View Full Version : Pan Am and its DC8s

1st Feb 2008, 09:45
I've picked up a summer 1963 Pan Am timetable to add to my others. An interesting document to flick through. Apart from the German internal services (still all DC6B) there are just one or two prop flights still around.

The timetable, throughout, states that jet services are by 707 or DC8. Pan Am always said this in the 1960s. Now Pan Am by 1963 had 45 707s and 18 DC8s. I would presume that for operational reasons the DC8s, which were slowly sold off through the 1960s, were just kept to one part of the network and not strung all around. But where were they concentrated ? Looking at miscellaneous places they seem based at New York and to be on transatlantic services, in particular to Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Was there a policy ? Did they ever get used to Latin America or across the Pacific, out of the bases at Miami or San Francisco ?

While we are digging at such detail, the Panagra (50% owned by Pan Am)service down the west coast of South America in the 1960s, also shown in the timetable, was a strange arrangement, with National flight numbers New York to Miami, Pan Am from Miami to Panama, and Panagra south of there. The aircraft appears to have operated right through. All three of these operators had DC8s by this time, but whose aircraft were used ? Just Panagra's, or a mixture of the three partners ?

1st Feb 2008, 12:13
I remember seeing them at LHR.
If memory serves me right, they inherited National's services and continued to use DC-8's on the former National route, MIA-LHR?

1st Feb 2008, 12:35
Maybe this will help:

"Panagra accepted the plane on April 6, 1960, and it entered service between Buenos Aires and New York on May 2 via an interchange agreement. Panagra operated the DC-8 northbound as far as Panama, where a Pan Am crew took it on to Miami. The Miami-New York sector was flown by National crews."


1st Feb 2008, 12:51
I remember a regular (weekly?) PanAm DC8 service thru Entebbe during the mid/late 60's.

1st Feb 2008, 13:32
I think the situation with National was a bit different. They were given rights to the hitherto nserved route Miami to London starting in 1970, under the noses of Pan Am, but were restricted on capacity, so some days it was a 747 (only widebody available then) and others had to be a DC8. Later they moved on to a daily DC10, which came to the same sort of figure overall.

Pan Am took over National in 1980 and that was when they came into the route.

Regarding Entebbe they were not serving East Africa by 1963 but had started by 1967, routing through Lagos.

pax britanica
1st Feb 2008, 13:50
I too remember PanAm DC8s at LHR but it was long time ago and I thought they didnt have 'fanjet' engines as they called the early turbofans. This would have meant the PanAm versions were DC8 -30s so theywere DC8 30s

When National came along I think they were all DC8-50s ( The 30s might have struggled to make LHR-MIA) with their distinctive Yellow and Orange colours and B17 style girls names under the flight deck windows as part of their I 'm Mandy Fly me campaign.

May be wrong of course it was long while ago although LHR had great variety in those days

1st Feb 2008, 14:17
I used to spend a lot of time at LHR (or LAP as it was called) in those days. In the mid-1960's Pan American DC8's were always used on the daily Atlanta-Washington-London-Frankfurt PA106/PA107 and often appeared on the daily Detroit-Boston-London as well. From 1967 to 1969 some of their DC-8's were sold to Delta and these aircraft, in full Delta colours, were used on PA106/PA107. The DC-8's could also appear on any other route including the Polar flights from LAX, SFO and SEA. On some days there seemed to be as many DC-8's as 707's visiting LHR. Many flights continued on to FRA, and the trans-Polar flights continued to Paris Orly, which meant that PAA was quite a significant operator in terms of movements. National DC-8's appeared from 1970 onwards.

I also recall seeing piston DC7C's visiting LHR on passenger charters and some freight flights up to 1965.

