg and within the industry. However, the success of the operation eventually proved critics wrong. In later years, Cargolux became the first operator and launch customer of the 747-400F and the 747-8F. With more than 85 offices in over 50 countries, Cargolux today flies to over 70 destinations worldwide and employs over 1,700 people.
1970: Cargolux Airlines International is founded by Luxair, Loftleiðir Icelandic, the Salén Shipping Group and private Luxembourg interests.
1974: The maintenance division of Loftleiðir Icelandic is integrated into Cargolux, whose staff increased from 80 to 180 over night.
1978: The final CL-44 is phased out. Cargolux now operates an all-jet fleet.
1979: Boeing delivers Cargolux’s first Boeing 747-200F, the second one arrives a year later.
1983: Cargolux’s CHAMP (Cargo Handling And Management Planning) computer system is introduced.
1984: The last DC-8 freighter is sold, while a third 747-200F is added to the fleet in 1986.
1988: Cargolux ranks among the 15 largest cargo carriers in the world, measured in freight tonne kilometers flown.
1990: Cargolux celebrates its 20th anniversary with an order for three new Boeing 747-400 freighters.
1993: With the delivery of the first two Boeing 747-400 freighters, Cargolux becomes the first airline in the world to operate this state-of-the-art aircraft.
1995: Cargolux celebrates its 25th anniversary. The fleet of modern 747-400 freighters is steadily expanded over the coming years the 16th and last unit is handed over in 2008.
2005: Cargolux and Boeing announce the development of a new, advanced version of the 747 freighter, later to become the 747-8 series. Cargolux is a launch customer for this new 747 type with an initial order for 10 aircraft. The company later orders five more 747-8Fs.
2009: The Cargolux Maintenance Division moves into its new maintenance hangar that offers modern facilities and space for two 747/A380-sized aircraft. Cargolux enters into a strategic partnership in Italy to create Cargolux Italia for intercontinental all-cargo services from Milan’s Malpensa airport.
2011: Qatar Airways takes a 35% equity interest in Cargolux, but decided in November 2012 to sell its stake. The State of Luxembourg acquires these shares on an interim basis. Some six years after signing the initial order, Cargolux is taking delivery of its first two Boeing 747‑8 freighters on 19 and 21 September.
2014: Cargolux achieves a number of crucial goals, including the conclusion of a commercial cooperation agreement with HNCA, who acquire 35% of the Cargolux shares and the successful introduction of services to and from Cargolux’s new hub in China, Zhengzhou.
2015: Cargolux celebrates its 45th anniversary. The airline operates the largest fleet in its history and routinely records one of the highest daily aircraft utilization rates in the industry. Cargolux now operates seven weekly frequencies between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou and introduces its first dedicated transpacific service between Zhengzhou and Chicago.
With the acceptance of 747-8F LX-VCM, Cargolux operates one of the youngest and most efficient freighter fleets in the industry.
“I’m proud to see this aircraft with a very special paint scheme join out fleet,” says Dirk Reich, Cargolux President & CEO. “The 747-8 freighter perfectly suits our worldwide network and its nose-loading and cargo-carrying abilities help us to maintain our leading position in the airfreight industry. Philippe Cruyt’s exceptional livery is a fitting addition to our 13th 747-8F and underlines not only the expertise and experience that Cargolux has gained in handling a wide variety of normal and special freight, but also celebrates the long and colorful history of our company. This aircraft is an ambassador for the passion and the spirit of Cargolux.”
All photos by Cargolux (except below).
Cargolux aircraft slide show:
Bottom Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker. LX-VCM arrives at Seattle/Tacoma to take a full load of cargo to Luxembourg.
