The DC-8 was a pivotal addition to the Canadian aviation industry in the early years of the “Jet Age”. Developed to compete with the Boeing 707 it was the choice of both Trans-Canada Air Lines and Canadian Pacific Airlines for transcontinental expansion to European and Asian destinations..
The first to enter service for TCA was Fin# 804 (CF-TJD) delivered on February 7, 1960. A total of 43 aircraft flew in TCA and Air Canada liveries. From my research, I believe that Fin# 817 was the first to be sport the “Air Canada Rondel” and carried Queen Elizabeth II back to the U.K. after a Royal tour Canada in 1964.
The first to enter service for CP Air was Fin# 601 (CF-CPF) delivered on February 22, 1961 and proudly named “Empress of Vancouver” after Canada’s gateway to the Asian market. A total of 13 aircraft flew in CP Air livery, however, all of which had been transferred to other operators by the formation of Canadian Airlines International Ltd. in 1987.
My first flight as an AC employee was on a “Stretch” DC-8 and I have always remembered the “Fishtail” effect on take off when sitting in seats at the rear of these aircraft due to the long, thin fuselage.
Air Canada passenger service on these aircraft ended in 1983 but they continued to be of service in all Cargo configuration right up until 1994. Attached is a YouTube video posted by Ryan Bomar showing Fin# 867 departing LAX in January 1992. This particular aircraft was later leased to DHL Worldwide Express and ASTAR Air Cargo under registration N801DH until retired in May 2012 after 43 years of service and is now basking in the Arizona sun at the Kingman Air Field.
Sources: Wikipedia, www.planespotters.net
Note: We are in the process of building a Historical Fleet area on the ACFamily Network where we will be inviting you to submit photos, stories and information about the DC-8 and the rest of Air Canada's fleet. This will also be expanded to other Canadian Airline aircraft in the future as well.
Trivia Question - does anyone know why the first delivered aircraft was "804" and not "801"?