1st Feb 2008, 14:32
I only joined PanAm in DEC 1968, so I missed the DC8 era, but many of my captains had been on the DC8s, and we often talked about their days on that airplane. One thing for sure, the DC8-30s of the 1959-1965 era were all JFK based and operated to Europe. Some were operated towards Panama, Lima and Santiago with the Panagra interchange. The Panagra operation was eventually taken over by Braniff.
The National DC8-50 flights were primarily MIA-JFK and MIA-LAX flights at the time of the merge in 1980, as well as the DC-10s which were used on flights to LHR. National operations were the start of PanAm's first domestic operations within the USA. But came too late to avoid the eventual demise, as most of the "domestic carriers" were permitted to compete overseas as well.
Prior to 1980, AA was strictly US domestic carrier (only had YYZ and MEX as "international flights"). As far as United is concerned, their only long range overwater operation was HNL, and no international routes.
Happy contrails

1st Feb 2008, 17:25
In 1967 I was based in Monrovia Liberia served by Pan Am from New York via Dakar to Robertsfield with onwards to ACC/LOS/EBB/NBO/DAR. At that time the flight was operated by DC8 and changed to B707 in late 1968. I recall that in First class on the DC8 there was a semicircular "lounge" where cocktails were served in-flight and you then returned to your seat for the food service.

2nd Feb 2008, 05:54
Apologies if this is marginally off-thread.

I recall a Pan Am DC8 heading up to the axles or higher into the cabbage patch at the end of LAP/LHR 27R in the early '60s.

Memory says there was a thump/bang just after V1 and the captain decided to stay on the deck and accept a low speed exit into the soft stuff..

They recovered the aircraft to a BOAC hangar (Tech Block A?), where it was checked out and various bits and pieces repaired or replaced over a few weeks.

What those of us who worked in the general area recall is the stench of rotten cabbage. Permeated the area for months.

2nd Feb 2008, 09:07
Panam operated DC8's on PIK-JFK schedule in the 60's. Flt No. was PA077 westbound.

2nd Feb 2008, 09:33
That was a Trans-Canada DC8 that went off the end of the runway, not a PanAm. Somewhere I have the details. There's a photo of it on Airliners.net


2nd Feb 2008, 10:55
Here one for you guys...
In an old log book here (pay purpose) I have logged a flight in 1971.
Deadheading from Rio to Miami. On a DC8-62. PanAm colors.
Had a PA flight number, and cabin crew was PA.
Even recall going to the flight deck to see how these were.
Was interchange flight with a Braniff airplane.
Registry was N1803.
Happy contrails

2nd Feb 2008, 11:37

Thanks for the correction. So much for memory.

2nd Feb 2008, 15:00
The PanAm might be another incident then. Nov. 1963 and CF-TJM was the Trans Canada DC8. Here's a link:-



2nd Feb 2008, 22:30
......a flight in 1971.
Deadheading from Rio to Miami. On a DC8-62. PanAm colors.
Had a PA flight number, and cabin crew was PA.
Even recall going to the flight deck to see how these were.
Was interchange flight with a Braniff airplane.
Registry was N1803.

I don't really want to contradict because I wasn't there, but .....

N1803 was leased from Braniff to Pan Am for 15 months from January 1970 to April 1971, and painted up in Pan Am colours. Pan Am had got rid of its DC8s by then (and they never had the -62 model anyway) so Braniff presumably provided the crew up front, even if Pan Am crewed the cabin.

I don't believe that Braniff did an interchange with Pan Am to Latin America but ran an independent competing operation, and around this time bought out Panagra after a lawsuit between its two owners (Pan Am was one, Grace Shipping was the other). Panagra served the west coast of South America from Miami. My guess is that an aircraft lease for 15 months was somehow part of the deal, the sort of horsetrading that Pan Am excelled in during Juan Trippe's days.

Because of restrictions on who flew where, Panagra had to interchange with National on flights continuing from Miami to New York, and Braniff interchanged with Eastern on the same route.

2nd Feb 2008, 23:59
Hola WHBM -
Too long ago to remember - Back then I was a 707 flight engineer, and ended a trip in Rio... had 2 days layover on location, was told to deadhead on a DC8, while my roster was to have operated as F/E on a 707, my captain and F/O deadheaded along with me, and we went to chat in the cockpit with the BN cockpit crew during cruise.... I thought you would be interested of knowing that a DC8-62 was... painted in PanAm colors. As to the specifics of the ACMI/Interchange between PA and BN back then, I have no clues. I was "reserve" in these days, and not normally assigned to So America flights.
Happy contrails

4th Feb 2008, 09:29
Just some poking around found this photograph of the Braniff DC8-62 leased to Pan Am.


When Braniff got it back it was repainted in the Green version of their livery of the time.