Variants [ edit | edit source ]
Early models [ edit | edit source ]
- DC-8 Series 10 For U.S. domestic use and powered by 60.5 kN Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 turbojets. The initial DC-8-11 model had the original, high-drag wingtips and all examples were subsequently converted to DC-8-12 standard. The DC-8-12 had the new wingtips and leading-edge slots inboard of each pylon. These unique devices were actuated by doors on the upper and lower surfaces that opened for low speed flight and closed for cruise. The maximum weight increased from 120 tonnes to 123 tonnes. 28 DC-8-10s were manufactured. This model was originally named "DC-8A" until the series 30 was introduced. Ώ]
- DC-8 Series 20 Higher-powered 70.8 kN Pratt & Whitney JT4A-3 turbojets allowed a weight increase to 125 tonnes. 34 DC-8-20s were manufactured. This model was originally named "DC-8B" but was renamed when the series 30 was introduced. Ώ]
- DC-8 Series 30 For intercontinental routes, the three Series 30 variants combined JT4A engines with a one-third increase in fuel capacity and strengthened fuselage and landing gear. The DC-8-31 was certified in March 1960 with 75.2 kN JT4A-9 engines for 136 tonnes maximum weight. The DC-8-32 was similar but allowed 140 tonnes weight. The DC-8-33 of November 1960 substituted 78.4 kN JT4A-11 turbojets, a modification to the flap linkage to allow a 1.5 degree setting for more efficient cruise, stronger landing gear, and 143 tonne maximum weight. Many -31 and -32 DC-8s were upgraded to this standard. A total of 57 DC-8-30s were produced.
- DC-8 Series 40 The first turbofan-powered airliner in the world, the -40 was essentially the same as the -30 but with 78.4 kN Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans for better efficiency, less noise and less smoke. The Conway was a significant improvement over the turbojets that preceded it, but the Series 40 sold poorly both because of the traditional reluctance of U.S. airlines to buy a foreign product and because the still more advanced Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofan was due in early 1961. The DC-8-41 and DC-8-42 had weights of 136 and 140 tonnes, the 143 tonne DC-8-43 had the 1.5 degree flap setting of the -33 and introduced a new 4% leading edge wing extension to allow a small fuel capacity increase and a significant drag reduction — the new wing design improved range by 8%, lifting capacity by 3 tonnes, and cruising speed by better than 10 knots (19 km/h). It would be included in all future DC-8s. A total of 32 DC-8-40s were manufactured.
- DC-8 Series 50 The definitive short-fuselage DC-8 with the same engine that powered the vast majority of 707s, the JT3D. Many earlier DC-8s were converted to this standard. All bar the -55 were certified in 1961. The DC-8-51, DC-8-52 and DC-8-53 all had 76.1 kN JT3D-1 or 80.6 kN JT3D-3B engines, varying mainly in their weights: 126, 138 and 142 tonnes respectively. The DC-8-55 arrived in June 1964, retaining the JT3D-3B engines but with strengthened structure from the freighter versions and 147 tonne maximum weight. 88 DC-8-50s were manufactured.
- DC-8 Jet Trader Douglas approved development of specialized freighter versions of the DC-8 in May 1961, based on the Series 50. An original plan to fit a fixed bulkhead separating the forward two-thirds of the cabin for freight, leaving the rear cabin for 54 passenger seats was soon replaced by a more practical one to use a movable bulkhead and allow anywhere between 25 and 114 seats with the remainder set aside for cargo. A large cargo door was fitted into the forward fuselage, the cabin floor was reinforced and the rear pressure bulkhead was moved by nearly 2 m to make more space. Airlines were offered the option of a windowless cabin, though only one, United, took this up, with an order for 15 in 1964. The DC-8F-54 had a maximum takeoff weight of 143 tonnes and the DC-8F-55 147 tonnes. Both used 80.6 kN JT3D-3B powerplants.
Super sixties [ edit | edit source ]
- The DC-8 Series 61 was designed for high capacity and medium range. It had the same wings, engines and pylons as the -53, and sacrificed range to gain capacity. Having decided to stretch the DC-8, Douglas inserted a 6 m plug in the forward fuselage and a 5 m plug aft, taking overall length to 57 m and giving the aircraft a very long, lean look that was (and is still) unique. Bending forces required strengthening of the structure, but the basic DC-8 design already had sufficient ground clearance to permit the one-third increase in cabin size without requiring longer landing gear. It was certificated in September 1966 and typically carried 210 passengers, or 269 in high-density configuration. A total of 88 were sold.
