In April 1965, Douglas made an announcement on the three new fuselage stretches for the DC-8. Named as the Super Sixties, the three new types are the Douglas DC-8-61, the Douglas DC-8-62 and the Douglas DC-8-63. The Super Sixties brought life to the DC-8 program that was on its verge of closing.

Douglas Aircraft Co.
United States
1968 to: 1972
US$4 million (1998)
4x P&W JT3D-3B
18,000 pound-force
Max Cruise Speed:
483 knots
895 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref):
140 knots
Travel range:
4,000 Nautical Miles
7,408 Kilometers
Fuel Economy:
Service Ceiling:
42,000 feet
Rate of Climb:
2000 feet / minute
10.16metre / second
Take Off Distance:
3000 metre - 9,842.40 feet
Landing Distance:
2000 metre - 6,561.60 feet
Max Take Off Weight:
161,027 Kg
355,000 lbs
Max Landing Weight:
124,739 Kg
275,000 lbs
Max Payload:
50,703 Kg
111,780 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity:
24,260 gallon
91,834 litre
Baggage Volume:
70.8 m3 / 2,500 ft3
Seats - Economy / General:
259 seats
Seats - Business Class:
Seats - First Class:
Cabin Height:
2.21 metre - 7.25 feet
Cabin Width:
3.51 metre - 11.52 feet
Cabin Length:
50 metre - 164.04 feet
Exterior Length:
57.1 metre - 187.33 feet
Tail height:
13.1 metre - 42.98 feet
Fuselage Diameter:
3.74 metre - 12.27 feet
Wing Span / Rotor Diameter:
43.4 metre - 142.39 feet
Wing Tips:
No Winglets

DC-8-63 Production and Development

After the production of the DC-8-61 followed by the DC-8-62 in April 1967, the last variant of the Super Sixties known as the Douglas DC-8-63 entered into service in June 1968.

Production of this version includes 41 units of DC-8-63s, 53 units of DC-8-63CF, 7 units of DC-8-63AF and 6 units of DC-8-63PFs.

107 units of DC-8-63 were constructed that made it the most prominent version among the Super series of the DC-8. The following airlines are the customers for the DC-8-63:

  • Air Canada (the flag carrier of Canada)
  • Air Congo (the national airline of the Congolese Republic)
  • Airlift International (an American airline from 1945-1991)
  • American Flyers Airline (a supplemental charter airline of the United States)
  • Atlantis Airlines (a defunct airline in Africa)
  • Canadian Pacific Air Lines (a Canadian airline that operated from 1942-1987)
  • Capitol International Airways (a charter airline in the United States from 1946-1984)
  • Eastern Air Lines (a major American airline from 1926-1991)
  • Flying Tiger Line (the first scheduled cargo airline in the United States from 1945-1989)
  • Iberia (the flag carrier of Spain)
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (the flag carrier of the Netherlands)
  • Overseas National (an American airline founded in June 1950)
  • Scandinavian Airlines (the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden)
  • Seaboard World Airlines (an international all-cargo airline in the United States)
  • Trans International Airlines (a charter airline from and within the United States)
  • Venezuelan International Airways (the flag carrier of Venezuela from 1960-1997)
  • World Airways (an American airline in Georgia)

In 1972, production of the aircraft came to an end.

DC-8-63 Design

The DC-8-63 is a mixture of DC-9-61 and DC-8-62. It has an extended fuselage with a length of 57.1 meters, same as of the -61. It has a height of 13.1 meters and a fuselage diameter of 3.74 meters. It is 11.5 meter longer than the conventional DC-8 that was developed in the late 1950s.

The DC-8-63 has the added fuel capacity same as of the -62. The enlarged wing has a span of 45.2 meters, the engine and the nacelle were upgraded.

The DC-8-61 and the DC-8-63 can accommodate up to 259 passengers which made them the largest passenger-carrying capacity aircraft until 1970, when the Boeing 747 was unveiled.

Powered by the Pratt and Whitney JT3D-3B, the engine of the DC-8-63 is a turbofan engine based from the Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet. It has a maximum power of 18,000 lbf and a range of 4,000 nautical miles.

DC-8-63 Accidents and Incidents

On July 1 1968, Seaboard World Airlines flight 253A was cut off by Soviet Jets when it unintentionally overstepped Soviet airspace. All the passengers were detained for two days.

On October 17 1969, another Seaboard flight was damaged by fire after it overran the runway at Oakland International Airport. All of the passengers survived.

On July 5 1970, Air Canada flight 621 crashed near Toronto Pearson International Airport when the aircraft attempted to land. All of the passengers died on this accident.

On July 27, Flying Tiger Line flight 45 crashed during approach to Naha Air Force Base that killed four crew on board. On September 8, Trans International Airlines flight 863 crashed during take-off from John F. Kennedy Airport’s runway. The accident killed 11 crew members. On November 27, Capitol Airways flight 3/26 crashed during take-off from Anchorage International Airport that killed 47 passengers on board.

On January 29 1971, Canadian Pacific flight 301 was hit while taxiing upon landing by a Trans Australia Airlines flight 592. There were no fatalities during this incident.

On September 8 1973, World Airways flight 802 crashed on high ground during approach to Cold Bay Airport that killed all six people on board.

On March 23 1974, an Airlift International was burned while being service at Travis Air Force Base. The accident resulted to one fatality.

On March 4 1977, four crew died on an Overseas National Airways plane crash.

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On March 3 1978, Iberia flight 575 slipped off the runway at Santiago Compostela Airport. All of the passengers survived on the incident. On November 15, Icelandic Airlines flight 001 crashed on approach, killing 183 passengers on board.

There were four more recorded accidents from 1984 to 1996.

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