Is that you, BelArgUSA I can see peeking out of the back of the flight deck windows ? :)

4th Feb 2008, 11:09
Great picture... (and) for two reasons...
Up front, a rare picture of a PA 720-030B - were my favorite. Rocketships.
Yes you are right, in the DC8 - sorry I am pulling a tongue.
As usual, mischievous me...
Happy contrails

26th Feb 2008, 17:29
The deal was that the US domestic sectors (MSY-ATL-IAD usually though I think this changed a few times with schedule amendments) were flown as Delta flights and the international sectors were flown as Pan Am flights though the same aircraft went right through. The crew changed at IAD but the pax went through on one aircraft and one ticket. In the early 70s DL (and PA I think) 747s were used but replaced with DL DC-10s (leased from UA?) after a while.

A similar arrangement existed between Pan Am and Braniff using PA 707s and 747s and BN DC-8s and 747s, at different times, as far as I can recall. Routing was DFW-ORD-LHR and sometimes on to FRA. I think the LHR-FRA sector was often with a gauge change to a narrowbody 707 and later 727. I am not sure if the BN aircraft ever went on to FRA but I don't think so.

The DL DC-8-30s (ex PA) did and I had the pleasure of flying in one from FRA-LHR on a PA flight in 1970.

27th Feb 2008, 12:53
The arrangements for the Interchange flights would alter from time to time. For example by 1973 flight 107 was operating Frankfurt-London-Washington-Atlanta-New Orleans daily. Frankfurt-London-Washington was done on a Pan Am 747 with Pan Am crews, then from Washington to Atlanta the Pan Am 747 continued but primarily under the Delta name with Delta cabin crew, then from Atlanta to New Orleans there was a change to a Delta DC8.

The golden thing to achieve was a listing as "Through Flight" in the OAG. In this case, as you would have to deplane at Washington to go through immigration, then back into the aircraft (sometimes not to the same seat), and then at Atlanta have to get out again and transfer over to wherever the DC8 was, the concept of "through flight" would wear notably thin. This was particularly so if arrival at Atlanta was late and the DC8 had departed, with through pax being fitted in to the remaining flights of the day !

These arrangements were conceptually similar to those you get in other areas of transport such as railways across borders or even bus services between towns, that there is an agreement between the two parties that each will perform some agreed share of a joint operation, often defined as proportions of the overall mileage. Because things don't readily balance out day by day you then end up changing things around periodically (say a couple of times per year) to make the balance correct long-term.

I recall Northwest 707s, Delta DC8s and 747s at Heathrow in the early 1970s. There are several shots of them all on Airliners.net.

27th Feb 2008, 14:41
Just a little off thread here but I seem to recall Northwest widebodies on their Pan Am interchange flights in about 1972. Was it DC-10s or 747s or am I getting confused? Routing varied like the other interchanges but I am fairly sure it was MSP-DTW-LHR-AMS for some of the time. I can't find anything on the net that confirms this. There is a nice B&W pic of a NW 707 at LHR at http://www.airliners.net/photo/Northwest-Orient-Airlines/Boeing-707-351C/0718299/L/?width=1190&height=692&sok=&photo_nr=&prev_id=&next_id= though - landing on 05, no less.

27th Feb 2008, 16:34
A similar arrangement existed between Pan Am and Braniff using PA 707s and 747s and BN DC-8s and 747s, at different times, as far as I can recall. Routing was DFW-ORD-LHR and sometimes on to FRA. I think the LHR-FRA sector was often with a gauge change to a narrowbody 707 and later 727. I am not sure if the BN aircraft ever went on to FRA but I don't think so.The Braniff planes never even made it to LHR; the interchange ended at ORD with a switch (as you say) to PA metal. It might even have been PA all the way from DFW with BN crewing.

Braniff didn't appear in the UK until Big Orange started LGW service in 1978.

28th Feb 2008, 02:40
Yep - you are right. You just reopened a stuck brain cell for me! Thanks.

2nd Mar 2008, 06:59
To widen the topic a little: Pan Am was the greatest airline ever. Why did the US Government allow it to go into bankruptcy? It was the USA's second most-stupid decision (the invasion of Iraq being the first).