- The long-range DC-8 Series 62 followed in April 1967. It had a much more modest stretch of just 2 m (with 1 m plugs fore and aft), the same JT3D engines as the -53 and -61, and a number of modifications to provide greater range. One-meter wingtip extensions reduced drag and added fuel capacity, and Douglas redesigned the engine pods, extending the pylons and substituting new shorter and neater nacelles, all in the cause of drag reduction. Slightly heavier than the -53 or -61 at 151 tonnes, and able to seat 159 passengers, the -62 had a range with full payload of about 5200 nautical miles (9,600 km), or about the same as the -53 but with 40 extra passengers. A total of 67 were built.
- The DC-8 Series 63 was the final new build variant and entered service in June 1968. It combined the aerodynamic refinements and increased fuel capacity of the -62 with the very long fuselage of the -61, and added 85 kN JT3D-7 turbofans, giving a maximum take off weight of almost 159 tonnes and a range with full payload of 4,110 nautical miles (7,600 km). A total of 107 were built, a little over half of them convertibles or dedicated freighters.
Super seventies [ edit | edit source ]
- The DC-8-72 and the DC-8-73 were straightforward conversions of the -62 and -63, replacing the JT3D engines with 98.5 kN CFM56-2 high-bypass turbofans in new housings built by Grumman. The DC-8-71 achieved the same end but required considerably more modification because the -61 did not already have the improved wings and relocated engines of the -62 and -63. Maximum takeoff weights remained the same but there was a slight reduction in payload because of the heavier engines. All three models were certified in 1982 and a total of 110 60-Series DC-8s were converted by the time the program ended in 1988.
Autobiography/Aviation History: Douglas DC-8 – The Trip of a Lifetime
I awoke before dawn on August 27, 1960, bursting with nervous anticipation. This was to be the most exciting and longest day of my childhood, if not my whole life. Given how wound up I was, I’m surprised I slept at all, and that my parents didn’t gag and tie me up in a suitcase. This day started in Innsbruck, Austria, and ended in New York City, some 24 hours later. It was a one-way trip, and several modes of transportation were involved, the most important and memorable one being this Swissair DC-8. Prior to that day, I had never even seen a jet transport plane, and now my family and I would be flying in one, to a new life in America.
Swissair had just taken delivery of their first two DC-8-32s, one in April (HB-IDA above) and another in June (HB-IDB). The years 1959 and 1960 were the grand take-off of the jet age every major international airline was receiving their first true intercontinental jets, either the Boeing 707 or the Douglas DC-8. The two makers were fighting for supremacy of the skies, a battle that took several decades to play out. It didn’t really matter to me which one we were going to take, but it has left me with a soft spot for the DC-8 ever since.
Leaving aside the sad story of the DeHavilland Comet, the ill-fated (and considerably smaller) first commercial passenger jet, the jet transport era was ushered in by Boeing’s bold gamble to build a four-engine prototype, the 367-80, that would serve both to secure an order from the Air Force for tankers (KC-135 Stratotanker) and transports (C-35 Stratolifter), as well being the basis for a new commercial jetliner (Boeing 707). The 367-80 was announced in 1952, and first flew in 1954.
Thanks to the -80, Boeing had a head start on developing the 707, although a number of changes were required. The most significant one was widening the fuselage, since the -80 was designed for only five-abreast seating, as was the initial proposal for the DC-8. But with jet engines growing quickly more powerful, Douglas settled on a 147″ fuselage for six-abreast seating. Boeing followed suit, and American Airlines President C.R Smith insisted that the 707’s fuselage be one inch wider than the DC-8’s.The re-tooling for the wider 707 cabin cost Boeing a huge amount of money.
The 707 went into commercial service on October 26, 1958 by Pan Am. This shot, taken in Reykjavík, Iceland, in late 1958, shows one of these early 707-120s being refueled, as the first generation 707s and DC-8s were not not true intercontinental jets. The slim Pratt and Whitney pure-turbojet JT3C-6 engines are also a distinguishing feature of many of the earliest series of both of these transports. The JT3 even required water injection to develop enough take-off power.
