Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter Since 1995

Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter

Since 1995

wayne albertson articles

CP Air DC-8 'Empress' Fleet

I have always thought that Canadian Pacific Air Lines tradition of naming their aircraft 'Empress of' was a classy touch. We seem to find it comforting to give human characteristics to machines, even assigning gender to machines of transportation. 

Canadian Pacific began naming its fleet of ocean liners with the 'Empress' brand in the late 1800's and continued with their fleet of aircraft that crossed the oceans.  The Douglas DC-8's did have a regal air to them and wore the names very well. The names were not permanent and often were carried by more than one aircraft, depending on the service requirements (domestic or international).

Below is a table of the CP Air fleet of DC-8's and the names they were assigned during their time with CP.

Sources and additional info:


Registration Fin  Type Delivery Name
C-FCPF 601 DC-8-43 Feb-61 Empress of Vancouver/Rome/Santiago
C-FCPG¹ 602 DC-8-43 Nov-61 Empress of Montreal/Buenos Aires
C-FCPH 603 DC-8-43 Apr-61 Empress of Winnipeg/Lima
C-FCPI 604 DC-8-43 May-61 Empress of Calgary/Amsterdam
C-FCPJ 605 DC-8-43 May-63 Empress of Toronto/Mexico City
CF-CPK² 606 DC-8-43 Oct-65 Empress of Edmonton
C-FCPM 607 DC-8-53 May-66 Empress of Lisbon
CF-CPN³ 600 DC-8-51 Oct-66 Empress of Santiago
C-FCPT 608 DC-8-55F Nov-67 Empress of Santiago
C-FCPO 801 DC-8-63 Jan-68 Empress of Honolulu/Tokyo/Quebec
C-FCPP 802 DC-8-63 Jan-68 Empress of Madrid/Honolulu/Alberta
C-FCPQ 803 DC-8-63 Feb-68 Empress of Lima/Hong Kong/Ontario
C-FCPS 804 DC-8-63 Jun-68 Empress of Hong Kong/Madrid/Sydney
C-FCPL 805 DC-8-63 Sep-72 Empress of Athens/Manitoba

Pictured below: The Empress of Buenos Aires (C-FCPG) carrying an extra RR Conway engine in the 5th pod (inboard of Number 2 engine).

Special thanks to NetLetter subscriber, Gary Vincent, for sharing his photographs. Be sure to visit his full gallery at Airliners.net.

tmb 550 c fcpg

Editor's Notes by Ken Pickford:

1 - The DC-8-43 pictured above (CF-CPG, Fin #602, originally "Empress of Montreal", later "Empress of Buenos Aires") is the DC-8 that became the first airliner to go supersonic (just barely, Mach 1.01) on a Douglas pre-delivery test flight in 1961, in a dive from 52,000 feet (believed to be the highest altitude reached by a commercial airliner before Concorde). I have flown on this aircraft a few times.

Good description of that flight at:

2 - CF-CPK (Fin #606) which was damaged beyond repair in an accident at Tokyo, March 1966.

3 - CF-CPN was the first DC-8 built. Made the first flight May 30, 1958, then registered N8008D. Referred to as "Ship One" by Douglas.

Originally a DC-8-11 with the original JT3C turbojet engines, it was converted to a DC-8-51 with JT3D turbofans in 1960 and probably used to certify the 50-series. After a couple of short leases by Douglas, it was sold to US charter carrier Trans International Airlines.

They leased it to several carriers, including CP for a year from October 1966 to October 1967. While with CP it was named Empress of Santiago and had Fin #600.

After the CP lease it was sold to Delta and spent about 10 years there, then went to Aeromexico, its final operator, for a few years. Spent many years in the desert before being scrapped around 2001.