2nd Mar 2008, 10:54
AP: Why... The first hefty carrier to face re-organisation, under wind of market change, when the game of manipulation of Chapter 11 had not yet been crafted. Bush Snr. felt he had no choice, no course that would not be protested by domestic carriers seeking international routes. Deregulation from 1978 subjected domestic air transport to open market forces - demise of Govt. route designation/monopoly. No Republican could object to that. PanAm could have stayed an overseas carrier, but chose to acquire interior feed to its gateways. That's a different business; only TW and NW had been successful at both. When domestic carriers ventured overseas from 1980 they had the same lesson in reverse, contributing to the demise of Braniff, Eastern, National. AA/CO/DL/UA survived the shock by exploiting The National Interest to massage the Chapter 11 and Federal Pension Guaranty systems.

(I don't know why TW did, then did not cope. NW Orient monopolised Japan: 1980s' value of their downtown Tokyo freehold was > their entire fleet equity).

3rd Mar 2008, 00:56
It's a pity that Pan Am didn't decide to become a purely international airline, because that's where it made its name. It's difficult to think of anything in modern-day international air travel that wasn't first done by Pan Am.

The Pan Am heritage goes back for decades. Here in Auckland, New Zealand, right out at the end of nowhere, we have a headland called Musick Point. It was named after a Pam Am captain.

3rd Mar 2008, 06:08
g/day all.how long did national fly from mia to lhr before they were taken over by pan am .i seem to remember 10cc making a hit song out off their advert.

3rd Mar 2008, 08:45
National started their daily route from Miami to London Heathrow in June 1970, which they operated on their own for 10 years until they were taken over by Pan Am towards the end of 1980 (post #5 above).

They did a lot of small-scale advertising in the UK; down in one corner of the front page of The Times I recall was a regular spot for them, and it used to feature a small photograph of one of the girls names on the nose of a 747, later a DC-10 (you see, even from those days I can remember the airframe type but not the individual girls' names !). I don't recall a DC8 featuring, to come back to this topic. The 10cc song was "I'm Mandy, Fly Me", issued in 1976.


3rd Mar 2008, 08:51
>>I recall a...... DC8 heading up to the axles or higher into the cabbage patch.<<

I recall ATC had said "Follow the greens".

4th Mar 2008, 11:43
PaperTiger (http://www.pprune.org/forums/member.php?u=30450) check your pm's

4th Mar 2008, 16:18
National commenced operations to LHR in 1970 with 2 DC-8-54 aircraft N108RD and N109RD that were used exclusively on the MIA-LHR route due to their range - though they occasionally needed a top up in Bermuda westbound (and often used it as an en route alternate) especially if fully loaded and unable to run full tanks ex LHR due to weight.


My memory is that they replaced them with DC-10-30s (in about late 1971?) and then stepped up to 747s for a while (National's only 74s) before reverting to the 10s a few years later when they disposed of the Boeings.

Interestingly, PanAm (despite being miffed at not getting the MIA-LHR route) provided all the ground handling for NA at Heathrow (NA only had a handful of staff at the airport for their one a day flights) so there weren't too many commercial secrets.

4th Mar 2008, 17:18
Those two DC8s that National started service to London with in June 1970 were DC8-54F models leased from Airlift, a Miami charter/freight operator (whose flight designator was RD from when they were called Riddle Airlines, hence the registrations). They were quite early models, having been built n 1963-4. National had a sizeable DC8 fleet but didn't have any intercontinental-capable ones. They were returned to Airlift in 1973-4. They wee only leased as National had widebodies on order.

They were partially replaced by 747s by the end of 1970 but due to capacity restrictions it couldn't be a complete changeover, plus the business was not built up yet. The service remained mixed 747/DC8 for some years.

The first intercontinental DC10-30s of National came in June 1973 and that was the end of their DC8s in London. The capacity restriction was still there but a daily DC10 just fitted in.

Pan Am picked up a lot of connecting traffic from the Miami flight down to the Caribbean and Latin America from this flight. In those days things were a little different, the competiion was right at the beginning for who got the route authority (which I seem to recall in 1970 was a Presidential prerogative, so it would have been Nixon's team who awarded it to National and not Pan Am). My guess is tha National were as surprised to beawarded it as anybody. Once the carrier was decided there was nothing to be done other than work together. Pan Am couldn't offer any alternative as they couldn't do connections through New York either. The two airlines had a long tradition of working together for connections from National's US points down through Miami to Pan Am's international points. It was part of why Pan Am bought National 10 years later.