This article is about the DC-8, so we’ll leave the 707 for another time, but I will say that it is the somewhat more handsome airplane of the two, owing in part to Boeing’s decision to use many small windows, which makes the 707 look bigger in comparison, as well as sleeker.
If we had flown a few months earlier, it would have been on this DC-7C, the final plane in Douglas’s long line of piston-engined propeller transports that started with the seminal DC2 in 1934. Douglas was the dominant producer in the post-war years, and was not in a rush to jump into the jet age, as it assumed the transition would be over a longer period of time, with turbo-props in between. The Boeing -80 changed all that, especially when the tanker jet contract went completely to Boeing, Douglas having assumed that it would be split with them. So Douglas scrambled to design a competitive jet.
The DC-8 was announced in July of 1955, in four version, all of them with the same 150′ fuselage length. Seating capacity varied from 124 in a mixed-classes configuration to 176 in all-coach. The first DC-8 rolled out of the new Long Beach, CA factory in April of 1958. Douglas dedicated the first ten planes to certification, in order to speed up the lengthy process. The first commercial flight was by Delta on Sept.8, 1959, or almost one year behind the 707.
The first order for both the 707 and DC-8 was by Pan Am, which boldly ordered 25 DC-8s and 20 707s in 1955, so as to encourage both makers, and allow it to hedge its bets. As it turned out, Pan AM soon sold its DC-8s and became an all-Boeing airline. But initial sales for the DC-8 were good, and by early 1958, Douglas had 133 orders to Boeing’s 150.
But Boeing was more flexible in creating different fuselage length versions of the 707, while Douglas stuck to just one. Boeing offered to build a short a 10′ shorter 707-138 for Quantas. And an 8′ shorter 707-020 with lighter weight designed for medium haul flights became the very popular 720. An 80″ stretch was employed in the definitive intercontinental 707-320 series, making a total of four fuselage lengths. This alone allowed Boeing to move ahead in sales, especially after DC-8 sales started to drop off after 1962.
Back to August 27, 1960. We had to catch a train to Zurich, and I can’t remember if we walked to the train station or took a taxi. Probably the latter, since we had suitcases, but given my father (on right), I wouldn’t bet on it. Here we are at the train platform, along with some of the friends and relatives that came to see us off. This was a very emotional day for everyone. Back then, there were no assumptions about ever coming back for visits it had the air of finality to it. My grandmother was too upset to come to the station, and my mother (second from left) was not looking forward to it at all. My father had been recruited to the University of Iowa Hospital’s EEG Lab, and he had been to the US as a POW and loved it, but she was very resistant to leaving her hometown and family.
My older sister (holding my 16 month old younger brother) as well as my older brother (front row right) were old enough to realize that the social transition was likely to be difficult. Only my father and I (front center) were truly gung-ho about this move. America, yes!
It was hard to even imagine what America would be like, but I knew that the cars were going to be very different. Here’s what the streets of Innsbruck looked like in 1959: VWs were “standard sized” cars, and Fiat 600s were a “compact”.
We didn’t have a car , nor did anyone in my large extended family. We walked, or took the street cars and trains. If we wanted to go somewhere by car for a special occasion, like this confirmation outing for my sister and cousin, we hired this 1949 or 1950 Olds taxi, and we ALL piled in, somehow. I’m thinking...can we just get going already?
There were a few American cars to be seen from time to time, driven by tourists. This Studebaker coupe, flanked by two Fiat Topolinos, undoubtedly falls into that category, especially since it is in the Alt Stadt (old city).
I had an encounter with a Cadillac on the street (re-enacted here thanks to PS), just a few months before we left, that created the expectation that America would be wall-to-wall with these winged wonders, or comparable. That encounter whetted my appetite no wonder I was eager to go.
And so we did. This shot was taken by my father from the train as it pulled away from the station and our relatives and friends. Would I ever see them again? Not until 1969, by which time my enthusiastically-waving aunt in front and one of my uncles would both have died, quite young.
I’m not sure how long the trip to Zurich was maybe three or four hours. We took a taxi to the airport, where there was not one, but two DC-8s on the ramp. That turns out to have been their whole fleet at the time. This picture was taken by my father from the airport’s viewing deck.
I had never seen a jet transport before the biggest plane that had ever landed at the Innsbruck Airport back then was a DC-4, and my brother and I rode our bikes out to see it, at my father’s urging. Seeing that DC-8 out there, and knowing we were going to fly it to America was almost too much for my seven-year old synapses.
We were several hours early, and while we waited, the other DC-8 took off, in what seemed a radically steep ascent (photo not from that day). Smoke billowed out of the engines, which was typical of these old pure-jet designs. Pure turbo-jet engines derive all of their thrust from the rapidly expanding burned gases, which made them inefficient at low altitudes and short flight durations.
Already by 1959, a new generation of bypass turbofan engines such as the Rolls Royce Conway and the definitive P&W JT3D were coming on line, where a substantial part of the thrust was derived from a ducted fan that usually sat at the front of the engine. This DC8-53 has JTD3s, as can be seen by the larger engine intake, and the gap for the fan output to exit alongside the actual jet engine, whose turbine drives the fan. Turbofans were quieter, more powerful as well as more efficient, and, some airlines converted their “straight pipe” turbojets to turbofans, depending on their usage. On long flights, the difference in efficiency was not that as substantial as it was on shorter hauls.
I’m not 100% sure, but I’m inclined to think that Swissair used a 2+3 seating on those early DC-8s in coach. Swissair always had a rep for superb service and comfort, and they only used nine seats across even on their 747s, instead of the normal ten. But I could be wrong.
I do know that my father and brother and I sat on three seats on one side of the aisle, and my mother and sister and baby brother on the other side, in their laps. In any case, the unusually large windows in the DC-8 were a boon, as long as the original 40″ seat pitch was maintained. Most domestic flights soon changed that to 34″ or so, which meant that the windows didn’t line up anymore, and every fifth seat had no window at all. In retrospect, that was a mistake, and a substantial advantage of the 707, unless you got a window where it belonged. The views were stellar, and I remember the three of us fighting for turns at the window. And the leg room with 40″ seat pitch is something I can only dream about nowadays on regular coach.
Even though Swissair’s DC8-32 was technically an intercontinental jet, with the more powerful JT4A engines and a range of 5300 miles, our flight stopped in Shannon, Ireland to refuel. This was quite common then, especially on westbound flights, which usually had strong headwinds. Gander, Newfoundland was another popular refueling stopover.
I found a few pictures of that day, and I know there was also one of us on the airstair of our DC-8 in Shannon, but I couldn’t find it. This one one is from the web, taken there in 1961, with folks getting back into their Constellation. I vividly remember seeing a Conny or two in Shannon when we were there, as well as a DC-7. Old meets new.
We arrived at Idlewilde Airport (now JFK) late that evening, after dark. The tropical warmth and especially the humidity of an August evening was a shock, having never experienced that before. It added to the surreal quality of arriving at this giant airport, with jets and planes from all over the globe. After some delays going through Immigration, we were met by some distant relatives of my mother’s who had long lived in New York.
The first car I saw as we exited the terminal was a big 1960 Pontiac. There was a psychedelic quality to the whole experience, a result of the sensory overload the smell of kerosene from the jets, the heat and humidity, the giant airport and giant cars everywhere. I’m not in Innsbruck anymore.
I wrote about our arrival to NYC and the three days we spent there with our relatives here. It was a quick and deep immersion into all things American. And I started assuming all of America was going to be one endless New York City.
We took a United DC-6 to Chicago, and then transferred to a Convair (340, presumably), a twin engined prop plane designed to replace the venerable DC-3 on shorter hauls. This picture of my sister, baby brother and mother deplaning in Cedar Rapids was taken by the folks who picked us up, my dad’s boss to-be. They drove both of their cars to pick us up he in his 1956 DeSoto, she in her 1949-ish Plymouth station wagon. Naturally, I had to ride in the old wagon.
Thus ended the trip of a lifetime for me. Iowa was hardly like New York, but at least there were cars. The new 1961 models were just coming out, and I quickly become inducted into the cult of GM.
Douglas did eventually stretch the DC-8, by almost 37 feet, for the Series 61 and 63, but that wasn’t until 1967, by which time Boeing was finalizing their jumbo 747. Seating was up to 259 in a high-density configuration, and these airliners had a long life, not only with United, who used them extensively, as well as with freight haulers. Some are still at work today.
My next DC-8 flight was on one of these Super -61s, in the summer of 1968. I was fifteen, and managed to talk my parents into letting me fly back to Iowa by myself to visit friends from grade school, having moved to Baltimore in 1965. I took an early morning flight from Baltimore to Chicago on one of these DC-8-61s, and there were no more than twenty passengers that day. It was bizarre, sitting in such a long plane, and only a few heads to be seen anywhere. Such were the days before de-regulation.
That trip was memorable too, as you might imagine. I had just written my friends I was coming on about a certain day. I hitched a ride from the Cedar Rapids airport to Iowa City, with a congressman coming home for the recess, no less, whom I had seen on both of my flights. And when I got into town, I just walked to my old friend’s house, knocked on the door, and said…here I am!
After a couple of weeks hanging out and getting into a bit of trouble, I took a Trailways bus down along the Mississippi to St. Louis, to visit another friend who’d moved there from Baltimore. I learned to enjoy my freedom at an early age.
And then I flew home on a TWA 707.
I was flying student stand-by, which meant I boarded last. As soon as I got in, I saw that the front first-class lounge was empty, so I just plopped myself there. The young (and hot) stewardesses didn’t care less in fact, they all sat there chewing gum and reading paperbacks once they were done serving the excellent lunch. And I stared at their long legs. I tried to get them to give me a beer, but that’s where they drew the line. Oh well.
The next trip on a jet was back to Europe for an extended summer vacation in 1969. But it was a charter, and the plane was stuffed to the gunnels . By now I was spoiled, and have mostly blocked out the memories of that crowded, hot flight, including sitting on the runway at JFK for over two hours because of an air traffic controller’s work slow-down. The golden days of jet travel were already over, for me anyway.
In the early eighties, many of the remaining DC-8-61s and -63s were re-powered with hi-bypass CFM56-2 engines, which made them significantly more efficient. In 1989, we were headed to Baltimore again, this time from San Jose, and somewhat surprisingly, United flew us to Chicago on one of these, in the final year or two before they were sold off, many to UPS. Its interior was a bit ratty, and it felt old, but it was a great flight down memory lane.
The last revenue flight of a DC8 in the US was on May 12, 2009, by a UPS freighter. UPS had had planned to keep flying them until 2015, but to the recession at the time, the fleet was cut back, and the old DC-8s were the first to go. As of 2013, there were still 14 of them flying in the more obscure corners of the world, although all are freighters. The DC-8’s passenger-hauling days are over, and even its freight hauling days might be over soon. It will be missed.
Related reading/image sources:
Jon Proctor’s vintage airport pictures through the years: New York LAX Chicago San Diego
NASA’s DC-8 Returns to Flight
DC-8 lifts off from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., at sunset.
The flying science laboratory takes to the skies after major maintenance and will soon prepare for the Convective Processes Experiment – Aerosols & Wind campaign.
NASA’s DC-8 aircraft returned to the skies on Jan. 6 after more than a year of heavy maintenance, which included an overhaul to all four engines.
NASA operates the highly-modified Douglas DC-8 as a flying science laboratory in support of the agency’s Airborne Science program. On Monday, Jan. 18, the aircraft departed for San Antonio, Texas, where it will remain for planned periodic depot maintenance over several months.
Following its stay in Texas, the DC-8 will begin instrument upload in preparation for the Convective Processes Experiment – Aerosols & Winds campaign, or CPEX-AW for short. The CPEX-AW campaign, a joint effort between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), includes a 45-day deployment, targeted for July.
NASA’s DC-8, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Building 703 in Palmdale, California, is flown to collect data for experiments in support of projects serving the world’s scientific community.
First Colors Ceremony Introduces America's New World War I Memorial
WASHINGTON , March 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States World War I Centennial Commission in cooperation with the Doughboy Foundation, the National Park Service and the American Battle Monuments Commission is sponsoring a major event to celebrate the inaugural raising of the American flag over the nation's soon to open World War I Memorial in Washington, DC on Friday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. PDT .
The FIRST COLORS Ceremony will be an emotionally powerful, live-broadcast program that commemorates the generation of Americans who fought, with our allies, in the trenches and on the home front to bring an end to one of the most consequential wars in history.
Hosted by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise , the 75-minute program will pay tribute to America's role in WWI and highlight our national unity with military fanfare, musical performances, and guest appearances by notable participants from across the country. Viewers will hear insights from high-profile elected officials, military leaders, and the dedicated team who has enriched the nation's understanding of World War I and created a lasting tribute in our nation's capital to engage Americans for generations to come.
"A century ago, 4.7 million Americans sent their sons and daughters off to fight a war that would change the world. They traveled to a country they had never visited, to fight in a war they didn't start, to achieve peace and liberty for a people they didn't know. FIRST COLORS takes a look at the how and why of the Memorial that honors their service," said Daniel Dayton , Executive Director, US World War I Centennial Commission.
The FIRST COLORS Ceremony is designed to "bring our history home." It marks the final leg of a journey that began with an American flag that first flew over our nation's capital on April 6, 2017 , commemorating the Centennial Day that the United States went to war in 1917. This Commemorative Flag has since flown over American battlefield cemeteries in Europe , honoring the Doughboys who gave their all during the war. The colors will now return home to their final destination, forever flying above the new National World War I Memorial.
"The extraordinary sacrifice made by Americans to conclusively end a world war is more than worthy of this recognition one that is long overdue. I'm proud to participate in this landmark event honoring their sacrifices, and to renew our pledge: To protect our future by remembering our past," said Sinise.
All are invited to be a part of American history and watch the free live-broadcast event. To register to watch and learn more about the Memorial and the FIRST COLORS Ceremony, please visit www.ww1cc.org/firstcolors. The live broadcast will be available for public viewing at www.ww1cc.org/firstcolors.
A complete media resource kit can be accessed at www.ww1cc.org/presskit.
Media may request site tours and interviews by contacting Abigail Kelly at [email protected] , or 314-520-9505
About the WWICC
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission established by Public Law 112-272, passed by the 112th Congress on January 14, 2013 and signed by the President on January 16, 2013 , and further refined by Public Law 113-291, Subtitle J, Section 3091. The Commission's responsibilities included: planning, developing, and executing programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I encouraging private organizations and State and local governments to organize and participate in activities commemorating the centennial of World War I facilitating and coordinating activities throughout the United States relating to the centennial of World War I serving as a clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about events and plans for the centennial of World War I and developing recommendations for Congress and the President for commemorating the centennial of World War I. The Commission is building the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC with private donations, in partnership with the Doughboy Foundation. The Commission will sunset after the Memorial is dedicated.
About the Doughboy Foundation
The Doughboy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supports and encourages planning and execution of programs, projects, and activities commemorating and educating the public on America's role in World War I, "The War that Changed the World." The Foundation encourages private & educational organizations, Federal, State, and local governments, and all individual Americans to Keep Faith with the American Doughboys and every American who served in WWI. The Foundation's three-fold mission: Commemorate the experience of those Americans who served Honor the 4.7 million Americans who put on the uniform to answer the call of their country Inspire 21st-century Americans and all future generations to learn about, remember, and understand how WWI transformed our country and the world. The Doughboy Foundation has worked in partnership with the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission to build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. When the Centennial Commission sunsets after the Memorial is dedicated, the Doughboy Foundation will continue its mission of stewardship for the National WWI Memorial, and the remembrance of all those who served and sacrificed in WWI.
About Gary Sinise
For 40 years, award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise has stood as an advocate on behalf of America's defenders. He began in the early '80s, supporting local Vietnam veterans' groups in the Chicago area, and continued into the '90s, when his portrayal of "Lt. Dan" in Forrest Gump formed an enduring connection with service members throughout the military community. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 , Sinise's dedication to our nation's active-duty service members, veterans, first-responders and their families who sacrificed alongside them, became a tireless crusade of support and gratitude for all those who protect our freedom and serve our country.